Kenya is set to host the high level 21st Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM), scheduled for April 27th to 28th this year at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, where policy makers will discuss key education priorities within the 54-member Commonwealth.
The two-day event will bring together 54 Education Ministers and top policymakers to discuss pressing education challenges geared towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a time when the world is recovering from the negative impacts of the Covid pandemic.
The event that will be hosted by the Kenya government in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Kenya’s Ministry of Education, will take place under the theme, ‘Rethinking Education for Innovation, Growth and Sustainability post-Covid-19’.
Other participants at the conference among them senior government officials, educators, development partners, civil society, and policymakers are also expected to share knowledge and good practices in education, as well as identify areas of action and explore innovative approaches that could be adapted by member countries to develop sustainable and resilient education systems.
In a press statement sent to newsrooms, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland QC said it is important for the Commonwealth family to come together to re-evaluate the status quo and work towards building a more prosperous and thriving Commonwealth for the young people.
She said the Secretariat would continue working with member countries, stakeholders, and partners, as part of its commitment to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4 and strengthening education systems and policies across the Commonwealth.
“Over the last two years, we have seen Covid -19 rob people around the world of their loved ones and livelihoods. Its impact on young people has been distressing with millions of students seeing their education disrupted as schools and universities were closed,” said Scotland.
The Secretary General noted that students were forced to learn from home as a result of lockdown measures, which she observed had further exacerbated existing inequalities, especially among girls and marginalized communities.
“We must act now to prevent it from taking away the human right to education. The theme of the 21st CCEM is timely and reminds us that now more than ever,” she stated.
On his part, Education Cabinet Secretary for Prof. George Magoha who is the incoming Chair of the Education Ministerial Action Group (EMAG) noted that the pandemic brought education systems across the world to a near standstill, adding that low-income countries were the hardest hit.
“With the future of our children and young people on the line, we need to work together to build resilient education systems that can address emerging issues and withstand future crises as part of measures to minimize and protect learning from disruption,” said Magoha.
He said there is need for the education sector to refocus on investing in inclusive and equitable quality education.
With only eight years left to meet the SDG 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, a key objective of the conference will be to review and assess the progress towards achieving this goal, at regional and national levels.
The conference will also assess the existing commitments and outcomes from the 2018 CCEM in Fiji, and the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, to leave no one behind, with an emphasis on equitable and inclusive education and supporting marginalized groups.
Some of the marginalized groups include young girls, and those from disadvantaged communities who are targeted through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
The outcomes on policy proposals from the Nairobi meeting will inform discussions at the upcoming CHOGM expected to take place in June 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.
By Bernadette Khaduli