Education in Small States

Policies and Priorities

image of Education in Small States
This publication argues for work by the Commonwealth and others on the particular and distinct challenges of education in small states, and for the need to examine the impact of changing global contexts, to document the changing nature and significance of recent and contemporary education policy priorities, and to advance the case for new and strengthened initiatives for education in small states.

The study will be of direct interest to a wide range of stakeholders involved in educational and social development in small states, to policy-makers, administrators, researchers, students, comparative educationalists, international agency personnel and practitioners at all levels in small states, throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.




The Commonwealth classes 33 of its member countries as small states,1 adopting a broad definition which includes, alongside countries with a population of less than 1.5 million, those larger states that share many similar characteristics – Botswana, The Gambia, Jamaica, Lesotho, Namibia and Papua New Guinea. Small states thus comprise over half of the total membership.Within the group, most are at the lower end of the population scale: 28 have populations below two million, 22 have populations below one million, and 13 have populations below 250,000. The Commonwealth thus has a strong mandate to give special attention to small states, and a considerable history of having done so.


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