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CIE: UK must support education development

British education providers can play an important role in helping meeting the education development goals of Commonwealth countries, the CEO of exams giant Cambridge International Examinations said yesterday. Ann Puntis said that while the chief aim of offshore providers should be educational betterment, not profit, “brand UK” was respected worldwide and British expertise was much in demand.

Left to right: HE Abhimanu Kundasamy, high commissioner for Mauritius; Ann Puntis, CEO of Cambridge International Examinations; Daisy Cooper, director of the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau; Ann Cotton, CEO/founder of Camfed; and Tim Loughton, MP, UK minister for children and families.Left to right: HE Abhimanu Kundasamy, high commissioner for Mauritius; Ann Puntis, CEO of Cambridge International Examinations; Daisy Cooper, director of the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau; Ann Cotton, CEO/founder of Camfed; and Tim Loughton, MP, UK minister for children and families.

CIE had seen significant growth for its exams and curriculum advice in the last seven years that showed no sign of abating

“The export value of UK education is significant. But it is not a financial thing… It’s about recognising we play a part in a global agenda and shaping that agenda,” she told The PIE News.

“That’s great for organisations in the UK, but it’s even more great for shaping the future of education for young people today.”

“It’s about recognising we play a part in a global agenda and shaping that agenda”

Puntis was speaking at the pre-launch event for the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers taking place later this month in Mauritius, which will tackle goals such as providing primary and secondary education for all 54 Commonwealth member states.

However, Puntis said demand for global skills was climbing the agenda with “kids being educated for a global economy, for global mobility and global connectedness”. British expertise could help through “language provision, cultural exchanges, setting up links between schools, curriculum development, sharing best practice, developing global exam provision which works alongside national provision,” she said.

She added that demand would be high, saying Cambridge had seen significant growth for its exams and curriculum advice in the last seven years that showed no sign of abating. The organisation, a non-profit arm of the University of Cambridge, works with 30 national ministries worldwide.

Also speaking at the event were Camfed – a charity educating girls in rural Africa which has previously worked in partnership with Pearson – and the High Commissioner of Mauritius who spoke about the island’s plan to become a learning hub for the African continent.

“We are training people up from developing countries to pursue their careers in developed countries”

The UK minister for children and families, Tim Loughton told guests he wanted more done to reverse brain drain.

“Clearly it is a nonsense when we are training people up from developing countries to pursue their careers in developed countries. I think we have to be smarter on this,” he said. “Should we be looking at part of aid money going to not just training those professionals, but then to paying them a premium wage for staying in that country?”

The 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers runs August 28-31 in Port Louis, Mauritius

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