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Baroness Williams of Crosby 1930-2021

Baroness Williams of Crosby, Shirley Williams, who died on April 11 at the age of 90, was closely associated with the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) for over 50 years. 

Her support for the Council and its work spanned her whole Parliamentary career which began as Labour MP for Hitchin in 1964, continued through two periods of Labour Governments when she held senior ministerial posts in education, succeeded by a decade in the Social Democratic Party as one of the ‘Gang of Four’ and in her final three decades as a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords


Just over two years ago Frank Judd, as a Parliamentary Patron of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, hosted supper in the House of Lords for all the main participants in the CEC’s Westminster Briefing on menstrual hygiene. It was typical that he found time to do so on a day when he was fully engaged in parliamentary business and debate.

Whilst attentive to all the niceties of hosting a successful meal, he also asked questions throughout, especially of our Kenyan participant, who had flown over for the occasion. He really wanted to know what she thought and what was happening to young African women whose lives could be blighted by the lack of good facilities and guidance for hygiene. Frank’s was an ever enquiring mind rather than one which sought to lay down adamant prescriptions. He was learning all the time, but he also had the capacity to turn this knowledge into action.

Education: The best investment a government can make

The disruption aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis to already overstretched education systems combined with economic shocks and increased pressure on public finances create a potentially fatal cocktail for education funding. However, while education is clearly a victim of the pandemic, it can also be the solution to the longer-term recovery if funded properly.

By Senator Dr Getrude Musuruve Inimah, International Parliamentary Network for Education, and Hon Harriett Baldwin MP, International Parliamentary Network for Education

We live in unprecedented times. At the time of writing almost 2.5 million people around the world have lost their lives to COVID-19 and face the worst economic global crisis since the Great Depression.

The health and economic emergency caused by the pandemic has also exacerbated the global learning crisis, affecting both the funding and the delivery of education globally, and hitting the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable learners the hardest.