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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.




Date: 8 March 2021 | Time: 11:00 to 12:30 | Venue: Virtual (Zoom)

Hon Senator Dr Getrude Musuruve & Hon Harriett Baldwin MP

Sonny Leong CBE, Chair, Council for Education in the Commonwealth


The closure of schools, universities and educational programmes in the wake of the COVID pandemic has led to a disruption in learning of a magnitude never experienced in recent history.

The pandemic has amplified social, economic and digital inequalities, putting a generation at risk of a learning catastrophe. But it has also reminded us of the centrality of education for every society, as a common good and the bedrock of social cohesion, well-being and opportunity.

But even prior to the pandemic the international community’s commitment in the form of Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all’ was at serious risk.

In this joint presentation to mark Commonwealth Day the founding co-chairs of the International Parliamentary Network for Education, Senator Dr Getrude Musuruve of Kenya and Harriett Baldwin MP of the United Kingdom will explain why growing political leadership in support of education is essential to accelerating educational progress.

They will share recommendations for governments and multilateral organisations, including the Commonwealth, can secure more and better funding for education, improve learning outcomes and ensure that no child is left behind.

Download the flyer HERE

Watch it HERE

Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020

Agenda 2030: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - How might the Commonwealth deliver success?

The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020 was held virtually on Wednesday, 11th November 2020. The keynote speaker was Stephen Twigg, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General.

Speaking at the Annual Gladwyn Lecture, the CPA Secretary-General focused particularly on quality education (SDG4) and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16). The UN SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The Annual Gladwyn Lecture 2020

Agenda 2030: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - How might the Commonwealth deliver success?

Speaker: Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Chair: Sonny Leong CBE, Chair, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Venue: Virtual (Zoom) | Date: Wednesday, 11th November 2020 | Time: 18:00 – 20:00

One third of the world’s population live in the 54 countries of the Commonwealth. Engaging together they offer a
tremendous opportunity, offering direction and initiating approaches to help everyone achieve the ambitions of the SDGs.
The scale of this challenge was always immense, but it has been increased further by the impact of COVID-19.

This year’s Gladwyn Lecture will address the importance of the Commonwealth’s active involvement, particularly in relation
to education (SDG4) and good governance (SDG16). Stephen Twigg will focus on issues that most affect young people
across the Commonwealth. He will also consider the vital role of all parliamentarians, wherever located, in the delivery of
Agenda 2030.

In times of crisis, education is often the first thing to go – if we don’t act now, it will happen again

As of 31 August 2020, UNESCO estimates that more than 700 million learners remain affected by school closures due to Coronavirus. While the health and safety of communities is rightly a top priority for national leaders, this has had a profound impact on children’s access to education. In the UK alone, millions of children and young people were asked to learn online during school closures, yet in 2018, 700,000 11 to 18-year-olds had no computer or tablet-based internet access at home. The challenge is clear

Contingent reflections on coronavirus and priorities for educational planning and development

By Keith M Lewin, University of Sussex

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted education and development priorities. The tragic death toll and high rates of morbidity across many countries are an unprecedented setback and a calamity for those affected physically and mentally. The economic and social effects of lockdowns, loss of production and business confidence, and global recession will cast a long shadow over education systems. 

Despite the 435 million items that Google already indexes under “COVID-19 education”, many things remain unknown. No one has a clear idea of how the current pandemic will unravel over anything but the short term. The challenge is to strengthen the mechanisms to separate evidence from opinion and to balance popularism with speaking truth to power—especially when political systems can find it difficult to distinguish fact from convenient fiction.