Commonwealth Secretariat Education Team


Marlborough House Pall Mall

London SW1Y 5HX UK

Telephone: (44) 20 7747 6223



Year established: 2014 (Education team dates back to 1965 under different names)

Number of staff: 2

Number of members: 52 active member countries

Annual expenditure: £330,000 in 2014–15


Secretary-General: Baroness Patricia Scotland

Head of Social Policy Development: Layne Robinson

Aims and objectives:

The Education Team within the Commonwealth Secretariat supports member states through policy analysis and development, regulatory frameworks and systems for strengthening of policies and bridging gaps between policy formulation and implementation. The work approach is anchored
on in-depth research, social policy analysis, documentation of Commonwealth good practices and models in the education and health sectors.

The complexities of access, equity and quality issues surrounding education are such that they require evolving discourse and targets. An interconnected approach is also needed to target all levels of education.

The Commonwealth views education as vital to poverty alleviation and national development. At a time of transition into the post-2015 agenda, equitable access to quality learning is key to unleashing the full transformative powers of education, and its contribution towards poverty alleviation and national development.

Main activities:

The Unit works with international organisations, civil society and regional bodies to support Ministries
of Education, strengthen national frameworks and policies, and improve education outcomes.

Gender in education:

Based on consultations with Caribbean small states, the issue of boys’ underachievement was identified as a regional priority. The Secretariat is supporting
a number of intervention strategies and activities to assist countries in addressing this issue. At this stage, funding has been provided to support activities on boys’ underachievement in Jamaica and Saint Lucia, while preparatory activities are being taken forward in The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago. These interventions are expected to help these countries move towards achieving the set MDGs and EFA goals, especially those concerning gender parity.

Studies were undertaken in Cameroon and the Maldives to explore whether classroom and school processes at secondary level question or reinforce any unequal gender notions, and how such notions manifest in
the attitudes and actions of school personnel. Recommendations from these studies are expected to guide these countries to identify and address any practices that are not gender responsive in their secondary schools.

The Commonwealth School Leadership Capabilities Framework:

The Framework has been prepared under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM), who are now undertaking a consultation on the Framework in selected Commonwealth countries.

The pilot phase will involve a representative sample of principals and senior system and school leaders from six countries. When finalised, this framework will offer support to member countries to strengthen their education systems.

Commonwealth Framework for Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders:

The main purpose of the proposed standards framework is to guide countries in defining
the basic requirements relating to knowledge, pedagogical skills and personal attributes that teachers and school leaders must demonstrate in order to achieve the objectives of education.

Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA):

The Secretariat’s leadership of the ADEA Working Group on the Teaching Profession has allowed greater interaction between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries on the subject of education and on the teaching profession.

Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility (CTEF):

The CTEF provides support and advice to ministries of education and universities concerning the governance, good practices and management of tertiary education. With the support of the government of Malaysia, this is being established at the University of Science Malaysia, Penang.

The Secretariat has provided technical assistance towards its establishment as well as the development of a sustainable business plan to manage the CTEF for the next five years.

Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (19CCEM)

See separate entry

The Commonwealth Education Hub

See separate entry

Recent publications:

Gender in Secondary School Practices in Cameroon (2012)

Gender in Secondary School Classroom Practices in Maldives (2012)

Guidebook to Education in the Commonwealth (2012)

Education in the Commonwealth: Towards and Beyond the Internationally Agreed Goals (2012)

Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2012)

Verification of the 2011–12 Education Sector HIV and AIDS Global Progress Survey in Zambia: Implications for Management and Policy (2013)

Analysis of Technical Vocational Education and Training Systems in Five Commonwealth Countries: Bangladesh, The Gambia, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea (2013)

Guidelines for Quality Education Provision to Nomadic Communities in Africa (2013)