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Date: 20.05.2008 14:21 Age: 10 yrs

The UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education and Culture was established in 1998 and is housed at USP. The THE UNESCO Chair is part of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Programme, launched at the 26th session of the General Conference of UNESCO and became operational in 1992Since then, the programme has developed at a very fast pace.

Professor Konai Helu Thaman

UNESCO Chair Distribution

There are over 300 UNESCO Chairs altogether, distributed as follows: 

Africa: 19%

Arab States: 7%

Latin America and the Caribbean: 20%

Western Europe and North America: 20%

Eastern and Central Europe: 23%

Asia and the Pacific: 11% 




LOCATION:  The University of the South Pacific



Professor Thaman  holds a Personal Chair in Pacific Education and Culture. She is a Tongan national and has worked at the USP since 1974.  She has a BA in Geography from the University of Auckland, N.Z. and an M.A. in International Education from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and PhD in Education from the USP. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Ako and Faiako: Cultural Values, Educational Ideas and Teachers’ Role Perceptions in Tonga’ was based on studies of the relationships between cultural values and educational ideas and how these were reflected in teachers’ perceptions of their professional role.  She has conducted research, consultancies and published widely in the areas of teacher education, curriculum development, and culture and education and has held senior administrative positions in the USP including Director of the Institute of Education and Pro Vice Chancellor. She is a m ember of several international and professional organisations including the UNITWIN/UNESCO Asia Pacific Higher Education Network and the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation on the Status of Teachers (CEART), and the Asia Pacific Regional Scientific Committee on Research in Higher Education.  She is also a widely published poet (five collections of her poetry have been published).



To promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation activities in the field of teacher education linked to culture.


 FIELDS/DISCIPLINE:  Teacher Education; Culture.  Education;


 UNESCO SECTOR:  Education           



USP has had a major role to play in the preparation of teachers for its 12 member countries since the  university’s inception in 1968; indeed the School of Education was established to carry out this function particularly in relation to the education and training of teachers for junior and senior secondary schools.

Since then the task of training teachers for junior high schools has been assumed by various national institutions a development the university has welcomed and encouraged over the years, through networking and a process of cross accreditation of courses and programs towards its own degree programs. Today the USP continue to prepare teachers for all levels of formal education from Early Childhood to Tertiary.


Apart from teacher education, the university through the School of Education and the Institute of Education, provides other services to the region which are directly or indirectly related to teacher preparation and development, such as educational administration, educational assessment and evaluation, curriculum  development, counseling, basic education and literacy, etc.




1.      To create an awareness of the important link between education and culture particularly in the area of teacher education.

2.      To establish a network of Pacific teacher educators who would work towards improving the quality of teacher education in the region

3.      To develop structures and programmes whereby departments, sections, schools and Ministries of Education in the region would agree to participate in appropriate cooperative activities aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding of Pacific cultures as well as teacher education

4.      To enhance links among tertiary institutions especially teacher training colleges in the region.




1.      Improved awareness among teacher trainees and future teacher educators, curriculum developers and educational administrators and others of the link between education and culture, particularly in teaching and learning

2.      Research and Publications in the area of culture and education

3.      Enhanced staff development in teacher education institutions

4.      Establishing and enhancing networks within the region and beyond in the area of teacher education and culture.




1.      Teaching (undergraduate and post-graduate courses)

2.      Research and Publication– in the area of culture and education

3.      Institutional networking and collaboration

4.      Scholarship (if money is available)

5.      Materials production and information sharing and dissemination


Contact Details:

Professor Konai Helu Thaman

School of Education

Faculty of Arts and Law

The University of the South Pacific




Tel: +679 301263

Fax: +679 305053

e-mail:  thaman_k(at)

For more information on Publications,  Conference addresses/papers, and other activities,see UNESCO Chair website link provided on this site. 

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Page updated: Thursday, November 02, 2017
School of Education
Faculty of Arts, Law and Education

The University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus
Tel: (+679) 323 1000
Fax: (+679) 323 1506