NEWS

Baroness Scotland Poses Challenge For Ministers

There was a need for high-quality and inclusive education systems throughout the Commonwealth if communities and societies were to reap the benefits of personal and social development, delegates were told.
20 Feb 2018 14:44
Baroness Scotland Poses Challenge For Ministers
From left: Attorney-General and Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland and Commonwealth Students Association chair Musarrat Maisha Reza at the Integrated Partners’ Forum opening at Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island, Nadi on February 19, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

There was a need for high-quality and inclusive education systems throughout the Commonwealth if communities and societies were to reap the benefits of personal and social development, delegates were told.

During her opening speech at the 20CCEM Integrated Partners’ Forum yesterday, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland QC said this was a human right and the best guarantee against unemployment and poverty.

“These young people drive long-term economic growth, competitiveness, prosperity and social justice – if given the fair chance and opportunities to fulfil their potential,“  Baroness Scotland said.

“For marginalised and disadvantaged people, education can be a bulwark against volatility.

“Even the foundational and fundamental skills learned in early childhood and basic education can build resilience and reduce vulnerability during times of crisis.”

She said the forum, by sharing ideas and experience, had the opportunity to contribute towards devising innovative and practical policy solutions for education that would build resilience.

“The 20CCEM theme asks whether education can deliver on the sustainability and resilience agenda embedded in the global 2030 agenda,” Baroness Scotland said.

“I challenge you not simply to respond in the affirmative — but to offer pragmatic policy solutions as to how this can be achieved.

“The Commonwealth needs you, our civil society organisations and stakeholders, to work in partnership with governments to build equitable and quality education systems and improve accountability across our member countries.

“We need our teachers to be motivated, gender sensitive, qualified and well paid.”

Baroness Scotland said there was a need for higher education institutions (HEIs) to be geared towards fuelling creativity and competitiveness for global markets and to give the Commonwealth an edge in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Vice-chancellors have a key role to play in making their higher education institutions influential partners for regional, national and international development and sustainability, and forging partnerships within industry and within government,” she said.

“I encourage the business community to invest and partner with Commonwealth universities in offering  scholarships to build the skilled workforce that it needs, especially to meet the demand of blue and green economies.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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