Education Discipline Leads Collaborative Effort to Enhance Education in FSM


The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Education Discipline, within its Schools of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education, collaborated with education stakeholders from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to discuss critical initiatives under the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) last month.

Workshops held in Pohnpei and Chuuk brought together educators, administrators, policymakers, and NDOE staff to strategise improvements in three key areas identified by PacREF: teacher education, training for untrained teachers, and teacher deployment and utilisation.

Inclusive Education

One of the primary focal points was the development and implementation of inclusive education policies and practices. Despite existing policies, participants in Pohnpei highlighted a lack of awareness among educators regarding special and inclusive education (SIE). Concerns were raised regarding insufficient resources and training for teachers to effectively support students with diverse learning needs.

Recommendations included comprehensive in-service training programs for teachers, encompassing the identification of learning difficulties and individualised support plans. Participants stressed the importance of formal certification in SIE for educators, advocating for whole-school approaches to support inclusivity.

Upskilling Untrained Teachers

Participants also addressed the shortage of trained teachers, particularly in specialized areas such as early childhood education and secondary education. While existing programs at the College of Micronesia (COM) focus primarily on elementary education, there was a consensus on the need for internationally accredited specialized training programs.

The Certificate in Educational Assessment (CEA) program, a collaboration between IQBE, NDOE and The University of the South Pacific, was highlighted as a successful model, with calls for its expansion to other states and inclusion of specialised areas like SIE and leadership.
The CEA programme is currently underway in the state of Chuuk and is offered by USP’s Education Discipline.

Teacher Deployment and Utilisation

Discussions on teacher deployment and utilisation focused on aligning policies with the current educational landscape. Participants acknowledged discrepancies between existing policies and on-the-ground realities, particularly concerning the qualifications required for various teaching positions. Opportunities for improvement included more specialised training programs, a transdisciplinary approach to teacher training, and collaborative efforts between educational institutions like COM and USP.

The workshops provided a platform for constructive dialogue and collaboration among FSM’s education stakeholders, paving the way for tangible improvements in teacher training and inclusive education practices across the region. As FSM continues its journey towards educational excellence, these initiatives mark significant strides towards a more equitable and quality education system.

As the workshops concluded, a number of participants echoed the need to collaborate.

They stated that this PacREF activity helped bring different stakeholders under one roof.

This enabled participants to gain a better understanding of issues surrounding education in the State of Chuuk.

USP’s Education Discipline thanked the participants for their input.

“Their inputs to this PacREF activity gave us first-hand insights into education at all levels in Chuuk, including some of the main challenges and opportunities that exist within the Chuuk education system,” the Education department stated.

The workshops also emphasised the importance of collaboration between COM, NDOE, and USP to strengthen its programmes.

The Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) is a regional project endorsed by the Forum Education Ministers Meeting (FEdMM) in 2018. The project has a long-term agenda till 2030 and focuses on building capacity in fifteen Pacific Island countries to deliver high-quality education services.

The University of the South Pacific is one of the implementing agencies for the PacREF activities. From the USP, the Education discipline within the School of Pacific Arts, Communication, and Education is engaged in activities under the fourth policy area on teaching along with the Institute of Education (IoE) and Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).

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