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Support confirmed for civic voice in Commonwealth education forum

Posted on 01/04/2015
By Joe Byrde
19ccem memorandum of understanding Bahamas High Commission

On 31 March 2015 representatives of the Commonwealth Foundation, the Government of The Bahamas and the Commonwealth Secretariat made a commitment to the inclusion of civil society at the forthcoming 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers meeting (19CCEM) from 22 – 26 June. 

The 19CCEM is the second largest gathering of Ministers in the Commonwealth calendar, affording a wide range of stakeholders the opportunity to input into ministerial processes related to education policy. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first of its kind between intergovernmental organisations and a host government for a Civil Society Forum, and the value of this collaboration was endorsed by each of the signatories.  

The MOU was unprecedented in recognising the role and need for civic engagement through the Civil Society Forum, which will reflect the Foundation’s commitment to continue to support the dialogue on Small States and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

In signing the MOU, particular emphasis was placed on the involvement of civil society in Commonwealth political processes. Commonwealth Foundation Director, Vijay Krishnarayan said: “We’re demonstrating the importance that the Government of The Bahamas is placing on having an Education Ministers Meeting that is inclusive and involves the widest possible range of voice”. He also stressed how the Commonwealth as an entity was signalling how it can work together to prioritise civic input and participation. 

The CCEM is a triennial meeting of Education Ministers in the Commonwealth and takes place at a pivotal time as both the Millennium Development Goals and Education For All goals come to an end, and is a key opportunity for Ministers to identify the education priorities for Commonwealth member states. It also presents an opportunity to influence the Post-2015 development agenda.