PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT
FORUM BASIC EDUCATION ACTION PLAN – 2005 REVIEW
23-24 May 2005
Ministers of Education of the Pacific Islands Forum met at the University of
the South Pacific’s Alafua Campus, Apia, Samoa, on 23 and 24 May 2005, to
consider issues related to implementation and enhancement of the Forum Basic
Education Action Plan 2001.
The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Teima Onorio, Minister of
Education, Youth and Sports and Vice President of Kiribati, with the Honourable
Michael Laimo, Minister of Education for Papua New Guinea serving as Vice-Chair.
Also in attendance were the Prime Minister from the Cook Islands, and Ministers
from Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea,
Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, together with representatives of Australia, Fiji,
New Zealand, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tonga. Observers
comprised representatives of New Caledonia, Tokelau, the Commonwealth of
Learning, the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment, the University of the
South Pacific, the National University of Samoa, the Pacific Association of Technical
and Vocational Education and Training, UNESCO, UNICEF, the Secretariat of the
Pacific Community, the European Union and JICA.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, Mr
Iosefa Maiava, welcomed participants to the meeting, noting that it was the fourth
meeting of Forum education ministers and that there was good progress to report on
regarding implementation of the Forum Basic Education Action Plan.
The Minister of Education for Samoa, Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa,
welcomed participants to the meeting on behalf of the Government of Samoa. She
noted that progress has been made since the first Ministerial meeting and requested
that all countries take ownership of PRIDE.
Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth
of Learning (COL), presented the keynote address. Sir John acknowledged the
positive input of Pacific membership of the board of COL, in particular the
Honourable Fiame Mata’afa. He noted that development equated with people
expanding the freedoms that people enjoy and that technology can potentially
contribute greatly to this process. He advanced the notion of ‘TVET for All’, which
could particularly benefit those who have not had the advantage of completing an
education. Sir John outlined the work of COL in the Pacific as well as new initiatives
such as the Virtual University for Small States and work in health and literacy and
livelihoods. He further noted that PATVET is a powerful network to encourage
networking and sharing of resources.
Review of the Implementation of the Forum Basic Education Action Plan
Ministers reviewed the Forum Basic Education Action Plan (FBEAP) and
noted the steps taken for its implementation at both national and regional levels. It
was noted that most elements of the FBEAP are contained in national education
systems although there is substantial variation in access to information
communication technology throughout the region. Areas where member governments
could increase their involvement include early childhood education and education for
children with special needs.
At the regional level, it was noted that while the main vehicle for
implementing the FBEAP is the PRIDE project, initiatives have been taken in several
other areas including disability and special education; TVET, language policy and the
regional qualifications register.
Note the progress on the implementation of the FBEAP nationally and
regionally, especially the PRIDE Project;
Note the results of stocktake report on the implementation of the FBEAP at a
Note the capacity of the FBEAP to act as a powerful vehicle for inspiring
collaborative efforts to identify, document and apply innovative Pacific
responses to the challenge of ensuring that basic education serves as a critical
element in building equity in education for development;
Agree that the FBEAP be highlighted in all relevant discussions on social
issues undertaken around the region;
Further endorse the current initiatives underway to develop teacher education
courses in Special Needs Education at the University of the South Pacific
Review of the Implementation of the Pacific Regional Initiatives for the Delivery
of Basic Education (PRIDE) Project
Ministers reviewed the progress on PRIDE, noting its substantial
achievements since the last Education Ministers’ meeting.
Ministers reiterated that the FBEAP was the principal policy in education for
the region and that PRIDE was the major vehicle for implementing this policy.
Ministers noted with concern the slow progress in the development and
submission of sub-projects and especially of the release of national sub-project funds
and acknowledged that countries will need to be more proactive in the submission of
national sub-projects for funding assistance.
Ministers agreed to:
Note the progress of PRIDE.
Endorse the benchmarks for education strategic plans.
Note that support for TVET could be provided through PRIDE
The Pacific Plan
Ministers heard a presentation on the draft Pacific Plan that is currently under
development, noting in particular how education relates to the overall economic and
social development of the individual country and the region.
Ministers noted that the education sector is ahead of the Pacific Plan with
regards to sectoral policy and planning as is highlighted by the Forum Basic
Education Action Plan.
15. Ministers expressed the view that education should be given greater
prominence in the Pacific Plan and should not just be seen as a prerequisite to
achieving other areas of the Plan. It was recommended that the FBEAP become an
integral part of the Pacific Plan. It was noted that education is increasingly seen as a
tradable commodity, which is regretted.
Ministers noted the TVET activities currently underway in Fiji and the
Solomon Islands, in particular the development of TVET policy in the Solomon
The Pacific Association of Technical and Vocational Education and Training
In 2002, the Ministers welcomed the formation of PATVET and agreed to
recognise PATVET as having a key contribution to make in reducing poverty in our
18. PATVET reported to Ministers in 2004 and again in 2005, proposing
recommendations that emanated from a regional workshop in TVET.
Note the progress achieved in moving the TVET agenda forward at both the
national and regional level in the Pacific to date,
Acknowledge the lead role by PATVET in moving the TVET agenda forward,
Acknowledge the commitment by a large number of national, regional and
international partners to work with PATVET to achieve the goals set by the
Education Ministers in the FBEAP in relation to TVET.
Note that while there has been some progress in TVET in some countries since
the launch of the FBEAP 2001, it is recognised that additional financial
resources for TVET are still needed.
Champion the role, status and development of TVET at the national level in
Pacific Island countries and help mobilise resources to enhance the wider
understanding and acceptance of TVET in the region,
Endorse the planned development of a regional Inventory of TVET institutions
in the Pacific in 2005,
Endorse the planned development of the regional Qualifications Register after
the completion of the Inventory of TVET institutions, and subsequently the
regional Qualifications Framework,
Strongly urging the SPC to accommodate the request to host the PATVET
Confirm the importance of TVET in the context of the FBEAP and agreed to
encourage greater support for TVET through regional programmes including
PRIDE, SPC, and the Forum Secretariat among others.
The Forum Basic Education Action Plan refers to the need to enhance
employment opportunities and entrepreneurial education is seen as a part of this
process. Ministers heard that entrepreneurial education has the potential to enhance
job creation, thus alleviating the region-wide problem of youth unemployment.
Ministers noted the need for integration of entrepreneurship education into the
overall education curriculum.
Agreed that at the regional level:
o Further research be undertaken in order to progress the introduction of
EE into schools in FICs;
o The Forum Secretariat seek and develop a regional resource base for
EE that can provide technical assistance to Members particularly
through ILO, PRIDE and COL, among others. This could include
information sharing mechanisms such as a website as well as training
Noted that at the national level, countries could:
o Develop policy, curriculum and related teaching materials on the basis
of locally conducted research, with regional assistance where required;
o Develop meaningful partnerships between Ministries of Education and
the private sector.
o Seek assistance from other regional and international agencies in
developing and strengthening EE.
o Conduct further research by local researchers in order to progress the
introduction of EE into schools.
UNESCO Skills Development Project
23. Ministers heard a presentation on the regional project that encourages
unemployed young people to develop indigenous skills to earn livelihoods.
Ministers expressed concern that the USP had not accepted several students
who had passed the South Pacific Form Seven Certificate, whereas those who had sat
the USP’s Foundation course appeared to gain easier access to the university. There is
frustration over this issue as it has been ongoing for some time and has not been
25. Ministers recommended that the Forum Secretariat commission an
independent body to conduct an independent benchmarking exercise to resolve the
issue of the relative standard of both examinations and their grading systems.
Pacific Protocol for Teacher Recruitment
The issue of a possible protocol for teacher recruitment was raised as smaller
FICs will continue to need to recruit teachers from within the region. It was noted that
the Commonwealth has recently developed such a protocol. A Pacific protocol could
be based on this, but should be more relevant to the needs of the region. Such a
protocol would provide some measure of protection for teachers who are recruited
within the region. While many teachers are recruited under bilateral arrangements,
such a protocol could provide a check-list of areas to be covered.
Ministers requested the Forum Secretariat to prepare a draft protocol for the
next Forum Education Ministers meeting.
UNESCO briefed Ministers on the International Decade on Education for
UNICEF briefed Ministers on its Life Skills Programme for Primary and
The Forum Secretariat, on behalf of the Asian Development Bank, briefed
Ministers on the ADB’s proposed regional study on skills development. Ministers:
Endorsed the proposed ADB regional study on skills development.
Agreed that any projects arising out of the study be supported in the form of
grants from the ADB and other development partners.
Ministers agreed that Education Ministers convene their fifth meeting in
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
24 May 2005