USP SOEd meeting with SI Education officials, a success
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Professor Govinda Lingam, (middle, back); Dr Greg Burnett (back, 2nd from left) & Ms Vinata Sharma (front, far left) with administrators and staff of secondary schools in Honiara. Accompanying the Laucala team for this talanoa was Dr Patricia Rodie, USP Director, Solomon Islands. (standing, far right)
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Education (SOEd) held a talanoa session with school principals and their deputies, and staff and Ministry of Education officials in Honiara, Solomon Islands on 9-13 October.
To ensure a better practicum experience in Solomon Islands, Professor Govinda Lingam, the Head of SOEd was joined by Dr Greg Burnett, The ED300 Practicum Course Coordinator and Ms Vinata Sharma, The Practicum Officer.
In a session with the heads of schools and staff, Dr Burnett highlighted the importance of such consultations in order to get the views of an important stakeholder in the practicum partnership.
“There is a need to make the relationship between the Teacher Education provider (USP) with the school much stronger which will then assist both schools and SOEd at USP better prepare the students for practicum,” he said.
According to Professor Lingam, the SOEd is now reaching out via consultation in the region to strengthen practicum.
Such consultations he stated, enabled the School to see things from a different perspective and to make improvements.
Ms Vinata Sharma was able to add to SOEd’s database of Schools and Ministry of Education contacts.
“Engaging in actual talanoa with key people in Solomon Islands education makes future SOEd contact over school placements for students much easier,” she noted.
Ms Sharma also highlighted how the contacts with Honiara schools provide valuable context to ongoing communications between SOEd at Laucala and schools in the Solomon Islands.
Some of the issues raised in the talanoa sessions included placement of students within the vicinity of Honiara campus for better supervision by the staff. Administrators and mentor teachers were also briefed on their roles as well as the requirements of the practicum so that student teachers have a fruitful experience during their practicum.
In the meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development (MEHRD), Dr Franco Rodie, the Permanent Secretary, mentioned how the quality of practicum experiences provided must equip the teachers for future challenges.
His focus was on how the learning and experience from the practicum translates to teaching later which in turn will transform the education system.
Professor Lingam thanked the Permanent Secretary for availing himself for the meeting and also for the fruitful discussions.
“More of such visitations are planned for the future by the SOEd to further strengthen partnerships with important stakeholders in the region,” he said.
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