Institute of Education (IOE)


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 Institute of Education at The University of the South Pacific has been assisting Pacific countries to achieve quality education through its Research & Development programme, Professional Development & Learning programme, and the Waka Publications programme since 1976. The Waka Publications programme has been publishing children’s reading books, teacher guides, and classroom resources in more than 8 Pacific languages over the past 40 years.

Waka Publication’s latest collaboration is with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the Tonga Ministry of Health, and Tonga Ministry of Education & Training to develop, and print a 10-book series (5 Fiction and 5 Non-Fiction books) known as the Health Series. The project aims at improving and supporting key NCD prevention health messaging through picture storybooks for pre-primary aged children in the Kingdom of Tonga. The project is the first of its kind in targeting NCD related health messaging to the very young, their families, and pre-school teachers in the Kingdom of Tonga. It supports the new focus on Early Childhood aged children as a priority intervention group for NCD prevention by the Ministry of Health. At the same time, it provides valuable tools for the development of first language literacy skills in Tongan language, to support the Ministry of Education and Training’s national language policy and national ECCE curriculum.

This collaboration represents a significant step towards the types of intersectoral partnerships possible for Health and Education, and exemplifies work towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and 4 (Quality Education), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) in the Pacific.

The Health Series books’ topics cover NCD risk factor related issues such as living with diabetes, smoking, diet and healthy food choices, exercise, and healthy family lifestyles and wellbeing. Books are in Tongan language, locally illustrated and photographed, and printed in full colour, and are specifically designed to be read to and enjoyed by the 3-6 year old age range.

Generous sponsorship from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) has made it possible for a 10-book set to be gifted to every registered Early Childhood centre throughout the Kingdom of Tonga. Book development took place from August 2017 through to mid April 2018, with a book launch and distribution planned for mid May 2018. Following the launch and distribution, the series will be available for sale to the public. For more information please contact the Institute of Education:

Telephone:      (+676) 29-055 or (+676) 29-054 or (+676) 29-789




Waka Publications

IOE's Waka Publications programme continues the work begin in the late 1970s, developing educationally sound, culturally and linguistically relevant, and age appropriate publications. Publications include picture story books, classroom resources, creative works collections, edited scholarly works, and a number of other resources to support education, literacy, language development, and curriculum delivery in the Pacific. Highlights from 2017 include:

  • creation of the Health Series; 10 books (5 fiction, 5 non-fiction) in collaboration with the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of Health, funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). The series convey key Non-Communicable Disease prevention messages to pre-primary aged children through an ECE centre based initiative.
  • production is underway on the Sustainability Series; 10 books (5 fiction, 5 non-fiction), on topics relating to sustainability issues including green energy, plastic waste disposal, sustainable farming and fishing practices, and water management in our Pacific island contexts.
  • creation of new educational posters and picture story books in Tongan and English languages, fully written and illustrated by local writers and artists.
  • collaboration to collate, edit and publish two teacher guide books for the Solomon Islands school context, with ideas and tips for teachers relating to beginning and ending lessons, classroom games and activities and vocabulary learning.
  • collaboration with leaders of a Dravuni island community art and storytelling project to produce legend stories in English and Dravuni, illustrated by local children in Fiji.
  • production of Big Books in Tongan language for the Pacific School Literacy and Leadership Project, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • digital re-mastery of old Waka Books from the Waka collection. Re-mastering work includes digital restoration and colouring of old images, text editing, new fonts and layout, bringing old classroom classics into the 21st century.
  • planning for work to commence on producing picture story books for Tuvalu in English and Tuvaluan.
  • early discussions underway relating to eBook development for the Kiribati classroom context.
  • development of the first of a series of Talking eBooks (eBooks with a narrative voice-over and accompanying text highlighting) featuring Niuafo'ou language (from the Kingdom of Tonga) recounting legend stories.
  • collaboration with USP Science Tutors at the Tonga Campus to create and publish book 2 in a series entitled "Our Laboratory", introducing Years 7-10 students to the nature and uses of essential items of laboratory glassware and equipment.

Educational Policy Course Completed at Nauru

Under the Professional Certificate in Education Policy & Planning programme, the Nauru cohort had completed the EDP02: Educational Policy course. Dr Helen Tavola delivered this course and had been completed by 8 students. This is the first course in this programme to be delivered in Nauru and will be followed by EDP03: Educational Planning in September.

Dr Helen Tavola and EDP02 students

Group discussion

Result of class brainstorming

Marking the End of Term for USP’s 21st Chancellor

The Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council (USP) Ms Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, the Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of the South Pacific hosted a dinner to mark the end of term for the 21st Chancellor, HE Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli on the 30th June, 2015.

This dinner was held at Davina House and was attended by Tonga’s Prime Minister, Hon Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva. Attendees at the dinner also included representatives from the pilot schools connected to the USP’s broadband network and USP staff.

HE Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli is the first Chancellor to have had the most graduations during his term as USP’s Chancellor which includes 5 calendared graduations and additional graduations held in Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tonga.

Ms ‘Utoikamanu presented HE Sir Italeli with gifts as a token of appreciation for his term of service to the university. Professor Chandra gave an address paying tribute to HE Sir Italeli acknowledging his strong leadership and having been an excellent ambassador. This is evident through his visits to the different USP member countries.


Workshop on Using ICTs and Broadband

Mr Ian Thomson, an e-learning Fellow and manager of the e-Learning Centre (USP) conducted a workshop for teachers and principals from schools that are being connected to USP’s broadband network. This workshop was held at Tailulu College and was aimed to ‘Achieve learning outcomes and improve teaching and learning in using ICTs and Broadband. Participants included teachers from Tupou Tertiary Institute, Tonga Institute of Education, ‘Apifo’ou College and Tailulu College.

The workshop was useful as Mr Thomson introduced how different tools in the web can be used to improve teaching and learning. Mr Thomson had planted a seed in which had helped teachers to think critically towards preparing their schools when having access to the internet in their schools, expanding their teaching and learning methods and also to ensure monitoring of its safe use.


LALI Project

The LALI Project is under the Pacific Literacy School Leadership Programme (PLSLP) and delivered through a partnership between the Institute of Education and the University of Auckland. The purpose of this programme is to help primary schools improve their children’s language and literacy learning in years 1-6.

There are 15 pilot schools involved in this programme from Tongatapu, Vava’u and ‘Eua. A team of technical specialists are working with the schools led by Dr Eve Coxon (UOA), Dr Stuart McNaughton (UOA) and Dr Seu’ula Johansson-Fua (IOE). The rest of the LALI team includes Dr Ruth Toumu’a (IOE), Dr Jack Maebuta (IOE), Ms Heti Veikune (USP), Ms Rebecca Jesson (UOA), Mr Gary Pearce (UOA), Ms Jacinta Oldehave (UOA), Mr Siaosi Lau’i (MET) an Mr Sione Tokoma’ata (MET).

The project had completed its 1st phase which included collecting of data about children’s literacy learning and language development with the factors that influence it. The team had jointly discussed the data with each school and have identified the key challenges in language and literacy learning and further agreed on how best to address these challenges. The LALI project is currently on Phase 2 and will be completed in 2017.




Trialing of IoE Prototypes in Primary Schools

The Insititute of Education collaborated with 2 primary schools in trialing of some of their prototypes for their Waka Story Book Series publications. Dr Ruth Toumu'a of IoE, worked together with Principals and Teachers of 'Atele and Veitongo Primary Schools in trialing of the materials which include prototypes of:

  • 'Alafapeti Faka-Tonga (Ngaahi Me'a Mo'ui 'o e Tahi)
  • Silikana mo 'ene Ngōue Kakala
  • Ko ‘emau Tēniti Puluú
  • Ko ‘emau Tēniti Puluú – Ko e Fakahinohino ma’a e Faiako

These books and alphabet chart have been developed to align with the 3 broad levels of the Waka Story Book Series publications: (1) Read to me, (2) Read with me and (3) I Read.

The Institute of Education has published children’s books in English and many Pacific languages. This year, the Institute is refreshing its publications programme and diversifying into a wider range of reading and literacy and curriculum support materials for the Pacific, beginning in Tonga, the current home of the Institute.

IoE Prototypes

Solomon Islands School Leadership Program

Phase 2 of the Solomon Islands School Leadership Program is underway with training at various provinces including Malaita, Isabel and Makira. The team includes Dr Seu'ula Johansson Fua, Mr Stanley Houma, Dr Jack Maebuta and the team leader, Associate Professor Kabini Sanga. This training is the deliverance of Module 1: Managing Professional Development. This module consists of 4 units: (1) Understanding Professional Standards; (2) Needs Assessment; (3) Planning for Professional Development and; (4) Planning Professional Development Activities.Over 1,000 school leaders will be taking part in the training from the 8 provinces of Solomon Islands.



Update from IoE

The VC and President of the USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra has signed on behalf of IoE, the second contract with the Solomon Is MEHRD to deliver the second phase of the Solomon Is School Leadership Program. The second phase will kick off at the end of Nov with the training of 1220 school leaders across the 8 provinces of the Solomon Is. The project team, is led by Associate Professor Kabini Sanga, VUW and joined by Stanley Houma, PhD Candidate Waikato University, Dr Jack Maebuta from USP Honiara, SOE and project is managed by IoE Director, Dr Seu`ula J Fua.

From the 13th of Oct, the Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Project team will be in Tonga for the profile training and pilot. The PLSLP project is funded by NZ government to be delivered across 3 countries - Solomon Is, Cook Is and Tonga for 3 years. The project focuses on improving literacy in the early grades. The team is a partnership between the USP/IoE and the University of Auckland (RUPIE, Wulfisher Centre & UACEL). The USP staff joining this team are Dr Ruth Toumu'a our Curriculum & Literacy Specialist, Dr Jack Maebuta and Dr Seu'ula J Fua.

Our team continues to work with the Tonga Institute of Education in the redevelopment of the Diploma in Education for Primary and Secondary. Dr Mo'ale continues to lead this work and Dr Ruth assisting the TIOE staff with the re-writing of the course materials.

Waka Book Series  for children - Dr Ruth has just completed the prototype for two stories and we should be releasing these two new stories in Tongan language by the early 2015.

Dr Helen Tavola, one of our Research Associates is currently in the Cook Is to deliver second module Education Policy under the Professional Cert in Education Policy and Planning.

Dr Otunuku is currently taking a much deserved rest, after a very successful Vaka Pasifiki. We enjoyed hosting over 300 educators and 64 presentations.

The next Vaka Pasifiki will be hosted by the Solomon Is in 2016 - watch this space and hope you will join us.


Thank you all for continuing to support IoE.


Seu`ula Johansson Fua (PhD)
Kaumatua Parekura
Institute of Education
University of the South Pacific
USP Tonga Campus
Tel: +676 878 1170 (c); 676 30-192 (w); 676 29-055 (w)

Pacific Association of Teacher Educators (PATE)

The Pacific Association of Teacher Educators (PATE) held an executive meeting on the 22nd September, 2014 hosted by its secretariat the Institute of Education. The meeting was attended by members from the different teaching colleges in the Pacific including Kiribati Teachers College, Vanuatu Institute of Teachers’ Education, National University of Samoa, School of Education (USP) and the Tonga Institute of Education. This was a great opportunity to have the PATE members together in Tonga as they came to attend the Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference on the 24th and 25th September, 2014.

USP Connects to Tonga Fibre Optic Cable

On the 15th July, 2014, marked the beginning of a new era for the USP Tonga campus and the students of Tonga. The Tongan Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano officially launched the connection of the USP Tonga campus to the Tonga fibre optic cable. This marked a realisation of the Prime Minister's vision for Tonga and its people to have the opportunity to access global networks of research and academic learning materials.

USP Tonga Campus is the first non-commercial organisation to connect to the Tonga fibre optic cable. With this connection, the USP Tonga campus now enjoys a 100Mbps total capacity of the fibre link from Tonga to the USP Laucala campus in Suva. With this capacity the USP Tonga campus students and staff can now access a wider range of materials for teaching and learning at a much faster speed and better quality communications. This means that video broadcasting, skype, use of Moodle and other forms of learning are much more improved. USP students in Tonga can enjoy the same privilege as USP students in Suva, university students in Australia and New Zealand who are also part of the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet).

With the connection to AARNet, our students and staff have free access to wide global network of research and academic materials across the globe. Students can now easily access databases from top university libraries around the globe right here in Tonga, for free. But this link through the AARNet is only available to universities and associated schools. Other commercial telecommunication providers will have to pay significant funds to be able to access these global networks for research and academic learning.

The second phase of this project will see the pilot of selected Tongan educational institutions connected to the USP Tonga campus. These educational institutions will include the Tonga Institute of Education, Tupou Tertiary Institute, Tailulu College Tongatapu and 'Apifo'ou College. Students and staff from these institutions will enjoy the same privilege as any other USP student and staff who are connected to AARNet.



New Directions for Educational Planning

The workshop on 'New Directions for Educational Planning' was facilitated by Professor Mark Bray of the University of Hong Kong. The one day workshop, gave participants an opportunity to engage in dialogue about new trends and agendas at global world that are affecting education and consequently how we plan education for small island states. The workshop was also fortunate to have Professor Ora Kwo, also of the Unviersity of Hong Kong, who kindly offered to co-facilitate the workshop. Other IoE colleagues from Suva and from Honiara joined the workshop and gave insights into regional development of the Professional Certificate in Education Policy and Planning (by Dr Helen Tavola, IoE Research Associate), experiences of school improvement in Fiji (Associate Professor Govinda Lingam & Dr Dona Ruru) and experiences of educational planning in the Solomon Is (Dr Jack Maebuta). The workshop was attended by senior education officers from the Ministry of Education and Training (Tonga), from other education systems and from the Tonga Institute of Education.

Professor Mark was here in Tonga, visiting IoE as part of his one year Adjunct professorship with IoE. As an external adviser to the IoE, he has worked with Dr Seu'ula J Fua, IoE Director, in the development and review of the Professional Certificate in Education Policy and Planning. The Professional Certificate consists of four modules that were written by Dr Helen Tavola (Education Policy), Dr Masasso Paunga (Financing Education) and Dr Seu'ula J Fua (Education Leadership, Education Planning). The Program will be delivered to the first cohort from Niue and Cook Islands in Rarotonga at the end of July.

While here, Professor Mark Bray also provided advice on possible research projects and strategies towards strengthening the IoE's development of its educational administration program.

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Page updated: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Institute of Education (IOE)
The University of the South Pacific,
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'Atele, Tonga.
Tel: 676-29-055, 29-054, 29-789
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