Dr Michelle Belisle, EQAP Director, Ms Nina Tu’i, EQAP, Education Specialist (middle) with staff of the SOEd.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Education (SOEd) and the Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) have discussed developing and delivering a professional certificate in research for Government officials in the region.
Chaired by Dr Mesake Dakuidreketi, Deputy Head of School, the meeting was held at the Laucala Campus on the 13 April, 2018 and attended by SOEd staff and Dr Michelle Belisle, EQAP Director and Ms Nina Tu’i, EQAP, Education Specialist.
Dr Belisle explained that the programme would be targeted at staff who are working in government education ministries, intended to build individual capacities as well capabilities to collect and interpret quality data and quality information for the government.
She stressed that it is important to have formal recognition of their professional development from USP. Furthermore, Dr Belisle emphasised that these staff would have more research capacity to provide useful interpretation of data to influence national priorities and help feed into decision-making.
She added that in the region there is a need for having people who can conduct good research. In this professional certificate, since people taking it would be working staff at the ministries, the manner in which it will be delivered has to be innovative and successful, she shared.
Dr Belisle also clarified that there would need to be clear outcomes of what is expected of participants at the end of the course.
She further stressed the need not only for quality data but quality analysis and interpretation saying skilled researchers would help in countries’ monitoring and impact measuring.
Ms Tu’i added that while participants can be government officials, it can also include staff in other organisations who provide government with valuable information.
Dr Greg Burnett, a senior lecturer, contributed on the need for competence for statistical analysis as many countries have electronic management systems which have a lot of data that can be analysed.
He suggested that a main component of the course would be to enable participants to make sense of existing data. Dr Burnett stressed that countries’ information management systems often require interpretation in order for useful conclusions and trends could be made.
Dr Jeremy Dorovolomo, senior lecturer, pointed out the need for the course to include elements of communicating research information to various recipients within the education system such as from policy-makers right up to teachers in schools.
Associate Professor Ann Cheryl Armstrong stressed the need to know what the countries need to tailor the course for them. She also mentioned that data analysis and report writing would be important components of the programme and that real examples within the country would be critical to insert in courses.
Ms Vulori Sarai, Assistant Lecturer, also suggested ensuring that we also use current courses of the university to make up the programme which could include bringing back the action research course.
Professor Govinda Lingam, the Head of School, commented on the importance of this on regional education frameworks and thanked everyone for contributing.
A smaller committee has been formulated to take this matter further.
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