FORUM EDUCATION MINISTERS MEETING
Yaren, Republic of Nauru
24 May 2018
THE PACIFIC REGIONAL EDUCATION FRAMEWORK (PacREF)
Summary of Key Issues
The draft Pacific Regional Education Framework, 2018-2030 (PacREF) outlines a regional programme of strategies and activities in four key policy areas in education (Quality and Relevance, Learning Pathways, Student Outcome and Wellbeing, Teaching Professionalism), designed to assist Pacific education systems raise the quality of education, learners outcomes, and to produce graduates who are able to contribute economically and socially to national sustainable development.
The PacREF offers an integrated set of tools and mechanisms to help and support Pacific countries meet their education objectives and targets.
Pacific islands countries education systems have vastly improved access to education at the basic education level over the last decade for school age children as measured through the Millennium Development Goal 2 and the Education for All (EFA) indicators. However, uneven and limited opportunities within most education systems in the Pacific to skills-based training has limited students to access employment both locally and internationally. The quality and relevance in Pacific education continue as a major consideration in discussions concerning the education sector in the region. The quality of teachers continue to be the most critical factor in terms of raising education quality in the Pacific.
- The 2015 Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) revealed that under half of the region’s students perform at expected proficiency levels for literacy, and that numeracy mastery, though stronger, is also significantly below desired levels. The Pacific Benchmarking for Education Results (PaBER) pilot conducted in PNG, Samoa and the Solomon Islands identified common causes for poor system-wide performance including: uneven teacher professional development, monitoring and support; assessment not adequately informing teacher practice; and, inconsistent curriculum implementation, limited capacity of school leaders, and weaknesses in information management systems.
- An emerging concern in Pacific education relates to climate change and disasters from natural hazards risks. As topical global issues and as a matter of survival for most Pacific island nations, education plays an important role in preparing future citizens of the region to be able to live sustainably in a future threatened by climatic change and disasters.
- The development of this regional education plan is being led by the Pacific Heads of Education Systems (PHES) through a Small Working Group that was appointed in 2015 to work together with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in its development for presentation to Ministers for their endorsement.
The Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF)
- The Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) offers a 12-year Programme of highly targeted quality improving activities that includes the strengthening of tools and support services that can best assist Pacific education systems where their capacities are weakest. These areas include those that are highly technical, require advanced training or are politically sensitive – curriculum; assessment; developing and monitoring service and performance standards; teacher policy, teacher training, teacher competencies, and teacher support; TVET program design; accountability; information management; and policy evaluation.
- The PacREF Programme is squarely focused on securing the foundations for a sustainable programme for quality enhancement. During its first phase (Phase 1: 2018-22) it will:
- Strengthen the tools and services provided to national education systems by four agencies (SPC-EQAP, UNESCO, UNICEF and USP-SOE), and establish and strengthen partnerships between the mentioned agencies, national education systems and development partners around specific quality related outcomes and the furthering of proven effective educational practices.
- Strengthen appropriate region-wide minimum service standards and support their contextualization and use by national education systems.
- Facilitate country-to-country (South-South) exchanges of effective policies and practices.
- Over the latter two phases (Phase 2: 2023-26 and Phase 3: 2027-30) the PacREF will support a consolidation of gains made during the earlier phase(s), while tackling remaining and emerging issues as they are defined by the Pacific Heads of Education Systems (PHES) and by FEdMM in 2022 and 2026, respectively.
- During its first four years the PacREF Programme will contribute:
- To improve Quality and Relevance
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems to ensure curriculum reflects and maintains Pacific identity.
- Contextualized quality assurance frameworks including regional standards to assist national systems introduce and maintain institution (school) level quality assurance assessments.
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems embed broad-based improvements in teaching and learning through standardised, regularly assessed and continuous professional development supported teacher competencies.
- National systems being better informed and better able to adjust their programmes based on evidence of students’ pathways through their systems and post-graduation.
- To improve Learning Pathways
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems ensure that ECCE programmes are quality assured and able to meet national school readiness standards.
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems improve cohort survival rates, lower drop-out and subsequent re-entry rates.
- Industry responsive TVET programmes and better employer satisfaction with TVET graduates.
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems provide viable options for continued formal education and access to skills development for out of school children, young women and girls, persons with a disability and at risk youth.
- Contextualized tools to assist national systems ensure that institutional and classroom practices are inclusive.
- To improve Student Wellbeing and Outcomes
- National systems employing tested tools and strategies to improve children’s mastery of literacy and numeracy skills.
- A Pacific wide large cadre of primary school teachers who have high levels of competency in literacy and numeracy instruction.
- Contextualized tools to enable system-wide continuous assessment of students’ learning and the shaping of lessons and programmes to address identified gaps in subject mastery.
- A regional understanding contextualized by country, of non-cognitive skills, coherence between learning programmes and desired skill acquisition, and resource development to support delivery of programmes and non-cognitive skills.
- To improve the Teaching Profession
- Pacific wide application of contextualized teacher competency standards and assessment tools, continuous professional development systems, Quality Assurance Frameworks (QAFs), minimum service standards and the regular assessment of institutions’ performance against regional standards.
- High quality comprehensive teacher preparation throughout the Pacific for all levels of teachers.
- High quality systems and school management that is well-prepared to support teaching and learning practices and to facilitation raising levels of student learning outcomes.
- The PacREF Programme will also help Pacific islands countries national education systems to embed these tools through an appropriate combination of technical assistance, contextualized modules for continuous professional development of teachers and school leaders, evaluation, and knowledge sharing, learning opportunities.
- Responsibility for the PacREF will rest with the education ministers. They will set policy direction, monitor progress and effectiveness, and will confirm the objectives and direction of each Phase of the PacREF Programme.
- The PHES will ensure that the PacREF Programme is implemented as intended by FEdMM. They will meet annually to review the PacREF Programme and to update the PacREF’s three-year rolling implementation plan.
- The CROP Human Resource Development Working Group (HRD WG) will oversee PacREF programme implementation. To ensure that country-level concerns are represented at this level, the Working Group will be permanently expanded to include PHES representatives.
- A PacREF Facilitation Unit (PFU) will serve as the Secretariat to the CROP HRD WG and as the full-time unit responsible to facilitate and coordinate PacREF Programme activities.
Program Monitoring and Evaluation:
- With a clear focus on strengthening policy, on building the knowledge and capacity to develop systems and modify institutional and individual behaviors, and on improving students’ outcomes, the PacREF Programme will adopt a three-level approach to monitoring and evaluation.
Level 1: Monitoring of implementation and of compliance with PacREF agreements completed as part of the routine business plan oversight and monitoring undertaken by each of the four regional agencies.
Level 2: Continuous formative assessment by EQAP’s monitoring specialists of the impact of the PacREF programme on Pacific education.
Level 3: Assisting Pacific education systems to accurately monitor and record their performance against agreed indicators
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat