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Annual Conference 2023: Digital Transition and Inclusion in Education: An Agenda for Action

Dates: May 18 – 21, 2023 | Venue: University of Nicosia, Cyprus

The Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC), University of Nicosia, Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning, and UNESCO Chair of the University of Nicosia are jointly organising “Education Conference 2023”, on May 18 – May 21, 2023 at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.

To register to attend, visit the Conference website and complete the registration form

Conference Aim

To explore the digital transformation of education and how it contributes to greener and more inclusive societies.

Conference Objectives

  • Share research and best practices across universities.
  • Discuss the effects of the digital transformation in education upon diversity and inclusion.
  • Discuss the effects of the digital transformation in education upon sustainability efforts.
  • Discuss how the digital transformation in education has affected schools and universities.

2023 Annual Commonwealth Day Lecture

Political & Academic Freedom in Commonwealth Africa in the Year of the Youth

Key Note Speaker: Professor Dr Stephen Chan OBE

Date: 13 March 2023, 11:00 – 12:30 GMT | Venue: Committee Room 1, House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

Download flyer HERE

Commonwealth Africa now reflects the diversity of Africa as a whole. Former Francophonic and Lusophonic colonies are now members alongside the Anglophonic ones. Within these countries are thousands of languages and cultures. But all cohere in a drive for education and an urge to make free choices. These converge.

All universities were closed, ostensibly to prevent violence, during the period of Nigeria's elections in the last part of February. Even so, Nigerian academics are not a persecuted minority as they often are elsewhere, where informed criticism makes professors - and students - vulnerable to persecution and abuse. Academic freedom and political freedom coincide.

Remembering Kees Maxey

It is with great sadness that the Council reports that Kees Maxey, our dedicated Secretary for the whole of the first decade of this century, died on 19 October at the age of 85. He had been in declining health for some time.  His well-attended funeral service took place on November 14 in Brentwood where Kees and Sheila lived.  CEC was represented at the occasion by Peter and Julia Williams.  The Council has made a donation in Kees’s memory to PENHA, the Pastoral and Environment Network in the Horn of Africa of which Kees was an active supporter right up to the time of his death.  (Friends and colleagues who wish to make a donation to PENHA in Kees’s memory may like to use this link:

Kees (Cornelius) Richard Maxey gained a degree in Chemistry from St Andrews university and worked as a research chemist in industry for many years. A mid-career change saw him take over as Director of the Africa Educational Trust, which helped provide education opportunity to African students especially those in areas of conflict, including at that time the ‘front-line states’ of southern Africa, and more recently leading to a greater focus on Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2022

How can we leverage technology to support, upskill and energise the most important resource, teachers?

Speaker: Betty Abeng, Chief Executive Officer, The Commonwealth Education Trust

Chair: Kat Thorne, Trustee, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Venue: Committee Room 4A, Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA  | Date: Tuesday, 29th November 2022 | Time: 18:30 – 20:30

According to the 2018 World Development Report (WDR), many lower-income countries have made progress in getting children into the classroom, which has led to more children worldwide now being in school.

While significantly greater numbers of children are now attending school, there has been little investment in the education infrastructure needed to teach this pupil explosion, such as building schools, providing resources, and – of course – training better and more teachers.

The global pandemic has far-reaching consequences that may jeopardise hard-won gains made in improving global education. (UN)


Download flyer HERE



As colleagues in the Independent Forum of Commonwealth Organizations, we join many others in Commonwealth Accredited Organisations to send heartfelt condolences to King Charles III on the passing of his mother the late Queen. We mourn the loss of the remarkable leadership the late Queen showed as Head of the Commonwealth and her steadfast commitment to the values that peoples of the Commonwealth share. We welcome the commitment King Charles has made to sustaining the influence the Commonwealth exerts as a force for good in the world and look forward to contributing to that work.

Annual Conference 2022: The evolving role of universities and role of education in global security

You can catch up by watching the video HERE or download the full transcript of the keynote address HERE

Date: Wednesday, 27 July 2022 | Time: 17:00 -18:00 | Venue: Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5HX

Keynote Speaker - Paul Lindley OBE, Chancellor of the University of Reading

Britain is blessed to have a world-leading higher education sector. Our universities are a great source of strength for the country and their role – in an increasingly knowledge-based economy – is becoming more and more central to our future prosperity. Universities are also becoming increasingly central to our future social prospects.

Education and employability are the keys that can unlock both individual citizens’ and countries’ progress. Who gets into university and how they get on once they have left will have a critical role in determining whether Britain’s sluggish rates of social mobility can be improved.

When properly realised, education can be a global asset to fight not only poverty, inequality, and insecurity but also global disease and epidemics. The more educated a Nation is, the stronger security it'll have.

You can catch up by watching the video HERE or download the full transcript of the keynote address HERE

2022 Commonwealth Day Lecture

Date: 14 March 2022, 11:00 – 12:30 GMT | Venue: Committee Room 10, Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA

A Challenge for the Commonwealth?

Key Note Speaker: Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC

Read the full Lecture HERE


Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1974 until 1997. In 1979, he was appointed a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, at first in the Scottish Office and then in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, promoted to Minister of State in 1983.

He became a member of the Cabinet in 1986 as Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1990 he became Secretary of State for Transport and in 1992 he was appointed Secretary of State for Defence. From 1995-97 he held the post of Foreign Secretary. He was one of only four ministers to serve throughout the terms of Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major. In 1997 he was knighted in recognition of his public service.

Call for Evidence

Learning for forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth

The Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) is pleased to share this call for evidence on learning for forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth.


The call for evidence is seeking information related to learning (including formal and non-formal education) for forcibly displaced children and young people aged 0-19 in the Commonwealth.


  • What challenges do forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth face in accessing learning?
  • What challenges do forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth face in terms of the quality of learning?
  • What non-academic challenges do forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth face that contribute to, or result from, limited access to quality education?
  • How can the Commonwealth, including Member State leaders and policymakers and the Commonwealth Secretariat, ensure better learning opportunities for forcibly displaced children?
  • What one issue or intervention, if addressed, would best ensure forcibly displaced children and young people in the Commonwealth could access quality learning?

Celebrating Professor Lalage Jean Bown's lifetime of service

The Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) mourns the death on 17 December 2021 of one of its most active members, Professor Lalage Jean Bown, at the age of 94.  She had a fall at her home in Shrewsbury on December 13 and died in Shrewsbury Hospital four days later.

Lalage Bown was a truly remarkable woman whose many activities and achievements are recounted in the obituary notice by Robert Hamilton of the University of Glasow already posted on this website.  This chronicles her major contributions both in scholarly activity and in advancing the causes of universal access to education, women’s empowerment and community development and pride in one’s cultural heritage.  This short tribute will not cover that same ground but will focus on Lalage’s important contribution to the work of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) and to Commonwealth educational cooperation.

Lalage Bown (1927-2021)

CEC Stalwart, Emeritus Professor Lalage Bown, OBE died in Shrewsbury hospital on 17 December 2021, aged 94 following a fall at home.

An eminent women’s literacy advocate, she dedicated her life’s work to improving education for the disadvantaged, especially women, seeking to bring university opportunities to the widest possible sections of society.

Lalage was emersed in a tradition which regarded adult education as a catalyst for significant social change. Her ideas were informed by a post-war world in which many believed that the kind of injustices suffered under colonial rule had to end. But, beyond this, in her radical way, she also saw the need to develop new inclusive, post-colonial approaches to education, including the reform of university curricula. She devoted her life to this mission, inspiring and challenging all she met- professionals and learners- across many countries in Africa and Europe.