Fiji recently chaired the Education Ministerial Action Group (EMAG) at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, last week.

As
the outgoing chair before the 21CCEM in Kenya next year, Minister Akbar
congratulated the member states as well as the Secretariat for the continuous
and effective implementation of our Nadi Declaration, particularly the
respective initiatives and programs developed and successfully implemented
since the last EMAG in January last year.

EMAG
provides the most equitable platform to be informed of the status of the
implementation of our Nadi Declaration Action Plan (the outcome document of the
last CCEM), as well as the outcomes of the Commonwealth Accelerated Development
Mechanism for Education (CADME) working group.

The
body provides the opportunity to share learnings and experiences amongst
members, on the respective developments pursued/implemented as per the Nadi
Declaration outcomes; and as well as preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth
Heads of Govt. Meeting (CHOGM) and the 21CCEM.

The
EMAG members with the guidance of the Secretariat, had discussions on diverse
issues including supporting the Commonwealth’s education work programme and
Nadi Action Plan in regional and international settings, avenues in which EMAG
can provide greater oversight for CCEM mandates, as well as ascertaining how
EMAG members can play a further effective role in representing their respective
regions and sharing the developments across the Commonwealth via regional
platforms.

With
the aim of sharing learnings and experiences, and identifying good practices;
the Hon. Ministers shared the status of Education development in their
countries and region; particularly its alignment towards the implementation of
the Nadi Declaration Action Plan.

Minister
Akbar in providing an update on Fiji’s Nadi Declaration implementation status,
informed members that as part of the Education Governance and Management
outcome, the Fiji Education Management Information System (FEMIS) has been
operating successfully and has recently incorporated additional modules in 2019
to improve efficiency in the Education system. As an outcome of this system,
results of more than 30,000 Year 10, 12 and 13 students’ part-taking in National
exam are released online and accessible by phones.

The
system is also a Monitoring and Evaluation tool to track ministry progress
towards strategic goals.

She
further highlighted that Fiji is the owner of all source code used by FEMIS and
this approach of sharing code was successful in Vanuatu.  She added that
sharing modules cuts down on software development costs and reduces time to
delivery, when modules are already built and tested. 

In
building Resilience through Education, Fiji with the support from UNICEF and
UNDP, has developed the School Disaster Risk Reduction & Resilience
Building [SDRR&RB] Handbook for teachers and students; which provides a
practical ’how-to’ guide for ensuring students and staff protection, safe
guarding education continuity and promoting a culture of safety and resilience.

In
promoting the significance of Education for the enhancement of Sustainable
Development, Fiji with support from UNICEF has commenced the contextualization
of the global ECCE diagnostic and planning tool last year. This ECCE toolkit is
envisioned to be operational later on this year.

Members
also had the opportunity to be updated on progress made by our Education
partners including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Association of
Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

Given
that Fiji will be handing over the chairmanship of the EMAG to Kenya at the
21CCEM in March next year, members were also provided with preparations made to
date by representatives from Kenya.

Apart
from administrative and logistical preparations, members were also updated on
Themes, Subthemes and Policy recommendations for this much anticipated biennial
meeting.

In
concluding the one-day meeting, members were once again reminded and encouraged
to advance the implementation of specific actions that will ensure at least 12
years of quality education and learning for girls and boys by 2030, by
investing in skilled motivated and supportive teachers, educational facilities,
and focusing on education reforms.

Guided
by the principle to leave no one behind, they agreed to support marginalised
groups, especially disadvantaged girls, children with disabilities, and those
who have dropped out of school to progress through secondary education and training
through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.

The
EMAG comprises of ten (10) countries including Fiji (Chair), The Bahamas,
Botswana, Jamaica, India, Kenya, Malta, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu.

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