BATHURST (GNB) – The opening ceremony of the 58th ministerial session of the Conférence des ministres de l’éducation des États et gouvernements de la Francophonie (conference of ministers of education of states and governments that are members of La Francophonie) was held today in Bathurst.

Since the last ministerial session was held in Gabon, the country’s minister for national education, Edwige Betah Nganga, transferred the presidency of the conference to Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny during the opening ceremony.

“Your government is proud to host this conference, and I am confident that the warm welcome of the people of Bathurst will charm the delegations from the Francophonie countries,” said Kenny. “Our government understands the importance of education and early childhood development for the people of this province. We can be proud of our strategic investments in education, among others, to make child care services more affordable, inclusive and high quality, and proud of all of our other investments aimed at improving academic performance of the students, in fields such as literacy and numeracy.”

The focus of the meeting is on early childhood development and preschool education.

New Brunswick hosted the 53rd ministerial session of the conference in 2008.

The Conférence des ministres de l’éducation des États et gouvernements de la Francophonie (website in French only) involves 44 states and government members. It is a forum allowing its members to promote education and professional and technical training. It also guides educational policies of members through the decisions and recommendations made at ministerial sessions, which are held every two years.

People can participate in the discussion on Facebook, as well as on Twitter by using @CONFEMEN.