Institute of Education (IOE)


New Report on Excellence in Teaching - A review of professional standards for teachers in the Pacific SIDS

The Institute of Education collaborated with UNESCO to conduct a desk study in fourteen Pacific Island countries with aims to understand what excellence in teaching means across the region and how teacher professionalism is defined in Pacific island country codes of standards.

Research has shown that implementing teacher standards is effective in improving teacher performance in Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati and the Cook Islands. In fact, every country in the Pacific identifies teachers as the most important factor in delivering quality education. However, in each country, the teaching profession is managed and assessed differently.

This report is authored by:

•  Dr Mo’ale ‘Otunuku: IOE Fellow in Research and Assessments

•  Dr Teukava Finau: IOE Fellow in Mathematics and Research

•  Dr Martyn Reynolds: IOE Research Associate

and the Technical Editor is Dr Ruth Toumua: IOE Research Associate/Fellow in Curriculum and  Literacy.

The report can be downloaded from here.

New E-book – It takes an island and an ocean

The Institute of Education, USP is pleased to share with you all our new e-book entitled “It takes an island and an ocean”. This book contains selected papers from the third Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference 2018, held in Suva, Fiji on the 5th – 6th July as part of celebration program  marking USP’s 50th anniversary. The title of this book is taken from the theme of the conference, It takes an island and an ocean: Rethinking Pacific Education for resilient, healthy communities. The Editors of the book are Dr Mo’ale ‘Otunuku, Dr Seu’ula Johansson-Fua and Dr Ruth Toumu‘a.

In this book there are a total of 14 chapters presented, covering various topics from Pacific languages to home-school relations, Mathematics, open schooling, climate change, teacher education and tertiary education. Collectively, these papers represent the diversity of issues and challenges that we are facing in our education systems and the various efforts we are making to find relevant solutions.

The Institute would like to especially acknowledge and extend sincere thanks to the following people for their valuable contributions to this book:

- Laura van Peer for extensive manuscript and copy editing.

- Lingikoni Vaka'uta for the artwork created expressly for this publication.

- Our panel of international reviewers and esteemed friends of the VPEC who, together with the Editors, carried out double blind peer reviews and provided extensive feedback on the chapters:

  • Dr Linita Manu'atu
  • Dr Stan Manu
  • Dr Michelle Johansson
  • Prof Konai Helu Thaman
  • Dr Ledua Waqailiti
  • Dr Irene Paulsen
  • Dr David Fa'avae.

- The chapter authors:

Dr Helene Jacot Des Combes, Dr Robert Early, Dr Margaret Flavell, Dr. Sonia Fonua, Dr Peni Hausia Havea, Dr Robin Havea, Dr Peaua Tu’ipulotu Heimuli, Dr Sarah Louise Hemstock, Dr Alister Jones, Manpreet Kaur, Avitesh Deepak Kumar, Leua Latai, Dr Lex McDonald, Yolanda McKay, Maria Meredith, Dr Judy Moreland, Dr Mele Katea Paea, Dr Sione Paea, Rajendra Prasad, Dr David Sade, Amelia Leba Siga, Rebecca Spratt, Apenisa Tamani, ‘Alisi Tatafu, Dr ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki, Dr Lesieli Pelesikoti Tongati’o, Dr Eta Varani-Norton, Godfrey Vasethe and ‘Ana Heti Veikune.

- All the contributors who have contributed their knowledge and good will to the VPEC and to this book

This e-book is freely available and accessible from the Institute’s website at

Launch of the Tonga Education Support Activity (TESA

The launch of the ‘Tonga Education Support Activity (TESA)’ took place on Tuesday, the 16th of July at Lopaukamea II in the University of the South Pacific (USP), Tonga Campus.  
Through funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training (MET) contracted Auckland Uniservices Ltd and the University of Auckland in partnership with the Institute of Education, USP to run a professional development program specifically in literacy and numeracy to support primary school teachers.  
Her Excellency, Ms Tiffany Babington, New Zealand High Commissioner and Guest of Honour at the event says that “A strong foundation in literacy and numeracy can enable successful transition to secondary education for students and open pathways required for lifelong learning.. the most powerful investment we can make to lift education outcomes for students is to build the capacity of teachers and principals.”
TESA uses the Faiko Ma’a Tonga model to guide its ‘train-the-trainer’ strategy.  MET Schools’ Division, Primary School Field Officers will receive professional development for literacy and numeracy, and to use assessment tools which they can then provide to principals and teachers through a comprehensive school-based professional development programme. Pre-service teacher needs are also addressed through the same professional development programme being delivered to Tonga Institute of Education (TIOE) staff, who ensure their students enter the teaching service with the professional knowledge and skills required for effective teaching of literacy and numeracy.
Dr Seu’ula Johansson Fua, Director for the University of the South Pacific (USP) Institute of Education, says that “the goal of the new education support activity is: Improved literacy and numeracy of Tongan primary school children… it (TESA) has the potential to improve children’s literacy and numeracy levels, but that potential rests on all of us – the MET Field Officers, the nongovernment Education officers, the TIOE lecturers, the Ministry of Education, the NZ Aid Programme, the University of Auckland and the University of the South Pacific.”
The activity will run for all government primary schools for the next 2 years, and is also offered to non-government primary schools.

Tongan alphabet flashcards

The Tongan language alphabet flashcards for learning letters, letter sounds and names, and letter formation are specially designed for use with children who have specific learning needs, and the project aims to support Inclusive Education in the Kingdom of Tonga. This project has been made possible by the generous support of the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) fund, and the collaborative expertise of the Inclusive Education team of the Ministry of Education and Training (MET), and the Institute of Education’s Waka Publications programme.

The flashcards for Inclusive Education in Tonga are the first of their kind, and will provide a useful resource for early literacy skills development. The flashcards were developed and 400 packs of flashcards have been printed for distribution to the MET IE unit, schools with registered IE students, and selected families of suitably aged children attending the IE unit’s programmes, together with notes for teachers that have been developed by Inclusive Education specialist Peace Corps Volunteers and the IOE’s Waka programme literacy specialist. The flashcards will support the implementation of the national curriculum for Tongan language and literacy development in the early years of primary schooling in Tonga.

The flashcards are large in size, made of durable card, have a lot of white space with clear and strongly coloured pictures of common and well-known items beginning with each letter sound. They show the upper and lower case letters of the Tongan alphabet, printed in raised graphic print to allow children to touch and feel the letters too. The flashcards are designed for use with the children who attend the IE unit, but are also very useful for teaching the alphabet to children in large classes or at home.

The Tongan language alphabet flashcards will be available for sale to the public from the Institute of Education, USP Tonga Campus.

Article on the news ...........

Enhancing Learning & Teaching Environment Delivered in RMI

The in-country delivery of the Graduate Certificate in School Leadership (GCSL) EDPO8 Course : Enhancing Learning & Teaching Environment,  in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) , delivered by Fellow in Research and Leadership of the Institute, Dr David Fa'avae was completed on the Friday 29th March 2019

The EDPO8 course consists of 4 units: 1. Leading Teaching and Learning, 2. Curriculum and Instruction, 3. Learners and Learning, 4. Conducive Learning Environment.  Unit 1 contents includes, Leading Teaching and Learning for School Improvement, Leading Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning, and Leading Initiatives for School Improvement - for example the "induction of new teachers". Unit 2 includes, Leading Curriculum and Instruction, National Policies and Accreditation, School Policy Development and Revision, Outcomes based Education (OBE), Quality Pedagogical Framework (QPF), Leading Lesson Planning and Leading Assessment. Unit 3 focuses on Learners and Learning, Teaching Literacy, Numeracy, and ICT, Inclusive Education (IE) and Special Education Needs (SEN), and Unit 4 contents focuses on the Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools in the RMI, Conducive Learning Environments (CLE), Creating a Physical, Conducive Learning Environment, Creating a Nurturing, Environment and Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment.

After completing the EDP08 Course, participants are expected and should be able to: Evaluate classroom planning, teaching and learning practices, and learning environments in schools. Explain the basic principles and practices of inquiry-based learning. Design an inquiry-based approach for the investigation of the challenges and issues in teaching and learning. Resolve, individually and collaboratively, a learning and/or teaching challenge in schools. Plan parental/community involvement in a teaching and learning initiative. Monitor student performance in relation to school policy, national standards, and accreditation requirements and lastly the participant should be able to communicate with students, teachers, community, and the ministry, including using ICT effectively, in a culturally appropriate and inclusive manner.

IoE 2019 First Management Committee Meeting

The Institute's 2019 first Management Committee was hosted by the Dean FALE, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate at the FALE conference room in Laucala Campus on Monday the 25th March, 2019.

The Management Committee meeting was Chaired by DVC RII Prof. Derrick Armstrong and attended by Dean FALE, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, HOS SOE, Prof. Govinda Lingam and Director IoE, Dr Seu'ula Johansson Fua, in absence of VP RC and E&I, Dr Guilio Masasso Paunga.

The agenda of the MC meeting included Director IoE's reporting on the Institute's operational matters including current projects, financial reports, management and institutional developments. The Committee also looked at key areas of strength and weaknesses of the Institute which requires enhancement, necessary for a beneficial growth of the IoE.

The Committee is scheduled to meet again during the fourth quarter of the year 2019 in following this meeting and to further discuss the future directions of the Institute.

Public Perceptions of Child Poverty Research in Tonga

The Tonga Department of Statistics and the IoE R&D Programme have engaged in a collaborative partnership in implementing applied field work capacity research on the Public Perception of Child Poverty in Tonga.

The R&D Programme Lead of the IoE, Dr Mo’ale ‘Otunuku and IoE Reseach Associate, Dr Teukava Finau leads the research team in integrating local and indigenous knowledge methodology, such as the Fono (Focus Group), to obtain highly inclusive and qualitative data on the public perceptions of poverty indicators and sustainable development from the communities through culturally-specific modes of the Talanoa and the Talanga(discussions).

Dravuni Book Launch

Launch of Dravuni legends books

Saturday 13th October 2018 saw the launch of two children’s books in English and in the Dravuni dialect, entitled ‘The Legend of Tanovo and Tautaumolau’ and ‘Ko Tanovo kei Tautaumolau: i Tukuni’. The books, written for children aged 7-10 years of age, were launched at the USP Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies in Suva.

The books are the result of a unique collaborative partnership between the Waka Publications programme of the Institute of Education (IOE) and a Dravuni team led by the authors, Kaliopate Tavola and Ema Tavola. The project involved the expertise of USP IOE’s Dr Ruth Toumu’a as Editor, Iliesa Bula and Maciu Waqanisau Bula as Dravuni Dialect Advisors, and Dr Paul Geraghty as Independent Language Advisor to the authors. The project’s launch was part of the wider exhibition of Dravuni children’s artwork curated by Ema Tavola, and featured welcoming remarks by UPS’s Dr Frances Koya-Vaka‘uta.

The legend is re-told by Kaliopate and Ema, father and daughter leaders of the book project which achieves many firsts. These first time authors celebrate the fact that the books are the first children’s books in Fiji to be published in Dravuni dialect, the first books illustrated entirely by the children of Dravuni and published with the collective support of the Dravuni Village community. The books will be the pioneers in a series that will relate the various legends known to the Dravuni community, and contributing to the maintenance of vernacular language and oral culture.

We are proud of this collaborative project celebrating language, culture, and artistic expression. We hope that it will inspire other village and community groups to work together with IOE to build a collection of books to support language and literacy development in the Pacific.

Health Series Project

The USP Institute of Education’s Waka Publications programme publishes culturally and linguistically relevant publications to support literacy and language development and curriculum delivery in the Pacific. Publications include picture story books, posters, alphabet books and colouring book, non-fiction books and book series, creative works collections, teacher guides & photocopy-able classroom literacy teaching resources and academic edited chapter books.

The Waka Publications programme is proud to be collaborating with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the Tonga Ministry of Health, and Tonga Ministry of Education & Training to develop, print, and freely distribute a 10-book series (5 Fiction and 5 Non-fiction books) known as the Health Series.

The Health Series project aims at improving key NCD prevention health messaging through picture storybook development for pre-primary aged children in the Kingdom of Tonga. The ten books are each designed to convey specific NCD risk factor prevention messages in a positive and age appropriate way to pre-school aged children and their families. The books cover NCD and NCD risk factor related issues such as living with diabetes, smoking, diet and healthy food choices, exercise, and healthy family lifestyles and wellbeing.

The generous funding from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) will make it possible for one set of the 10 books to be gifted to each registered Early Childhood centre in the Kingdom of Tonga. The book development project began in August 2017 and will run through to mid April 2018.

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Page updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Institute of Education (IOE)
The University of the South Pacific,
PO Box 278,
'Atele, Tonga.
Tel: 676-29-055, 29-054, 29-789
Fax: 676-30-192, 29-249