FORUM EDUCATION MINISTERS MEETING
Auckland, New Zealand
SESSION TWO PAPER
BASIC EDUCATION FOR GOVERNANCE
The attached paper, was prepared by the University of the South Pacific, in
collaboration with the Forum Secretariat. The paper explores issues related to raising
the consciousness of Pacific Island educators on governance issues and, in particular,
how basic education structures can contribute to this and presents some
recommendations on addressing community and national governance issues within
basic education for the consideration of Ministers.
BASIC EDUCATION FOR GOVERNANCE
This paper explores issues related to raising the consciousness of Pacific
Islanders on governance issues and, in particular, how basic education structures can
contribute to this.
The focus is on the delivery of knowledge through the basic education system.
In the formal sector this means through the primary and junior secondary stages of
government-mandated systems, catering, broadly, for students up to around twelve or
fourteen years of age. Note that government-mandated systems may include some
CSOs (such as church) schools which are required to deliver government sanctioned
curricula. The informal system delivery is through CSOs that may or may not work
through the schooling system, but are more likely to use informal training
(workshops, say), seminars and media based (radio, television, print) advocacy.
Governance is just as difficult to define precisely. Some formal definitions of
governance have been proposed, the most often cited of which in the development
literature comes from the World Bank, which it first used in a 1989 report on Sub
Saharan Africa. The Bank identified a ‘crisis of governance’ which it later defined as:
“The manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s
economic and social resources for development” (1994;vii).
Most donors have now incorporated statements about governance into their
reports, discussion papers and ministerial statements, with the emphasis on good
governance. The ADB defines it in terms of “accountability, participation,
predictability and transparency”. Proponents of “good government” or “good
governance” extend their concern to legitimacy, accountability and human rights. The
OECD, for example, links “good governance” with “participatory development” and
“the improvement of women’s rights”. Within the UNDP, governance is defined as:
“the mechanisms, processes and institutions of civil societies and of states
through which people and groups can articulate their interests, discuss and
solve their problems, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and
mediate their differences.”
For this paper the focus is primarily on curricula that cover the way in which a
society is governed through institutions at the national and local levels – including any
intermediary levels such as provinces and states. This would include the function and
mandates of these institutions, the working of the political system, the formulation of
laws and regulations and the enforcement of these. Also included would be civic
rights, including participation in electoral systems, recourse to bureaucratic or legal
redress when matters go wrong and the structure of human rights as defined by the
United Nations in various conventions1 and also as adopted by the state.
1 The adoption of international conventions has implications for the application of human rights within
the framework of governance. As of 1999 the following conventions have been variously ratified in the
Pacific. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; Convention on the Rights
of the Child; ICPD Plan of Action (1994); Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development (1995) and
the Beijing Plan of Action (1995).
Application of the structures and institutions of governance to achieve “good
governance” has become, as noted above, a key concern. This is generally taken to
mean whether governance is fair and equitable to all, which in turn requires the
elements of “accountability, participation, predictability and transparency” identified
by the ADB. However the term “good governance” can in some important respects be
value laden. These “values” can be applied to the very foundations of governance
institutions - for example, in the developed world there are many forms of operating
democratic systems – from “first past the post” to pure proportional representation,
while some electoral systems – such as in Australia – can be quite complex.
In this context some systems may be perceived to be less fair or equitable than
others, though all have wide acceptance nonetheless. But to define one particular
system as “good” and another not is a complex issue to deal with and in this respect
the cornerstone is whether the system delivers a peaceful transition of power.
Further complexities are introduced when layers of traditional or cultural
norms are intertwined with the more western precept of democracy. Such layers can
come in at any level. In Samoa, for example, tradition plays a role at the start of the
electoral process during selection of candidates who may stand for particular
constituencies, whereas in Fiji the Great Council of Chiefs determines outcomes at the
very highest level of the governance system – the selection of the President and
appointments to the Senate.
Consequently, distinguishing between good and bad governance is fraught
with difficulty and often can only be judged on results – is power transferred
peacefully, does the governance system deal fairly and equitably with all, do all
elements of society feel secure, is the system accountable, inclusive and transparent?
Significance of Governance Issues
These concepts of peaceful transition, accountability, participation,
predictability and transparency, fairness and equity, and security lie at the core of the
importance of a governance system.
Governance has become an increasingly important facet of economic
development theory as a consequence of more pure economics oriented development
policy having generally failed (except in East and South East Asia) over the past five
decades. This failure led to an exploration as to what was missing from the
development “paradigm”: the answer has turned out to be lack of good governance.
In practical terms this has meant an insecure environment for economic
players – whether these be domestic or foreign investors, resource owners or the
labour force – to pursue income generating activities. This encompasses fair and
equitable access (not partial or favoured) to opportunities to undertake income-
generating activities, certainty as to the relevant laws and regulations and the certainty
that laws and regulations will be enforced. Without these elements economic players
will be reluctant to play a role and income-generating opportunities will thus be
limited, and at the extreme, non-existent.
Across the Pacific security interests, and perceptions of security, differ widely,
but have been heightened by the crises in Fiji and Solomon Islands in 2000. The main
situations that have involved overt conflict in the Pacific in the past twenty years all
involve at least four common elements: ethnic differences; land disputes; economic
disparities; and a lack of confidence in the government’s ability to resolve differences
fairly or satisfactorily.
The Forum, meeting in Tarawa in 2000, recognised these fundamental causes
of political instability in the region, expressing grave concern that, since its last
meeting in Palau in 1999, the region’s security environment had become more
unstable. Leaders agreed to a need for a mechanism for responding to future political
and security crises in the region, adopting the “Biketawa Declaration”.
Poor quality of governance has been significant among these. In 1997 the
Forum adopted Eight Principles of Accountability to guide reforms and a subsequent
stock-take surveys revealed three key weaknesses:
Weak legislatures: a prevailing weak culture of accountability and
transparency reflecting a weak legislature and lack of clarity in the
independence of Parliament from the Executive.
Weak regulatory framework for prompt accountability: laws on the
responsibility of public institutions and officers are often ambiguous or absent,
with few sanctions against non-compliance.
Weak judiciaries: judicial services are generally understaffed and weak and the
courts often have a considerable backlog of cases.
Ethnic issues (both between indigenous and immigrant, and between different
indigenous cultures) have been prominent in security breakdowns, and are especially
acute in multi-cultural countries, which now includes most of the Pacific.
A further major cause of insecurity derives from inadequate education.
Education levels are rising world-wide. But they are rising faster in East Asia, the
region with which the Pacific Islands will interact much more, than in the Pacific.
This is widening the gap in knowledge, income, privilege and power, between Pacific
people and those with whom they interact. Another major gap is in levels of education
between the capitals and the outer islands or hinterland which correlates with a
vicious circle of deteriorating economies, shrinking services and growing insecurity.
Disputes over land has almost always been a component of breaches of
security in the region in recent years. It is also a major factor in sluggish economic
growth. At the time of independence most new governments gave resolution of land
disputes a high priority, though other priorities soon took over. The reasons land
issues have not been given priority include that they are very time-consuming, that
results are slow to emerge, and that they involve a high level of social tension.
The quality of governance can be significantly improved by addressing the
weaknesses in key governance institutions as well as governance policies, processes
and procedures. The core governance problem in Pacific Island countries is the
paucity of national governance systems that are participatory, accountable,
transparent, efficient, equitable and based on the rule of law.
Education and Governance
It is salutary to dwell on the reality that education can deliver not only a better
understanding of governance issues, but also on ethnic and land issues, which
themselves can be more readily dealt with through better governance. Thus not only
will better education assist in dealing directly with one of the identified sources of
insecurity, it also can play a key role in addressing other sources of insecurity either
directly or indirectly.
Concepts of governance can be delivered through formal basic education
through a number of traditional curricula, particularly history and social studies, and
can be reinforced in many other ways. The key is ensuring that, first, the curriculum
covers the relevant material, second, that teachers are aware of and can teach this
material, and third, that the resource materials are available.
In developed countries there has been a significant increase in the emphasis on
preparing children to participate fully in their societies. This has given rise to more
wide spread “civics” curriculums that cover both citizen rights and responsibilities.
These are an important element in not only delivering knowledge on governance but
also introducing the concept of “good governance”.
Case studies (see also below) show that this is also now true (at least in part)
for the Pacific. In terms of curriculum development and content, aspects of good
governance are indirectly addressed through the social science curriculum under civic
education modules for Forms 1-2 in Tonga and Vanuatu. In most cases the key aim of
this syllabus is to provide ongoing study of the aspects introduced in the primary
years social studies.
The intent is to develop an intellectual base and interest in advanced courses in
the social sciences. These include; accounting, economics, geography and history
offered in the senior classes at secondary schools. In short, aspects of civic studies at
primary school level are not necessarily directed at promoting good governance per
se, but are also oriented towards preparation for the requirements of a formal and
highly competitive public exam- oriented school system. It should also be noted that
there is an additional problem in that schools may be working from imported curricula
and therefore content and materials will not reflect local realities.
In this context it is pertinent to observe that knowledge of the concepts of
governance and good governance can reinforce the understanding of the rights to and
the delivery of basic needs. Observations during country visits revealed a view that
opportunities for participation in civil society are at risk of becoming more
marginalised and irrelevant to the general populace if their rights of access to basic
needs such as safe drinking water, housing, and health are not being addressed first. In
contrast, knowledge of the governance system can improve the understanding and
obligations of governance systems to deliver these basic needs as is illustrated below.
SOCIAL, ECONOMIC and POLITICAL WELL- BEING
Basic Education for Good Governance
basic ed for
basic ed for
basic ed for
basic ed for
food self suffic. HRD options
basic ed for econ
basic ed for pol
basic ed for res use
& mgmt in envir
basic ed for
basic ed for
basic ed for basic ed for change mgmt
legal literacy & confl resolution
However it is clear that while primary school systems can play a significant
role in enhancing knowledge of governance systems, they can contribute only
partially to the total preparation of the individual’s awareness of good governance.
Key providers and contributors to the Pacific child’s development in this regard also
include the family, the clan, peers, the community or village, the church, and church-
based groups. This implies that the education system would need to draw upon the
influence and expertise of these external providers of basic education also and
develop a consultative framework if basic education for good governance is to work.
One conclusion that can be reached from these observations is that much of
the work on basic education for good governance is undertaken outside of the formal
frameworks of school systems. There is a distinct separation of that which is
considered core school curricular and extra-curricular activities and while principles
of governance are duly acknowledged as essential to building civic pride and good
citizenship, the focus in delivery, skills development and value orientations are given
minimal time slots in the school week. Many contacts spoken to suggested that given
that indigenous education prepares people for community participation, community
values and spirituality, the partnerships between the formal and non formal providers
of basic education should be strengthened to better integrate the good governance
component in current programs.
The recent innovation of governance in formal education are reflected in there
being sparse documentation of the subject matter. Secondary sources on basic
education for good governance are negligible in public libraries or national archives
of the countries visited (see also below). Much of the literature accessed for this paper
came from the Forum Secretariat, UNICEF, UNDP and the UNESCO desk at Fiji’s
Ministry of Education.
Websites visited on the internet which featured the topic as search criteria had
an emphasis on the organisational management of schools and classrooms produced
the http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/go0cont.html. Although this website has an
American context, the generic issues covered provide important pointers for practical
application in the Pacific context.
Other initiatives to document aspects of good governance have been
undertaken by international agencies, such as the Foundation for the Peoples of the
South Pacific (FSP), and academic institutions such as the Australian National
University (where the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia project is housed).
Attempts to obtain information relating to the above project and that on Democracy
Learning Circles in Melanesia (DEMLEC) were unsuccessful.
Other agencies like RRRT have through their regional legal literacy
programmes compiled training documents and pamphlets for advocacy and awareness
raising. However these reflect conditions for the respective countries in which they
conduct legal and paralegal workshops. National bodies like the Fiji Women’s Crisis
Centre who now have a regional mandate to undertake advocacy and awareness
raising on women and development issues in several countries around the region also
have relevant collections of their work and experiences documented as part of the
overall organisational strengthening and capacity building programs.
The efforts of government agencies, NGOs and church organisations who are
currently involved in activities that have strong components of good governance
incorporated in capacity building programs are not inclined to document the processes
with a view to replicating best practices or sharing knowledge. Much of the
documentation is confined to reporting for purposes of financial accountability.
Reports of donor agencies reviewing funded projects would most likely touch on this
aspect of basic education for good governance. In short there is no coordinated
depository of literature on basic education for good governance both actual and
implied, as many remain as official and personal documents.
In order to raise awareness and increase accessibility to literature on this topic,
it may be useful in the short term to create a website on ‘basic education for good
governance in the Pacific’ where some of these related documents may be made
available. Unless some of these official documents are deposited in national archives
and public libraries, they often remain inaccessible to everyone else. Given the status
of literature on basic education for good governance the following may enhance
awareness and visibility:
• Encourage the UNDP to set up a web-page on basic education for good
governance in the Pacific on its current good governance website.
• Ask the Forum Secretariat library to gather relevant documents from
official and personal collections, to be available for curricula development.
• Include a component on case writing in NGO capacity building programs,
thus encouraging the documentation of field experiences and practices.
• Compile a regional directory of expertise on basic education for good
governance for purposes of strengthening networks and collaboration.
Country Case Studies
Information for this study was obtained through primary and secondary
sources. Informants included NGOs, church education officials, government officials,
community leaders, regional and international development agencies and members of
the media. Time constraint influenced the scope and coverage of the paper: island
visits and the final report were undertaken within six weeks.
The choice of countries representative of the three sub-regional was influenced
largely by perceived levels of governance and human rights awareness and practices
on the ground and available flight schedules within the time available. Visits to three
countries were undertaken as follows:
7 –10 November 2000
12 – 16 November 2000
5 – 14 December 2000
The aim of the country profiles is to provide an overview of current practices
and challenges relating to basic education for governance. The analysis attempts to
provide insights on prevailing attitudes and perceptions and the potential for popular
and institutional support and commitment to the teaching of governance issues.
The visit to Tonga coincided with a national exam commitments and other
meetings, resulted in there being no direct consultations with the Education
Department. However a copy of the social science curriculum for Forms 1-2 was
made available for collection. On the other hand discussions were held with the Tonga
Human Rights and Democracy Movement (THRDM) and the Tonga Catholic
In Tonga, aspects of civic education are covered in the junior secondary social
science syllabus, though the primary aim is to prepare students for subjects in the
social sciences and humanities that are taken in the senior secondary classes. This aim
is reflected in the course content, modes of delivery, student activities and expected
outcomes. While the objectives of social science studies are directed at inculcating
appropriate values and attitudes of tolerance, respect for others, developing positive
self esteem, cooperation, sharing and honesty, there is an equally strong emphasis on
contextualising this in the framework of Tonga’s social, economic and environmental
development and its cultural inheritance.
Skills development focuses on basic research and thinking skills such as;
locating and organising information, acquiring information through listening,
observing, reading and interviewing, oral and written communication, interpreting
pictures, diagrams, graphs, maps and tables, constructing simple diagrams and models
and identifying social problems and suggesting possible solutions. In all, this syllabus
is quite structured and catering more for an exam-oriented system. Learning about
human rights and the role of rights in empowering individuals to effectively
participate and contribute to the processes of governance in the society is not seen to
be the primary focus of the current social science syllabus in Forms 1and 2.
In discussions it was pointed out that in the Tongan family key values
ingrained into the individual’s socialisation process are obedience and respect, which
does not encourage a questioning and critical mind. While informants supported the
notions of children being encouraged to be independent, to exercise freedom of
thought and speech, they also asserted that the educational system ought also to
ensure that the learning process focus on the responsible exercising of rights.
In responding on the issue of the role of traditional systems of governance,
informants acknowledged that “traditional mechanisms and structures conducive to
sustaining good governance in our Pacific societies should be looked into because
they have an important bearing on the shaping of the character of the Pacific islander
as it shapes [them] and plays an important role in determining his identity as a
person and as a member of a social unit”.
The THRDM is the only organisation in Tonga that deals directly with human
rights and issues of democracy. As an NGO with a funded secretariat, THRDM’s
focus is on providing an alternative view to the status quo, advocacy and awareness
raising and performing a watchdog role for civil society. Its range of activities include
fortnightly TV slots, weekly radio spots, a monthly newspaper known as Kele’a and
the village faikava sessions undertaken every fortnight. The organisation works in
collaboration with other groups such as Tonga Catholic Women’s League, Catholic
Commission for Justice and Development and the Tonga National Youth Congress.
The Tonga Catholic Women’s League (TCWL) is a non-profit organisation
operating out of Nukualofa with all funds tied to specific projects. With funding from
RRRT and DFID, it has recently become the implementing agency for spearheading
legal literacy training workshops for both genders irrespective of age, religion or
social class with a particular focus on advocacy and awareness raising on laws
The TCWL undertakes training in the communities and the outer islands and
aims to break down barriers in its networks by working with the Women’s Unit.
Tonga’s recent ratification of the Convention of Rights of the Child saw a need to
introduce this into the education curriculum and more importantly to contextualise the
Convention into an acceptable social framework. In response to this the TCWL will
facilitate a workshop, with the Ministry of Education and in conjunction with
UNICEF and RRRT, aimed at “raising awareness and informing education officials of
what the [Convention] is all about and its implications for education”.
The church in Tonga wields considerable power and influence in the
community and this is reflected in some of its vocal and visibly progressive position
on aspects of governance and the promotion of basic rights. On this point it has been
suggested that in order to enhance acceptability, ownership and commitment to basic
education for good governance, the church must be part of the consultative process.
Respondents in Vanuatu included; the Senior Education Officer for curriculum
development, the Director of Christian Education in the Presbyterian Church, the
Director of the Vanuatu Rural Development and Training Centres Association, the
CEO of the Vanuatu National Council Of Women and the Executive Director of FSP
In the social science curriculum for years 7-10, civic studies is included and it
examines contemporary issues of development in Vanuatu. The social science
approach uses a building block framework in establishing linkages. It begins with the
family, then to the school, the community, the island and then to the nation as a
whole. In using this approach it is aimed at laying a foundation of tolerance. The
Curriculum Development Unit is aware that it is now policy that good governance be
included in the country’s comprehensive reform process and equally recognises the
need to revise the social science syllabus and to move away from this inward focus
with more emphasis placed on Vanuatu and the region. The Curriculum Commission,
which has been defunct for 13 years, has recently been re-formed with representatives
from the church, MoE and the Cultural Centre making up its membership.
The Christian Education Unit of the Presbyterian Church focuses on non-
formal training in which trade skills and core life skills are emphasised. In response to
changing expectations and needs of grassroots communities, religious based education
is no longer just theologically based, but more linked to real life scenarios. The church
has been playing a proactive role in addressing tolerance between customary
landowners on the island of Efate and migrant communities. There is therefore a need
to create awareness and conduct skills training among the local population in
tolerance and living together in order to avoid the kind of conflicts that occurred
during the Solomon Islands crisis.
Current issues of concern include substance abuse (especially kava and
alcohol consumption) and the irregularity and inconsistency with which information
flows from government agencies to the communities. The call for government to
recognise the shortcomings of the present bottlenecks in the existing educational
system and the need to move towards one that encouraged people to be part of nation
building was also noted.
The Rural Development and Training Centre Association is an umbrella
agency for over 30 centres in Vanuatu catering for school drop-outs and focusing
primarily on skills training to enhance self-reliance and quality of life. The highest
cause of drop-outs in year 6 (12-13 year olds) was the unavailability of places in
schools. The stigma of ‘failing to get a place’ leads to low self esteem, rebelliousness
and a negative attitude towards authority and the establishment. Major constraints in
this program are funding, dealing with a mindset that looks down at local initiatives
and having to de-link from an overwhelming colonial legacy as reflected in attitudes
to and perceptions of development. It was further suggested that one of the ways of
halting movement of people from rural to urban areas was to emphasis rural and
International agencies like FSP are quite visible and focused in their respective
country programs. The FSP office based in Vila outlined new initiatives, including
establishing community based governance programs in Fiji and the Solomon Islands,
Vanuatu (as the control group) and Kiribati. It was felt that good governance
programs in the Pacific are too focused on institutional issues, with parliamentary
processes and financial management systems and thus, in the words of a respondent,
“taking a mighty long time to filter down to community level”.
The focus at FSP is to promote good governance in the national context with a
particular focus at the community level with the idea that good governance be
contextualised in the socio-cultural, economic and political circumstances of
respective communities. FSP intends to undertake a social mapping exercise of good
governance at the community level in addition to resourcing good governance
teaching in the classroom through curriculum development. For the latter, work will
initially focus on material production directed at developing modules for good
governance for primary schools and a teachers’ workshop. FSP believe that due to the
sensitivity of good governance issues in the Pacific region, basic education for good
governance should be initiated as a pilot project in selected countries.
The visit to Kiribati coincided with the end of the school term, visits of
education officers to outer islands and a national workshop on early childhood
education. Many of the senior curriculum development officers were participants in
the latter so it was not possible to consult with MoE staff. Nevertheless discussions
with an officer from the social welfare office, a small businessman, the women's
development officer from the AMAK centre, the editor of a newly launched private
newspaper and the FSP office in Kiribati provided valuable insights.
Key challenges facing I-Kiribati society today include increased movement of
people from the outer islands to Tarawa for work and education, resulting in
overcrowding and inadequate provision of water, sewerage and housing. Restricted
access to land for building have seen the rise of very crude structures and
overcrowding, with some village maneabas providing temporary living arrangements
as the need arises.
Increasing unemployment among working aged adults and the need to sustain
daily family subsistence has also seen a disturbing trend of families taking young
children out of school to work as vendors for the sale of home-made artifacts and
cooked food in the main populated areas of South Tarawa. Lifestyle diseases such as
diabetes, hypertension and other cardiac-related illnesses are common, in addition to
nutrition related ailments such as a lack of Vitamin A.
Conflicts of interests arising from the jurisdiction of the maneaba and some of
its decisions and rulings, disagreements between the older and traditionally-inclined
members and the younger more educated individuals in the community, the low levels
of women’s participation in public life and the status of children in general have
serious implications for upholding of basic human, women’s and children’s rights.
Informants expressed the need to address these immediate challenges prior to
focusing on good governance. It was felt that unless these social ills were taken care
of, then the physical and mental health required for fuller participation and the rights
to participate will continue to remain the prerogative of a smaller elite group. Like the
other two countries visited, the church also wields considerable power and influence
in the community and so that the authority of the village maneaba is now being shared
with the church maneaba.
There is a growing awareness of rights within the community that has been
brought about by rapid social and economic change. Much of this awareness has been
initiated outside of the primary school system by development agencies like FSP and
UNICEF, who undertake an advocacy role in a fairly transparent collaborative
framework that is non-threatening, user-friendly and tailored to local conditions.
There proved to be a low level of awareness and understanding among
informants on the meaning and application of good governance. This was also
reflected in a general inability to link global and regional concerns on good
governance to the different levels of decision-making and organisational practices
from national to the grassroots level. This absence of awareness of good governance
was particularly marked below national levels. In the community, governance is
instead perceived to be an issue that only politicians and senior bureaucrats are
concerned with rather than an issue that effects every day life.
Given the sensitivity of the issues, the way forward is to establish and promote
the culture of good governance in a non-threatening manner at the community level.
Unless there is a sense of ownership and control from within the community, basic
education for good governance programs are not likely to succeed. A strategy for
“basic education for good governance” should be specifically incorporated into
national educational development plans and component activities incorporated into
and supported by the national education budget.
A further issue is the extent to which formal education provides sufficient
reach, and hence the emphasis that might have to be given non-formal education
systems. Table 1 provides a summary of the status of primary and basic education
systems in the Pacific region. However, these statistics do not provide any indication
about infrastructure, organisation and management of primary schools, curriculum
content, modes of delivery and teaching styles, or the capacities of teaching staff.
An additional concern is that while there is an almost universal access to basic
education in the formal system, this does not reflect the level of adult literacy in the
community. The EFA 2000 Pacific report states an absence of available information
relating to the literacy levels of 15-24 year olds. It is further reported that while
“estimates of adult literacy are often cited in official statistics…their basis is
uncertain”(EFA Pacific 2000, 1999:1). So while most countries in the Pacific with a
history of “good primary school systems report very high adult literacy rates…these
figures camouflage the problem of low functional literacy among adults”(ibid).
Table 1 Primary and basic education systems in Pacific Island countries
ratio in primary
6-15 or Class 8 Tuition fee-free
to Form 4
Source: EFA National reports, other than (1) Solomon Islands Department of Statistics, 1995 (for 1992); cited from EFA
Assessment: 2000 Pacific Regional Report, 2000: 29
In addition, many island communities still utilise traditional systems of
governance as a means of inculcating values of respect, tolerance, maintaining law
and order, instituting redress, harmony, sharing and caring in their respective
communities. Consequently there will be value in organisational strengthening and
capacity building at all levels in systems of traditional governance. This should be
directed at empowering leaders and leadership structures to effectively participate in
and contribute to the functions of the delivery of basic education for good governance
at community levels.
The conclusions arising from the above assessment are set out below. These
are aimed at strengthening the promotion of basic education for governance, but
bearing in mind that their application should reflect the constraints of national budgets
and expertise, varying levels of political development, the growth of civil society and
the sensitivity surrounding good governance. Basic education for governance, while
being acknowledged as a cornerstone of HRD, must also be integrated into current
processes and practices of formal basic education for purposes of sustainability and
long term credibility.
The lack of information on which to build good curricula and resource
materials has been noted and suggests:
• That agencies such as UNDP, UNESCO and USP be encouraged to set up
web pages containing basic source material on education for governance.
• That the Forum Secretariat or the USP establish a collection of printed
source material on educating for good governance.
• That a training component on case writing be integrated into CSO capacity
building programs so as to encourage the documentation of field
experiences and practices relating to education for good governance.
• That a directory of expertise on basic education for good governance be
compiled for purposes of strengthening networks and collaboration.
Education for governance needs widespread support to be effective and for the
formal sector requires explicit government recognition. In this respect it is suggested
that education for governance be incorporated into national educational development
plans as a key policy for HRD and that the component activities be catered for and
supported in the national education budget.
National efforts in education for governance be extended to the wider
community, through non formal education, and to assist in this:
• That a first phase of advocacy and awareness programs be undertaken with
key stakeholders in education to build partnerships, networking and
linkages aimed at promoting basic education for good governance.
• That formal and non formal providers of basic education be represented on
national curriculum advisory bodies to provide advice on social science
and the means for incorporating a governance focus in the content and
Eci K Nabalarua, and
Suva, Fiji Islands
9 April 2001
Terms of Reference
BASIC EDUCATION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE
Areas of economic and social well being cannot be dealt with without also addressing
issues of governance and human rights. The one impinges on the other and vice versa. A key
determining element of social well being is basic education. Much research indicates how
sound basic education affects not only the health children, women and men but also builds
The most often cited definition of governance in the development literature comes
from the World Bank, first used in a 1989 report on Sub Saharan Africa the Bank identified a
‘crisis of governance’ which it later defined as:
The manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s
economic and social resources for development. (1994;vii).
By now most donors have incorporated statements about governance, or ‘good
government’ into their reports, discussion papers and ministerial statements. The ADB
defines it in terms of accountability, participation, predictability and transparency.
Proponents of ‘good government’ or ‘good governance’ are concerned with
legitimacy, accountability and human rights. The OECD (1997), for example, links ‘good
governance’ with ‘participatory development’ and ‘the improvement of women’s rights’.
Within the UNDP, governance is often defined as follows:
the mechanisms, processes and institutions of civil societies and of states
through which people and groups can articulate their interests, discuss and
solve their problems, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and
mediate their differences.
The challenge for all societies is to create systems of governance that promote,
support and sustain human development, particularly for the poor, the disaffected and the
marginalised. Systems of governance promote human development when they are inclusive
and participatory, when they address issues of equity and accountability and when they
uphold the rule of law.
Basic education prepares members of the community for full participation through
ensuring all a fully equipped with basic literacy and numeracy, understand decision making
processes. Sustainable human development requires the strengthening of the management of
economic, political and administrative authority.
To examine ways in which basic education can address issues of governance.
(a) Survey literature on ways in which governance issues have been included in basic
(b) Survey NGOs, church organisations and Forum Island Governments and document
initiatives in basic education and governance and/or human rights.