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


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.

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.



Commonwealth Education partners launch roundtable event in advance of the Global Education Summit 2021

In advance of the Global Education Summit 2021, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and the United Kingdom, Commonwealth Partners for Education* launched a virtual roundtable as an official side-event, which is also available on the GE Summit portal.

Watch | Mobilising resources for education: the crucial role of Commonwealth countries

The virtual roundtable was chaired by Hon. Mehnaz Akber Aziz, MNA, Pakistan with panellists including Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General; Dr Sara Ruto, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Education in Kenya; Professor Keith Lewin, Emeritus Professor of International Development and Education at the University of Sussex; Pamella McLaren, Adviser and Head of Debt Management Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat; and Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Students Association.

Annual Conference 2021

Education, the Pandemic and Global Solutions for a Sustainable Future

Dates: 29 and 30 July 2021 | Times: 11:00 to 13:00 (GMT+1) each day | Venue: Virtual

Download flyer HERE

The CEC Annual Conference 2021 will showcase innovative approaches developed by teachers and educational professionals, in the face of the pandemic, to deliver education to young people, wherever they might be located.

The conference will:

  • Offer a wide range of examples from a mix of countries including Ghana, India, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Zambia
  • Provide a forum for delegates to discuss and contribute from their own experiences, including through parallel workshops
  • Review the impact of Covid on the delivery of education and the implications for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for education
  • Consider how to encourage the global dissemination of innovations and facilitate the sharing of ideas for the benefit of students, wherever they might be located

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.