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Education MDGs have “serious unfinished business”

Posted on 27/08/2012
By Martin Petts
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Education representatives from business, government, academia, civil society, and the development and donor communities gathered in Port Louis, Mauritius to discuss and debate practical measures to transform education delivery around the Commonwealth.

They met at the 18CCEM Stakeholders’ Forum – a major international education conference supporting the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers.

Hon. Charles-Gaëtan Xavier-Luc Duval, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development of Mauritius, welcomed delegates to the Forum and highlighted the progress his country has made in education provision and quality since 1968.

Speaking on the theme ‘Education in the Commonwealth: Making it Happen’ Ms. Amina J Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, spoke of the ‘serious unfinished business’ of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All targets:

“It is not for want of best practice, status reports, civil society advocacy and citizens demands that we have failed. It is, I believe, a collective responsibility of governments around the world who articulated and signed onto visions and declarations, but have failed to give sufficient priority to education investments, requisite political will and timely actions that will give at the very least the foundations for an education that is NOT charity but a fundamental right of every child in this world of ours.

‘What we need now is a ‘heart to heart’ discussion with sincere commitment at its core in facing the facts that from where we stand today, there is no ‘quick fix’ to the situation we find ourselves.”

Mme Simone de Comarmond, Chair, Commonwealth Foundation, addressed delegates at the opening session. Setting the scene for the Forum, she called for the serious examination of the capacities in education, areas where Commonwealth cooperation can be most beneficial, and thinking on the scope for the different education partners to work together to perform such functions.

The Stakeholders’ Forum theme was approached through three parallel ‘clusters’: Making Basic Education Systems Better, Connecting Commonwealth Education and Cultures, and Skills for the Future.

A Stakeholders’ Statement representing the views and recommendations of stakeholders was presented to Commonwealth Education Ministers on the last day of the Forum. The Statement was the product of an online consultation held before the Forum and took into account discussion points and recommendations raised during the Forum. It included calls for the Commonwealth to improve education co-operation, protect the right to quality education during the global economic crisis and provide skills and opportunity for citizens to achieve their full potential.

The 18CCEM Stakeholders’ Forum is organised by the Commonwealth Foundation in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in partnership with Link Community Development and Nexus Strategic Partnerships Limited.

The next CCEM and Stakeholders’ Forum will be hosted by The Bahamas in 2015.