Conferences of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM)

Conferences of Commonwealth Education Ministers have taken place at roughly three-year intervals since the first Commonwealth Education Conference (CEC) in 1959. The series of conferences was restyled as the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) on the 25th anniversary in 1984 on the occasion of the 9th Conference in Cyprus. The series has been as follows.

Conferences are jointly planned by the host government and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Conference is customarily chaired by the Minister of Education of the host country. One part of the business involves review of Commonwealth co-operation in education and decisions about the work of the Secretariat, Commonwealth of Learning, Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, etc.

Ministers also generally exchange views and experience on an agreed theme. The themes of the last 14 conferences have been:

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The number of country delegations at recent Conferences has been around 40. In addition, a number of pan-Commonwealth civil society bodies and inter-governmental organisations are invited to be observers, resulting in the total number of delegates being around 200–250. Civil society forums are held in the wings of the Ministerial Conference; in 2012 at 18CCEM these were for stakeholders (civil society, academia and private sector), youth, teachers’, and post-secondary and higher education leaders. In 2015 the first three forums will be held, but tertiary education leaders will join in the Stakeholders Forum.

Ministers issue a communiqué at the end of the Conference, and there is normally a report of proceedings.

19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (19CCEM), 2015

The Conference examines progress made in the areas identified by ministers at the 18CCEM in Mauritius (2012), and explores trends and innovative practices in Commonwealth education in light of the post-2015 Education for All agenda. The theme of the 19CCEM is: Quality education for equitable development: Performance, paths and productivity – 3 Ps.

The 19CCEM also provides an opportunity for ministers to review the work of Commonwealth organisations working in education, including the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth of Learning. The broad range of educational issues for discussion includes:

• The post-2015 global education agenda
• Education in small states
• Quality of education across the Commonwealth

Parallel forums

As has become a feature of CCEMs, forums for key groups of stakeholders in education taking place in parallel to the main meeting of Commonwealth ministers. include:

• The Senior Officials’ Meeting
• The Teachers’ Forum
• The Youth Forum
• The Stakeholders’ Forum (for civil society, academia and the private sector)
• The Small States Meeting
• Regional Ministerial Caucuses

Such forums provide an opportunity to convey to ministers the independent views of these important players in education, and enable ministers to interact with key groups and individuals, furthering education across the Commonwealth.

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