Pacific Education leaders meet to determine bolder strategies for regional learning transformation


July 3, 2024, Nadi, Fiji: The Pacific Heads of Education Systems Steering Committee (PHES SC) is committed to transforming education in the Pacific as it continues to support the development of Phase 2 of The Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) to be rolled out in 2025.

PacREF is a 12-year programme approved by Pacific education leaders through a multi-coordinated approach to improve educational outcomes through innovative, inclusive, and sustainable approaches across the region.

Chair of the PHES SC, Wayne Mendiola, in congratulating leaders at the three-day meeting that started in Nadi yesterday, emphasised the goals of PacREF and urged leaders to strive towards creating a more sustainable and equitable learning environment for all Pacific students.

“With 60 activities across 16 regional goods (RGs) delivered in Phase 1 throughout the Pacific, soon to be tested for international comparability and standards alignment, PacREF’s progress is a testament to its resilience and strength, despite the challenges faced, especially during the global pandemic, COVID-19,” he said.

PacREF Coordinator Filipe Jitoko emphasised the significance of the steering committee in addressing several significant issues as Phase 1 concludes this year and the finalisation of a Phase 2 implementation rolling plan.

“The goal is to ensure a seamless transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2, with an increased focus on activities at the country level. Additionally, there will be a stronger emphasis on learning platforms, such as the Wansolwara,” Jitoko added.

In his opening address, the University of the South Pacific (USP) President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, highlighted the need for all Implementing Agencies (IAs) and country education systems to be equally responsible for the planning, implementation and success of PacREF’s activities. Professor Ahluwalia stated, “Quality education for sustainable development is a key priority for the region, as highlighted by our leaders.”

“By increasing access to quality education, enhancing teacher training, promoting education for sustainable development, and fostering innovation and digital literacy, the Pacific can build a more inclusive, resilient, and prosperous future for its people as envisioned under the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy”.

The USP Vice-Chancellor and President also conveyed his appreciation to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga, Honourable Hu’akavemeiliku, Siaosi Sovaleni, who is the incoming Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, for pushing education as a critical agenda item to be considered at the upcoming Forum Leaders Meeting.

The PacREF’s 15 member countries share a common goal and include the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The PacREF is funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the New Zealand Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides funding through its core funding to USP and the Pacific Community’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (SPC-EQAP).

The PacREF Facilitation Unit (PFU) is hosted by The University of the South Pacific (USP) and is responsible for coordinating its implementation.

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