Ministers meet to discuss best practice
What happens to children once they are enrolled in schools?
Under what circumstances do they learn better, progress from one level to another without interruption and grow into responsible citizens who are connected to a global world?
These are some of the questions that the education ministers from more than 50 Commonwealth countries will discuss when they gather in Cape Town from December 11 to 14 for the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM).
Education Minister Naledi Pandor is the host of this year’s conference, which takes place every three years in a different country.
Guided by the theme Access to Quality Education: For the Good of All, the ministers will discuss topics ranging from the resourcing of schools and teacher professionalism to the curriculum and the language of learning.
They will also consider the progress made on the main themes of the 15th CCEM, held in Edinburgh in 2003. These were: achieving universal primary education, eliminating gender disparities, improving quality, using open and distance learning, supporting education in difficult circumstances and mitigating the effect of HIV/Aids on education.
Alongside the main meeting of education ministers, a teachers’ forum, a youth forum and a stakeholders’ forum will take place.
The teachers’ forum will be launched for the first time in Cape Town with discussions about teachers as the agents of change, the importance of the teachers in providing access to education, the health of educators and teacher professionalism.
The forum has been organised by the Commonwealth Teachers’ Group - a group that operates under the auspices of Education International, which represents over 30-million teachers in 100 countries.
The Commonwealth Teachers’ Group, which has been an important link between teachers and educational institutions in member countries since 2001, will also be formally constituted at the 16th CCEM.
Furthermore, the Stakeholders’ Forum will enable some 300 delegates to discuss some of the practical and technical aspects debated by the ministers.
They will represent national and international agencies, labour unions, academics and policy specialists, NGOs and the private sector.
For more information on the Stakeholders’ Forum contact the Centre for Education Policy Development in Johannesburg by emailing [email protected] For information on the Teachers’ Forum, contact the South African Council for Educators, which has been involved in the organisation of the Teachers’ Forum.