Sunvoice

Editorial: A crucial meeting that will identify education gaps and set goals to fix them

Fiji is blessed to be hosting another top level international meeting this week – the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) at the Sheraton Resort Convention Centre on Denarau
19 Feb 2018 12:27
Editorial: A crucial meeting that will identify education gaps and set goals to fix them

Fiji is blessed to be hosting another top level international meeting this week – the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) at the Sheraton Resort Convention Centre on Denarau Island, Nadi.

It starts today and ends on February 23.

This is the first time that this conference is being held in a Pacific Island nation. It’s an honour and a great privilege for Fiji to be hosting it.

It also demonstrates the international community’s confidence in Fiji’s capacity to host such a conference.

It is also the first to be held following the global adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and will bring leaders in Government, youth organisations and education to the table to discuss our game plan for moving forward the 2030 Agenda in education.

The meeting is timely because it is happening at a time when reforms are happening at the Ministry of Education and the rest of the civil service.

And also Government has put in place initiatives to make education attractive -initiatives such as free school fees, free bus fare for students, TELS and Toppers and so on.

All these measures are designed to ensure that  no one is left behind and is consistent with the Government policy of equal opportunities for all in education.

The ministerial meeting will convene over three days and is restricted to ministers of education across the Commonwealth, their designated representative(s) and invited observers.

The theme of the 20th meeting is, “Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver?”

Discussions will cover a range of relevant topics, including skills development that helps prepare the next generation of leaders in Commonwealth societies and strategies for building resilience through our education systems, governance and management.

Decisions made will support the key role of education in driving sustainable development in Commonwealth countries.

Participants should heed a request from the Attorney General and Minister for Education, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum when he said – “We ask that all of our participants embrace the Fijian “Bula Spirit” of inclusiveness, friendliness and solidarity throughout our discussions. We ask that our meeting be guided by the Pacific concept of Talanoa and that we speak freely and exchange ideas and experiences in an open and transparent manner.”

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland said – “Education is the cornerstone of the Sustainable Development agenda, and is an essential precursor for peaceful, prosperous and just societies. At this first CCEM to be held since the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals was agreed in September 2015, ministers will assess progress and share prospects for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4, on how to: ‘ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’”.

Delegates will also be briefed of Government’s education initiatives.

At the closing of the conference, ministers will issue a ministerial declaration that outlines a clear set of commitments for member states and sets out education priorities and agenda for the next three years across the Commonwealth.

Fiji joins a special group of small economies who have bravely invested in education.  It stands out as an example of what can be done to realize the Commonwealth education goal.

The initiatives to subsidise education costs ensure that those in the lower socio-economic rung of our communities are not left behind.

This is about political will and it underscores the importance of education in the country’s overall development plans under the FijiFirst Government.

Maika Bolatiki

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: