Education Ministers Shine Bright at

The two-day 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (22CCEM) held at the Marlborough House, London, has been hailed as a resounding success, thanks to the amazing work of participants, including the exceptional contributions of the dynamic duo who are currently spearheading Sierra Leone’s educational transformation.

Under the visionary leadership of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, the country’s Minister of Basic & Senior Secondary Education and Minister of Technical & Higher Education, played pivotal roles in strategic discussions aimed at generating actionable recommendations to enhance education across the 156-strong Commonwealth member nations.

The conference, themed “Driving Resilience, Equity and Skills for an Inclusive Future, was designed to advance and implement actions and commitments made at the 21CCEM in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2022.

With an ambitious Action Plan aimed at ensuring inclusive quality education for all by 2030, it is a matter of national pride and honour to see both Education Ministers from Sierra Leone playing leading roles in the educational endeavours of such a huge and important organisation as the Commonwealth.

The goal of the discussions centred on prioritising education, enhancing accessibility and identifying challenges that may serve as hindrance to educational objectives. Key areas included crafting viable mechanisms for resource mobilisation; greening education initiatives; facilitating local research collaborations while looking at the role and impact of technology and innovation through collaboration and networking. The overarching goal is for the CCEM to design potent tools that would help Commonwealth nations to prioritise Human Capital Development and address skill gaps by harnessing critical platforms such as Artificial Intelligence technology and digital transformation.

Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Technical and Higher Education, was a key member of this year’s CCEM, and served as an invaluable participant in the deliberations. She spoke eloquently and knowledgeably about her Ministry’s efforts to transform Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at policy level, with plans underway to change the perception of TVET, by converting Government Technical Institutes into Community Colleges linked to a university, allowing for resource sharing and incorporating a training pathway from TVET to university degree programs via a harmonized National Qualification Framework. She also spoke about plans to improve training and make it more relevant by linking the outputs of an ongoing labour market survey in Sierra Leone with curriculum review. This, she said, would help ensure that training is demand-led, and would promote public-private partnerships, while increasing chances of employability.

Dr. Ramatulai Wurie also spoke about fostering entrepreneurship skills during training to position the trainees to become employers and self-sufficient. She disclosed plans to introduce sustainable and innovative ways of financing the sector.

While Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie was effortlessly sharing her brilliant ideas and planting seeds to aid global educational growth, Mr. Conrad Sackey, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, was busy in a nearby hall chairing another session of Education Ministers and Professionals. The brief was to explore “Foundational Skills for Inclusive and Equitable Learning” starting from early childhood. This session examined the use of literacy, numeracy, and socioemotional skills to unlock the full potential of children, examine challenges, and reimagine education systems to meet evolving needs. Mr. Sackey, who like Dr Wurie, has a solid background in education and educational development chaired this key roundtable session with admirable ability and seasoned skills.

On Monday May 20th 2024, both ministers participated in another conference – the Education World Forum 2024, which is the largest annual global gathering of Education and Skills Ministers, to be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Centre London. They will be sharing their expertise and learning from other key players at this important three-day global conference of educationists and educators.

As the world rises, Sierra Leone will keep rising, in step, to take its rightful place in all the areas that truly matter. Education is certainly one such important domain in which the country is steely determined to find its space.

Credit – Abdulai Braima, Information Attaché-SLHC- London.

 Copyright –Published in print in Expo Times Newspaper on Friday, May 22nd , 2024 (ExpoTimes News – Expo Media Group (