Education for Sustainable Development in the Pacific Island Countries

Education for Sustainable Development in the Pacific Island Countries

ER9: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – Capacities of Member States strengthened to integrate ESD into education and learning, and ESD strengthened in the international policy agenda

As the lead agency for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and with strong working relationships with some Pacific Island countries i.e. Fiji, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu, UNESCO has been approached by these countries to provide additional follow up activities to expand and consolidate the work on ESD in the past few years. Among the areas covered included promoting transmission of national languages, traditional knowledge and intangible cultural heritage, and climate change and disaster risk reduction strategies.

UNESCO Apia which serves as the Cluster Office for the Pacific States is responsible for the organization of the activities within the present project. It works closely with the National Commissions for UNESCO and Ministries of Education to implement the activities in each country.

The activities implemented are in accordance with the priorities identified through workshops conducted in the targeted countries.

Key Activities

Through the project, Education for Sustainable Development in the Pacific Island Countries, five national priority projects have been carried out based on the needs of the respective/selected Pacific Island countries.

  • Fiji: Finalized Resource Book on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Using Traditional Knowledge by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts of Fiji and its trial in Year 7-8 classes across 140 Primary Schools. The resource book is expected to assist teachers in teaching students about disaster risk reduction and climate change using local, indigenous/traditional knowledge so that they are able to respond to changes in the environment or when they are faced with natural disasters.
  • Palau: Completion of a Palau Vocabulary and Idiom book aimed at strengthening the ability of Year 9 & 10 students to speak pure Palauan language. The development of this vocabulary book will reinforce correct use of the Palauan language.  This will assist in promoting transmission of the Palauan language and sustain their national identities.
  • Niue: Developed the Numeracy Standards in Vagahau Niuean language. The numeracy standards are currently used by teachers as a guide in the classroom. These standards are seen as a positive step towards achieving the integration of indigenous language into national curriculum which is aligned with the Niue National Strategic Plan as it identifies Niue culture (Taonga Niue) as one of the priority pillars which targets the promotion, preservation and strengthening of Niuean cultural heritage, language, value and identity.
  • Tonga: Completed workshop to train teachers and curriculum staff on integration of ESD elements such as cultural knowledge, healthy lifestyles, sustainable livelihoods and climate change into secondary school curriculum in June 2015. The goal of the workshop was to provide secondary school curriculum writers in Tonga with a better and holistic understanding of the concept of ESD and how it could be integrated into the secondary school curriculum to improve the quality of learning as well as to support Tonga’s vision for sustainable development.
  • Tuvalu: Completed workshop on climate change for primary and secondary school teachers in August 2015. The purpose of the workshop was to support teachers in learning how to use climate change flipcharts and materials which were developed specifically for the Tuvalu context in order to enhance awareness and knowledge on the impact of climate change. UNESCO is planning a follow up workshop, targeting the same group of teachers who attended the workshop in August 2015 while inviting a new group of teachers to be trained on how to effectively use the climate change materials in the classrooms.

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