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First Untrained Teachers Cohort for Tuvalu Campus

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The First Untrained Teachers Cohort for Tuvalu Campus.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tuvalu Campus recently marked a milestone when the first cohort for Certificate in Teaching (Primary) began with 30 teachers.

Funding for the cohort was negotiated by Dr. Rosiana Lagi, USP Tuvalu campus Director and Mr. Talavai Iona, former Permanent Secretary for Education in an effort to improve teachers’ pedagogy, literacy skills, assessment and curriculum development skills, standards, academic achievements, practice and education in Tuvalu as a whole. 

According to Dr Lagi, the 2015 Education For All Report by UNICEF highlighted these needs, hence this programme offered by USP aims to address them. She noted that some of the teachers in the programme have waited 7-10 years for this opportunity.

Tuvalu has ten primary schools and the government is sponsoring at least 2 teachers from each of these schools and because of the lack of qualified teachers, the Ministry of Education sometimes hand picks a number of Form 7 school leavers to assist in teaching.  These teachers are known as Approved teachers. 

Dr Lagi explained that due to the distance from outer islands and the USP Tuvalu campus including poor internet connection, it was difficult for these teachers to do their programme part-time from their schools. 

“However, organising this cohort to be taught face-to-face during the school holidays and having it funded by the Tuvalu Government made studying for these teachers a possibility,” she added.

According to Ms. Akesa, a teacher who has taught for 3 years without a teaching qualification, the programme has not only helped her improve her teaching skills but her English competency skills as well.

“The skills and knowledge learnt in the 2 courses I have completed so far has boosted my confidence in teaching and motivated me to become a better teacher,” she said.

Mr. Sione Tepaa who has taught for 3 years echoed similar sentiments saying he now understood why students behave the way they do and use appropriate pedagogy to encourage learning’. 
English and Tuvaluan are the official languages in Tuvalu while English is the language of instruction from Year 4.  Despite this, majority of the teachers prefer to teach in the Tuvaluan language and code switch to English when the need arises. 

Dr Lagi stated that the teachers have just completed ED 152 Human Development – A Lifespan Approach and ED 170 Language for Teachers and she is pleased with the changes in the teachers’ behaviour, particularly their ability to teach confidently and competently. 

“During their first Language Teachers’ Refresher Course workshop in August 2017, many of the teachers were shy and not confident to teach a microteaching lesson.  However, after completing the first course, ED 152 they were all confident to not only teach but to teach competently in the English language,” Dr Lagi further explained. 

Another teacher, Mr Uelese Kilifi, said he enjoyed the courses and is looking forward to the next course in May this year.

Dr Lagi is grateful to the Ministry of Education for funding the programme and the teachers have also acknowledged USP Tuvalu campus for availing it.

“It is hoped that the teachers will go back to their classrooms this year and implement some of the pedagogies and skills learnt in the last two and half months,” Dr. Lagi stated. 

She added that she is looking forward to witnessing the changes that will take place in Tuvalu students’, teachers’ performance and education in Tuvalu as a whole.

Mr. Iona, the current Permanent Secretary for Finance said he is happy that the programme has begun and the teachers are doing well in their studies. 

He added that to get them qualified will be beneficial for Tuvalu and hopes that more cohorts will be developed to cater for the needs of the workforce in Tuvalu.

The course is a 2-year part time programme and students are expected to graduate in 2019. 

This news item was published on 27 Feb 2018 12:37:01 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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