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Pacific Heads of Education systems meeting outcome

The Government of Fiji hosted the 22nd Pacific Heads of Education Systems Meeting held in Nadi from 11 – 12 October, 2017. Representatives from 15 Pacific Island countries attended the two-day meeting. 

The regional meeting is an important precursor to the meeting of the Forum of Education Ministers Meeting, which is to be held next year.

The Pacific Forum Leaders have recognised the need for greater relevance in the school curriculum by matching students’ skills acquired through the formal education system to the actual needs of the work place.

The need to meet this demand prompted the Forum Education Ministers to meet and support the Forum Economic Ministers to work together and more closely align students’ skills with the human resources needed to promote economic development and reform.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations General Assembly and adopted by countries on 25 September 2015, have provided new regional and global policy and directions which impact on education both in terms of national and regional education plans at all levels.

The goal of SDG 4 is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”. It is as a result of this, and the commitment of the Incheon Declaration on the Education 2030 agenda, that the Pacific Education Development Framework is being reviewed and will be reformed as a new Regional Education Framework (REF).

In regional fora the Ministers of Education have recognised the importance of revisiting and realigning goals for education to support education systems to meet the needs of the Pacific post 2015. These included the need to emphasise the following issues as key Pacific priorities in terms of education:

Education is central to sustainable development and is a standalone SDG in the post 2015 agenda,

The new SDG on education includes access to secondary and tertiary level of education,

And there needs to be an emphasis on skills development through TVET and Non Formal Education.

The Pacific Education Development Framework has been reviewed with the aim of evaluating how successful the framework had been in providing evidence against which to plan appropriate education programmes.

 This highlighted the need to have effective monitoring and evaluation systems in place and highlighted the many gaps in the data collected.

There are still challenges in terms of access to education and equity particularly from secondary school upwards and substantial support is still needed for data collection, both nationally and regionally to provide accurate information on which to make evidence based decisions.

The meeting discussed some very important regional educational issues, especially in regard to the quality and relevance of education, such as student learning achievement, skills development and pathways, and teacher development.

The main outcomes from the meeting were:

The review of the Pacific Education Development Framework and its recommendations are to be considered in the development of the new regional framework,

The purpose, drivers and structure of the new Regional Education Framework were discussed and mapped to the SDG 4 targets,

There is a need to integrate into the national education sector plans the SDG 4 and regional education framework indicators for reporting at national and regional levels.

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