Port Vila, Vanuatu– There has been steady progress in the implementation of the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) since it was endorsed by Forum Education Ministers in 2009.
The 9th meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministers of Education (FEdMM) which was held in Port Vila, the Republic of Vanuatu, 14-15 May 2012 discussed the progress in the implementation of the Framework.
The Ministers also deliberated on the theme: “Sustainable Quality Education – 2012 and beyond”.
Ministers of Education from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu and Vanuatu together with representatives of Australia and Palau attended the meeting. Vanuatu’s Minister of Education, Hon. Marcellino Pipite chaired the two-day meeting.
Representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations for the Pacific including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the University of the South Pacific (USP), as well as Australia Aid for International Development (AusAID), the New Zealand Aid Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank attended the meeting. Ministers of Education in their consideration of the implementation of the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) welcomed the progress so far including in the national level activities especially the findings of the Baseline Survey conducted in 14 of the Forum island countries and the integration of the relevant and applicable PEDF priorities into national education sector strategic development plans.
Ministers appreciated the support of regional and international agencies in developing regional level initiatives to support countries in their national efforts.
Results of the baseline survey conducted in 14 FICs show that countries have adopted the regional initiatives to support their education development efforts and the need to integrate the regional initiatives into the country national plans.
The Education Ministers endorsed the work so far in the development of an appropriate Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the PEDF and the remaining process to complete its development. Ministers acknowledged the importance of an M & E Framework in order for the Ministers to be better informed on the progress of achievements of the PEDF.
The Ministers also endorsed the development of an Education Management Information System (EMIS) Project to proceed into the next stage of securing a three-year funding support and commitment from the development partners. They believe that an effective EMIS will ensure the success and validity of the M & E framework.
The Ministers acknowledged the pivotal role education plays in the development of countries in the region and urged governments to allocate the necessary level of resources to the sector. They also urged regional institutions, development partners and other educational deliverers in the region to work together with member governments to further progress the implementation of the PEDF. Their programmes must be aligned to the national priorities of FICs in education and must add value and complement national efforts.
During the Meeting, Australia and New Zealand reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the education sector in the Pacific region with Australia committing AUD1 billion to the sector for the next four years. The Education Ministers welcomed the continuing assistance from Australia and New Zealand to the education sector in the region.
Forum Education Ministers also urged Pacific countries to recommit to mother tongue education and language learning and to establish appropriate policies to support the practice. They urged that consideration be given to the convening of a literacy conference in the region. They further agreed to explore ways to pursue equity and access for education in the region and directed the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific to contextualize for the Pacific the research on educational access, transitions and equity conducted by the Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE) in several regions of the world. CREATE is a five-year programme of research funded by the government of the United Kingdom with partner institutes in the UK, and several countries in Africa and Asia.
The 9th FEdMM also reaffirmed the leadership role of Education Ministers in the region’s education sector and that they be kept abreast of developments in the sector in the most effective and efficient manner.
The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of keeping the integrity of the pacific family and in order to do this all Forum member countries need to be present at the next FEdMM given the importance of the future of education of the children in the region.
The 10th Forum Education Ministers’ Meeting will be held in the Cook Islands towards the end of 2013.
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