In light of the vision for education articulated by Sustainable Development Goal 4, the global challenges for education and the commitment made by Ministers of Education at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (19CCEM), and drawing both on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations 2015) and the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action (UNESCO 2015), the Commonwealth Education Policy Framework (CEPF) aims to provide member countries with a comprehensive approach to:
- identify key policy gaps and challenges;
- assist renewal and development of national education policies and legislation that enables the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with Commonwealth needs, priorities and values;
- ensure delivery on the critical aspects of Goal 4 of the SDGs;
- enable policy development that addresses simultaneously the challenges of equity and quality in a sustainable way and enhances the relevance of education across all SDGs;
- provide a mechanism for member countries to compare, review and formulate their respective national education policies; and
- support the benchmarking of policy implementation with similar member countries and the monitoring of national progress on implementation.
The CEPF is explicitly a framework. It offers a series of thinking tools for considering what makes sense in specific national contexts. Additionally, the document is supported by a series of further documents, on curriculum, partnerships and financing, that can assist in the education policymaking process. It presents a view of how a Commonwealth perspective, embedded in Commonwealth values and supported by Commonwealth collaboration, can enrich other international and national policy processes. The CEPF does not seek to substitute for such processes.
It can be adapted into a tool by member countries to assist them to scale up investment in education; to ensure that education delivery focuses on, among other things, equity, lifelong learning, workforce planning and relevancy to twenty-first century skills and jobs. However, it is for member countries to decide how useful the framework is for their particular circumstances.
The CEPF will complement existing international frameworks and address some of the gaps inherent in the existing national policies of member countries in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Commonwealth’s values as outlined in the Commonwealth Charter.
The CEPF, which will encompass a life-course perspective, takes a systems strengthening approach that will build capacity for education policy and frameworks across the Commonwealth in an effort to improve educational outcomes reflective of the SDGs. The framework can also be used to assist member countries in finding and subsequently addressing gaps in their respective policies.