Education, according to the Canadian Constitution, is the responsibility of the provinces and territories. To that end, there is no federal department or federal minister. However, the framework that does exist includes a council of provincial ministers, known as the CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education Canada). The Council meets regularly to share concerns, best practices and solutions to common problems. Although each province and territory may have circumstances specific to their own geography, the one common priority is quality education for our students.
Earlier this year, I was asked to represent CMEC and all the Ministers of Education from Canada at The Education World Forum in London, England. This was a global summit for Education Ministers, where 89 countries were represented, with over 500 participants.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted a goal with a focus on Education, and in particular the importance of literacy as a critical component, and as part of the foundation for progress in any society. Once literate, students are in a better position to understand and develop the skills they need to be successful in life and work.
The Education World Forum provided opportunities to share ideas, progress and plans on the world stage. It also provided opportunities to listen and learn. It became very evident that, regardless of country, the pressures in Education are similar. Those pressures and priorities include quality of programs, inclusion, basic math and literacy competencies, use of technology, teacher training and professional development, and of course, the safety and security for all adults and students in our schools. As I listened and participated, I was interested to note that these are priorities within our province and I am proud of the work that we are doing in Nova Scotia.
As you might expect, I took the opportunity while in London to visit students and teachers in their classroom, and to engage with them on the curriculum. Children were respectful, engaged in learning and excited to share their learning with me. It was interesting and encouraging to see students being supported in their learning through both volunteer community engagement and private funding from corporate partners.