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Friday, 04 January 2013 15:23

Access, Equity and Quality – The core Commonwealth concerns

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The Commonwealth Ministerial Working Group on Education has submitted their recommendations on December 13 as scheduled. These recommendations for the post-Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) lay much emphasis on the access, equity and quality in education in Commonwealth countries.
During the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (18 CCEM) held in Mauritius from August 28 to 31 2012, Commonwealth Education Ministers set up a Ministerial Working Group to formulate recommendations for the Post-2015 Development Framework. This Framework is being worked out as Education For All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sunset in 2015. 

These recommendations which reflect Commonwealth’s voice would be presented to the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, for the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to UNESCO, for the Post-Education for All (EFA) goals.

The Ministerial Working Group is chaired by Mauritian Education Minister Dr Vasant Bunwaree and comprises Ministers of Education of the following 12 Member States: Bangladesh, Barbados, Cyprus, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda
After online consultations had been carried out on the Commonwealth Connects Platform for a period of two months, the Working Group met in London on December 13 2012 under the chairmanship of Dr Bunwaree and came up with recommendations.

The recommendations of the Working Group for the post-Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) were subsequently handed over by Dr Bunwaree to David Hallam at Malborough House, the seat of the Commonwealth secretariat in London. David Hallam is Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who co-chairs with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Ellen Johnson of Liberia high level panel of eminent persons set up by the UN Secretary General for the formulation of a Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Recommendations of the Working Group
The new framework proposed by the Working Group has been designed around two levels of goals - Principal and Subordinate.  Implicit in the Principal goals, and explicit in the Subordinate goals, are the core Commonwealth concerns of Access, Equity and Quality.  

The Principal goals are:-
  • Goal 1 Every child completes a full cycle of a minimum of 9 years of continuous, free basic education and demonstrates learning achievement consistent with national standards
  • Goal 2 Post-basic education expanded strategic to meet needs for knowledge and skills related to employment and livelihoods
  • Goal 3 Reduce and seek to eliminate differences in educational outcomes among learners associated with household wealth, gender, special needs, location, age and social group

Subordinate Goals are:-
i. Reduce and seek to eliminate early childhood under-nutrition and avoidable childhood disease, and universalise access to community based ECE/D and pre-school below age 6 years
ii. Universalise an ‘expanded vision of access’ to a full cycle of a minimum of 9 years of continuous basic education Successful achievement of national learning outcomes in cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains for both primary and lower secondary cycles at age appropriate levels up to the age of 15 years

iii. Invest strategically in expanded and equitable access to post-basic and tertiary level education and training linked to wellbeing, livelihoods and employment and the transition to responsible adult citizenship
iv. Eliminate illiteracy and foster numeracy amongst those under 50 years old  Provide education opportunities for young people and adults who have not successfully completed 9 years of basic education

v.  Reduce and seek to eliminate disparities in participation in education at school level linked to wealth, location, special needs, age, gender and social group and ensure all children have equal educational opportunities and reduce gaps in measured outcomes

vi. Provide adequate infrastructure for learning according to national norms for buildings, basic services, safety, learning materials, and learning infrastructure within appropriate distances of households
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