The Commonwealth’s education programme reflects the mandates of education ministers and values in the Commonwealth Charter, and is aligned with the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals. 

We believe that :

  • Access to quality education and learning is a human right and should not be a lottery of birth or dictated by gender, ethnicity, disabilities, location or social or economic background.    
  • Children and young people are precious assets to their countries and should be supported, through education, to drive innovationtechnological advances and sustainable development. 
  • Everyone should have access to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviours and values they need to make responsible choices, and be productive members of their communities.  
  • We need effective strategies to support transition from primary to secondary to higher education, and from school to work.  
  • It is important to recognise and support non-formal education such as flexible and learner-specific programmes provided by youth workers and non-governmental organisations as viable learning options for out of school children and youth. 

Learning for Life

Our response to education challenges affecting millions such as lack of access to quality and relevant learning opportunities, is the Learning for Life (L4L) programme 

It focuses on five areas of development:  

  1. Supporting ministries of education and education sectors with planning, management and the creation of strong, effective policies; 
  2. Competent and well-qualified educators that can provide high-quality, tailored content to all learners through learner-centred and inclusive pedagogies;   
  3. Curriculum designs and learning resources that make use of the latest technologies, particularly web-based solutions, and that meet the specific needs of learners; 
  4. Ensuring that learners benefit from social skills and are empowered to become active and responsible citizens; and 
  5. Collaborating with governments and other organisations who work in education to boost impact, resilience and sustainability.  


The Commonwealth Education Partnership (CEP), launched in 2018, is a collaboration of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and other organisations, to support a cohesive and coordinated response to education challenges.  

Through the CEP we provide:  

  • Targeted advice and programme support for governments; 
  • Effective policies and strategies for teacher education and educational leadership; 
  • Bursaries for girls to complete their schooling; and  
  • Technologies to support virtual and remote learning opportunities.  

We also bring people together to share knowledge and identify promising and impactful practices, policies and programmes through:

  • The Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers (CCEMs)held every three years, bringing ministers of education, officials, academics, teachers, students and community groups into the same space to discuss their shared challenges and agree on solutions and policy responses.  
  • The Education Ministers Action Group: established by education ministers at the 2015 CCEM to support the implementation of decisions made at ministerial meetings and actions to achieve the sustainable development goals. 
  • Education Awards: showcasing promising education practices and innovations.  
  • Commonwealth Higher Education Consortium for Youth Work: a group of organisations and universities delivering online or blended learning qualifications at bachelor degree level in youth work.  

Commonwealth in action

Governments are using our advice and support to improve areas such as curriculum development, early childhood education antechnical and vocational programmesteacher training and education leadership. 

  • Our support has led to a greater focus on flexible and non-formal learning approaches to suit learners of all backgrounds and locations and at all stages of life; 
  • We have helped create programmes that ensure no one is excluded from learning because of their gender, special needs, ethnicity, status, location or social and economic situation; 
  • We have helped to boost web and mobile based education programmes and resources, which are particularly key for remote communities and in times of emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  • Working with universities, we have facilitated the professionalisation of youth work through online degrees that build the right skills and competencies. 
  • Through the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, more than 35,000 students from low and middle income countries have had the opportunity to study in other Commonwealth countries, building strong people-to-people links and increased understanding and collaboration.   

Moving forward

The Commonwealth is exploring effective strategies to address current and emerging challenges, including: 

  • Emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic;  
  • Climate change impacts on education;  
  • Gender inequalities in education; 
  • Gaps in inclusive education;  


Get in touch

To learn more about our education programmes or to get involved in our initiatives contact us at [email protected]