Mauritius is gearing up to host the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (18CCEM) in August this year in what is the largest ministerial meeting on the Commonwealth calendar.
Up to 1,200 delegates are expected to attend the triennial gathering which will take place on the Indian Ocean island from 28 to 31 August.
They will discuss how best to speed up progress on the Education for All targets and Millennium Development Goals in Education - specifically looking at how to close the gaps that are preventing these goals from being reached by their target date of 2015.
Speaking during a three-day planning visit to Mauritius this week, Dr Pauline Greaves, Head of Education at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said this year's conference will be critical for many countries: "We have three years left to consolidate the gains made by these global goals, agreed in 2000. Despite the economic crisis, much has been done to improve education in Commonwealth countries, particularly in the area of primary school enrolment.
"However, there are still gaps and some countries will not meet their targets for access and equality. We hope 18CCEM will provide a platform to discuss how best to support education efforts to bridge these gaps as well as to debate wider issues such as post secondary education and the role of technology in learning.”
The ministerial conference will be held at the main convention centre in the capital, Port Louis. There will be four parallel forums: a post-secondary and tertiary education forum; a stakeholders forum - for civil society and business; a teachers forum; and a youth forum.
As well as international delegates, the forums will include a large contingent of Mauritian civil society organisations, teachers, tertiary education leaders and young people.
The theme for 18CCEM is ‘Education in the Commonwealth: bridging the gap as we accelerate towards achieving Internationally Agreed Goals’.