In a significant step towards enhancing education leadership in Tuvalu, the Graduate Certificate of School Leadership (GCSL) program was officially launched on November 27, 2023.
The program is designed and delivered by the Institute of Education, The University of the South Pacific.
The orientation and workshop, held at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Tuvalu Campus, brought together esteemed guests, educators, and officials to mark the beginning of this transformative initiative.
Institute of Education Director, Dr Seu’ula Johansson-Fua, delivering the opening remarks, expressed her pleasure at the presence of the Director of Education, Mr Neaki Letia, as the Guest of Honour and the USP Tuvalu Campus Director, Dr ‘Olikoni Tanaki.
She highlighted the unique nature of the GCSL program, developed in response to Tuvalu’s request, and emphasizing the collaborative effort required for success.
Dr Seu’ula emphasised the origins of the Graduate Certificate of School Leadership (GCSL) program, which stemmed from the Solomon Islands Partnership. Describing it as an uncommon instance of a member country seeking university-designed programs, she highlighted the Institution’s commitment to tailoring education to meet the specific needs of member countries.
“I see this as a partnership in going forward,” Dr Seu‘ula said.
“I’d like to invite you all to enter into this partnership from a relational perspective, as people of the Pacific and as Kainga.’
“What I mean by that is that your success as students of this Graduate Certificate very much depends on all of us working together.:”
“It means that the campus of Tuvalu will support you, it means that the Institute of Education will support you, it means our SAS, all parts of the University will support you. It also means that the Department of Education will be supporting you to make that a success,” she added.
The guest of honour for the launch ceremony was the Director of the Tuvalu Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS), Mr Neaki Letia, who also highlighted the necessity of the Graduate Certificate in School Leadership program.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by school leaders in the absence of proper leadership and management training. Mr Letia commended the collaboration with the Institute of Education (IOE) and emphasised the contextualisation of the program to suit Tuvalu’s needs.
The MEYS Director challenged participants to seize the opportunity for personal and professional development, assuring them of the department’s commitment to supporting their growth.
“In your role as school leaders we demand reports, we demand acquittals, attainments. At one point in time, we sit around the table and ask each other, ‘have we provided proper training for the tools that we ask them to provide?’ and the answer is no, we have not,” he said.
“So, this is why we requested USP, especially the Institute of Education to support, especially the school leaders – to help us contribute ideas and instil knowledge to be a leader.
“We are confident that whatever trainings that we will be receiving suits the context of Tuvalu, suits the contexts of the school leaders and schools in Tuvalu,” he said.
Mr Letia acknowledged the crucial role played by Christopher (full name) from the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports in organizing and coordinating the program, and the Director of Tuvalu Campus, Dr Olikoni Tanaki for hosting the programme. Special thanks were also given to the Tuvalu Learning Project manager Pamela Lysaght and the team for their funding support.
The launch of the Graduate Certificate of School Leadership program in Tuvalu marks a crucial step towards empowering the country’s school leaders.
The collaborative efforts of the University of the South Pacific, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and the Tuvalu Learning Project highlights a commitment to quality education and leadership in the Pacific region.