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Continuing education & tvet: an alternative system at the university of the south pacific

Salanieta Bakalevu & Neelam Narayan

Dr Salanieta Bakalevu Senior Lecturer School of Education Faculty of Arts & Law University of the South Pacific Suva 67 !"!"!7" #office$% 67 !!&'&' #a(h$ )akalevu*s+us,-ac-f.

BACKGR !N" The University of the South Pacific (USP) is one of two regional institutions in the world. The USP region that covers 12 Pacific Island countries Coo Islands! "i#i! $iri%ati! &arshall Islands! 'auru! 'iue! Sa(oa! Solo(on Islands! To elau! Tonga! Tuvalu and )anuatu * traverses a large ocean (ass and five ti(e +ones. The geogra,hical isolation of the s(all island nations together with the shar, infor(ation differential in the region have (ade distance and fle-i%le learning the logical and (ost convenient a,,roach right fro( the %eginning and in this new era. The (a, on the ne-t ,age shows the wide distri%ution of the USP region. The University has ,ioneered distance and fle-i%le learning and teaching since the 1./0s through its 1-tension Services. Since o,ening its doors in 1.23! the University has shown an ongoing! dee, co((it(ent to fulfilling the challenge of ,roviding the %est 4uality of education for the ,eo,le even as the circu(stances of the region continued to change. It has %een an active ,artner in the total develo,(ent of its (e(%er countries and the region in the last forty years. 5ith a total enrol(ent of slightly over 1.!000 students (2003) studying in all 12 countries the University of the South Pacific is the ,re(ier ,rovider of 4uality tertiary education in the region.
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This ,a,er will discuss the syste(s of o,en schooling that e-ists at the USP. 6 co(%ined syste( of the co(,le(entary and alternative for(s of o,en schooling (7aniel and "erreira! 2003) o,erates through the Continuing and Co((unity 1ducation (CC1) Centre and the College of "oundation Studies (C"S). In different ways the two sections ,rovide an inclusive service %y offering an alternative learning ,athway to various levels of learners who failed to ,rogress through the traditional acade(ic ,athway.

"istance & %le*i+le ,earning -"%,. at the !S$ 8ver the years the 1-tension Services loo ing after 7"9 has grown ,rogressively and %eco(e increasingly integrated into the total o,erations of the University. In 2002 it was rena(ed the 7istance and "le-i%le 9earning Su,,ort Centre (7"9SC) in line with restructuring ,lans for i(,roved services. In a further realign(ent and ,rioriti+ing of its activities in 200/! there was a further na(e change to the Centre for "le-i%le and 7istance 9earning (C"79). Three su%*units that co(e under the C"79: 7istance and "le-i%le 9earning! Continuing 1ducation and Pre* degree Studies. The CC1 Centre and the C"S have since %eco(e inde,endent entities of the University and are now self*funding.

7istance and fle-i%le learning is the core ,edagogical conce,t infor(ing the University;s teaching and learning real( (7"9! 2010). 7"9 courses are designed for inde,endent study. The 7"9 Unit wor s colla%oratively with Schools and 7e,art(ents for the design and develo,(ent of learning (aterials and esta%lishing environ(ents for USP courses using a variety of (odes (<onato! 200=). "ro( the traditional ,rint (aterials of the early years! (ost courses are now designed for a (ulti(edia a,,roach to teaching and learning while so(e courses are totally online. 7"9 course develo,(ent caters for courses at all level of study covering ,re*degree! su%* degree or vocational and degree 4ualifications. The esta%lish(ent of Ca(,uses in all the USP countries and the strengthening of the ,rivate satellite networ USPNet and other co((unications are (a#or develo,(ents that have created greater access and ta en education right to the ,eo,le. The (ainstrea(ing of 7"9 has (eant that what used to %e a se,arate ad(inistration of distance and fle-i%le learning and teaching has now %eco(e integrated with the rest of the University. 7"9 activities are now integrated with the acade(ic activities of the faculties and it is the 7eans and faculty that now drive the 7"9 ,rocess assisted and su,,orted %y C"79 (Chandra! 200.). USP enrol(ents have increased significantly over the years and 7"9 enrol(ents in ,articular have s yroc eted. Indeed there have %een huge increases in ter(s of student nu(%ers! nu(%er of courses and ,rogra(s! and staff nu(%ers and ,rofiles. "or e-a(,le! in the 23 years %etween 1./2 to 200>! there was very significant increase fro( the .0 students enrolled in 12 7"9 courses in 1./2 to the (assive 1=!000 students enrolled in 1=0 7"9 courses in 200> (C"79! 200.). <y 200= over ?00 courses were using a variety of (odes including e*learning and video*%roadcasts (<onato! 200=). The University;s total enrol(ent in 2003 was 1.!1>2 and over si-ty ,ercent (20@) of that nu(%er were students who enrolled as fle-i%le learners. This ,ro,ortion is e-,ected to increase further. ,)%(, NG ,(ARN)NG & &/(& )N $)CS In (any traditional societies of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs)! the learning conte-t for the ,eo,le is life in their ho(es and co((unities. Peo,le learn by living their role*s,ecific tas s and res,onsi%ilities. 5e actively learn and grow into nowledge. &ore i(,ortant! we learn %y ee,ing close to village elders and ,eo,le of 4uality (<a alevu! 200?). They are the re,ositories of traditional nowledge and ,rovide guidance and training. So education in the co((unity is largely ai(ed at continuing the social order and (aintaining the status 4uo (Tha(an! 200?). In the for(al education sense! lifelong learning (999) is %road*%ased! enco(,assing education and training in %oth the for(al and infor(al sectors ()era(u! 2003). It is %road in character! e-tensive in coverage and diverse in content! (ethodology and ,artici,ants ($edrayate! 1../A ??). The (ost co((only understood role of 999 is the ,rovision of alternative education to individuals who have left school and re4uire training for gainful e(,loy(ent. So(e (ay have left without attaining the necessary school*leaving certificates and need so(e %ridging course to fill i(,ortant ga,s and %ring the( u, to standard. 8thers (ay %e already e(,loyed %ut wish to ac4uire new s ills to ee, a%reast with new ti(es! new nowledge and new develo,(ent. In su,,ort of the 1"6 Boals! the (Pacific) "oru( 1ducation &inisters; &eeting ("1d&&) in 2001 had ,laced e(,hasis on s ills develo,(ent in all for(s of education and training. 1"6 Boal ? that referred to Censuring that the learning needs of all young ,eo,le and adults are (et through e4uita%le access to a,,ro,riate learning and life*s ills ,rogra(sD included education for

e(,loya%ility (&aclean! 200.). Teasdale (200.) suggests that lifelong learning services and effective lifelong a,,roaches that e(,hasi+e the develo,(ent of life*s ills and livelihoods can actually wor to strengthen the closer articulation %etween the different levels of education * ,ri(ary and secondary school as well as secondary school! T)1T and the world of wor . 6n i(,ortant thread that needs to %e running through the levels is a dee, grounding in local cultures and a strong sense of identity. 999 ,olicies in PICs are at different stages of develo,(ent and i(,le(entation. 6lready a nu(%er of 999 ,ro#ects and ,rogra(s are %eing underta en %y different grou,s li e 'B8s! Churches and co((unities. The Tutu &arist Training Centre in "i#i and the Waan Aelon in Majel (Canoes of the &arshall Islands) or E56&D ,ro#ect of the &arshall Islands are two of the (ost successful ones (P"S! 200/). They also rese(%le the alternative for( of o,en schooling (7aniel and "erreira! 2003). The &6TU6 ,rogra( at 'a%ua Secondary School in "i#i deserves s,ecial (ention in successfully ,roviding the conventional school curriculu( after hours for out* of*school learners who desire Si-th and Seventh for( 4ualification. The School o,erates the conventional ,rogra( during nor(al school hours and the &6TU6 ,rogra( in the eveningsA %oth ,rogra(s use the sa(e curriculu(! are taught %y the sa(e teachers! and offer the sa(e e-a(inations. The success of the &6TU6 ,rogra( is %est e-e(,lified %y this success story:
Losalini Mawi was named Dux of the School at the Nabua Secondary School Form Seven graduation yesterday. Mrs Mawi, who is five months pregnant with her first child, was on cloud nine after beating over ! Form Seven students for the pri"e. She is a M#$%# &rogram student and was encouraged to continue her education even though she left 'atu Mara (ollege, on La)eba, in *++,. Mrs Mawi could not hold bac) her tears after her name was called. #part from the dux award, the woman from -a)ano, La)eba in Lau, too) out the .istory and /est #ttendance pri"es. Mrs Mawi won the hearts of students, teachers and parents present when husband $imoci Mawi was as)ed to present her .istory pri"e. $he couple received accolades after Mr Mawi gave Losalini a pec) on her chee). #ge is no barrier to education, says Losalini Mawi.

0$his is another chapter of my life and 1 am proud that 1 am able to achieve the dux pri"e of the school. 1t never occurred in my dreams that 1 would reach Form Seven and even complete it. $he Fi2i Form Seven 3xamination is only days away and 1 am confident that 1 will do well. 1 left school in *++, after failing my Form Six exam and 1 settled down in the village and found a husband. /ut an uncle of mine, Mala)ai $adulala, came over to the village and told me there was a program where 1 could sit my sixth form exam again. 4e had to leave the island and come to Suv.a 1n 5!! 1 enrolled as a Matua &rogram student to do Form Six. 1 passed my Form Six exam and was last year enrolled as a seventh former. 1 did well, but 1 )new that 1 could have done much better, so this year 1 am giving it another try,0 Mrs Mawi said she could not have as)ed for a better husband. 0.e has been behind me and is the one who is paying for all my education expenses.

(Source: "i#i Ti(es! 'ove(%er 2 200/A ,age 2)

The 1ducation &inisters "oru( on non*for(al education asserted that 999 Ehas the ,otential to ,rovide a ,roactive learning a,,roach as a system, process and setting and %eco(e a dyna(ic force for change in the PacificD (P"S! 200/). They have called for a holistic a,,roach to strengthen ,olicy and resource ,rovisions! esta%lish constructive lin s %etween all syste(s! develo, curriculu( (aterials! co*ordinate ca,acity %uilding and ,ut in ,lace 4uality control (easures. S,ea ing at a regional T)1T wor sho, in Palau! U'1SC8 consultant Fu,ert &aclean (200.) shared the U'1SC8 view of education as the ey to develo,(ent! and T)1T as Ethe educational (aster ey that o,ens a door for any country struggling to surviveD (,. 2?). It is the ey E%ecause it facilitates s ills develo,(ent and e(,loya%ilityD. EIf T)1T training is availa%le to all who re4uire it! there will %e a reduction in ,overty! a (ove(ent towards e4uity and fairness! and disadvantage will di(inishD! &aclean added.

T)1T educational ,rovisions are co(,rehensive and include a,,renticeshi, training! technical vocational education! occu,ational education! vocational education and training! career and technical education! and continuing vocational education and training. &aclean called for the co((unity to %e convinced of the i(,ortance of T)1T as a ,rovider of life s ills for e(,loy(ent and citi+enshi,! initiative and self*sufficiency! and self e(,loy(ent.

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% % !N"A&) N S&!")(S -C%S.0 !S$

The C"S that was initially called the Pre*degree Studies Unit is a ,roactive for( of continuing education. It functions li e a senior secondary school in ,re,aring students for University study at the USP as well as other tertiary institutions locally and a%road. Its two (ain ,rogra(s of study are: (i) the Preli(inary Studies which is the e4uivalent of the Si-th for(! and (ii) the "oundation Studies that is e4uivalent to the Seventh "or( Certificate. The services of the C"S are not li(ited only to Csuccessful; school leavers %ut also school*age learners who have not %een successful at "or( 2 and "or( / and re4uire %ridging in a select nu(%er of courses to %ring the( u, to ,ar. In addition! (ature*age learners wanting university entrance 4ualifications can enroll in the sa(e ,rogra(s. To %e (ore accessi%le to the region! the C"S uses effective delivery through (i-ed (odes. Its tutors are su%#ect s,ecialists who develo, course (aterials and su,,ort students through the nor(al 7"9 syste( of the University. Staff wor closely and (aintains close dialogue with school authorities in the region. 6 new di(ension of the C"S that is %eing trialed is the franchise of its ,rogra(s to secondary schools that ,refer a closer align(ent to University studies. C N&)N!)NG & C ##!N)&1 ("!CA&) N -CC(. C(N&R(0 !S$ &he (ission of the CC1 is to Edeliver e-cellence in Continuing and Co((unity education that e(,owers and ena%les individuals and co((unities in the region to %e a%le to sustain the(selvesD (FCC1! 200.). The Centre is an i(,ortant catalyst for change and acts as a %ridge %etween the University and the co((unity. The CC1;s role in facilitating the transition to tertiary study in the for( of ,re*degree studies and ,rogra(s is a ,articular strength. The CC1 Centres in the regional ca(,uses offer a wide variety of courses and ,rogra(s that focus on life s ills and wor *related content. 5ith fle-i%ility and o,enness in ter(s of course duration! re4uire(ent and study ti(es the CC1 courses are very a,,ealing. Benerally the duration of CC1 courses varies fro( 10 to ?2 hours of teaching s,read over a nu(%er of wee s. Courses cover a wide array of su%#ects such as co(,uter s ills! languages! %oo ee,ing! (athe(atics! %usiness studies! econo(ics! creative writing! co((unity develo,(ent s ills! literature! handicrafts! floral arts! fa%ric arts! woodcarving! fine arts! carving! ,oetry! (usic! video ,roduction! leadershi, s ills! health studies! ,u%lic teaching! ,ro%le( solving and general literacy s ills. The courses can %e classified under four (a#or ty,es: (i) Co((unity ICT CoursesA (ii) <usiness CoursesA (iii) Co((unity 9ivelihood CoursesA and (iv) <asic Pre,aratory Courses. The courses offered at the different Ca(,uses vary de,ending on ,riority needs of the ,eo,le. So(e courses li e the <isla(a language courses in )anuatu are s,ecific to that country while others li e the very ,o,ular IT courses are easily re,licated fro( one ca(,us to another. There is no denying the a,,eal of CC1 courses to students and adults of all ages and status. 6 cou,le of stories are ,rovided. Basic #echanics Course at the &onga Campus

In 7ece(%er 200/! the Tonga Ca(,us hired a lecturer of the Tonga &ariti(e Polytechnic Institute (T&PI) to run a 2 wee s <asic &echanics Course for drivers and vehicle owners. In the two wee s! students were ta en through five two*hour sessions of %asic vehicle (aintenance and care. The course was a resounding success and received ,ositive feed%ac fro( the thirteen ha,,y clients who ,reviously relied on others for the service.
61 am going to be a better driver and vehicle owner. 1 now )now something about minimi"ing oil and fuel consumption that 1 didn7t )now before8, a happy participant said.

Caregiving Course at ,autoka Campus0 %i2i The 9auto a Ca(,us in western "i#i %egan this course in 200/. 6 large nu(%er of (en and wo(en fro( "i#i and other PICs wor overseas as caregivers and re(ittances are an i(,ortant source of inco(e. 5hile for (any graduates the Certificate has %een the ste,,ing stone to e(,loy(ent! others li e Ilisa,eci have found another use for it closer to ho(e. Fead her story.
1lisapeci was luc)y to have wal)ed into a ready9made hotel 2ob after leaving school. .owever, when she got married and had her first child the young mother had to leave wor) to loo) after her new family. 1 as)ed 1lisapeci about the 6(aregiving (ourse8 that she too) in 5!!,. 6My children are big now and 1 have been thin)ing of getting bac) to wor) but it is not easy because 1 did not train after leaving school. $hen someone told me about the (aregiving course. $he person said that what 1 learn could be my passport to a caregiving 2ob overseas, maybe #merica or #ustralia so 1 enrolled8, she said. 1lisapeci then shared how her feelings and priorities changed during the course : to forget about employment overseas and focus on an urgent need at home. 6$he lectures and discussion were very useful and 1 )ept thin)ing about my aged mother9in9 law. 3verything the lecturer shared fitted my situation exactly : that caring for her had been stressful and very difficult. 1 began to understand why it is difficult to ta)e care of old people without proper )nowledge and s)ills. 1 did my ;9wee)s practical attachment here at home and the tutor came to assess how 1 too) care of my mother9in9law who is bedridden. 1 have shared my )nowledge and s)ills to women in the village and other 4omen7s groups. Maybe 1 will go overseas later. 'ight now 1 am happy that the course has made me a better wife, daughter and mother 6, 1lisapeci said.

'oticulture0 %lo3er Arrangement0 %ish %arming 4

Dipti Mala attended one of the country7s top secondary schools and aced the Fi2i Seventh Form examination in *++<. She enrolled in the %S&7s /Sc programme the following year as a private student. %nfortunately financial difficulties forced her to abandon studies and see) employment. Dipti has wor)ed as a law cler) since 5!!!. She is married and has a daughter. # )een learner, Dipti has developed a li)ing for short courses that teach life s)ills. $o9date, Dipti has the following ((3 courses to her credit= >i? Stages *9@ in Flower #rrangement >ii? 1$ (ourse in Databases, 4eb design, and Araphic design >iii? Stages * B5 Landscaping >iv? Stages * B 5 in Nursery Management >v? Fish farming >vi? Stages * B 5 Floriculture 1 as)ed Dipti two Cuestions= why she needed to do so many courses, and why she has not gone bac) to complete her degree. $his is her answer= 61 am very happy in my 2ob. 1 am still )een to study but not the long period of boo)wor) study. 1 tried to do law in 5!!@ but after 5 units 1 gave up because 1 needed to spend time with my daughter. $he Saturday classes are better because that is my free day and 1 can do what 1 want. $he short classes give Cuic) results and that is nice. 1 love flowers and horticulture : 1 use my flower arrangement s)ills for church and family functions. 1 can see a future in that. $he computer s)ills are useful in my wor). $echnology is changing fast and 1 need to be confident with 1$. 1 will continue to learn the latest in 1$. 3verything 1 learn 1 put into practice : that is the learning 1 prefer. #nd 1 have some ideas for setting up a fish farm maybe later on.8 Dipti is not doneD this year she intends to enroll in the (ertificate in 3(3 6to help me be a better mother to my daughter8, she said. #t a time when the lowering of compulsory retirement age has caught many people unprepared, Dipti recommends the short life9s)ill courses of the ((3 (entre and multi9 )illing as the way to go.


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The newly restructured Fegional Continuing and Co((unity 1ducation (FCC1) Centre at the (ain 9aucala Ca(,us in Suva also coordinates regional non*credit Certificate Progra(s fro( ti(e to ti(e through distance and fle-i%le learning. These are the Certificate in 1arly Childhood 1ducation (C1C1)! the Certificate in 7isa%ility Studies (C7IS)! the Co((unity 5or ers; Certificate (C5C) and the <asic Pre,aratory Progra( which are acce,ted %y e(,loyers and tertiary institutions. &ini(u( entry re4uire(ent for all four ,rogra(s is a "or( > (Gear 10) level of education. 1ach ,rogra( co(,rises three full*se(ester courses that students can co(,lete in ? se(esters. Currently only the C1C1 ,rogra( is still %eing offered. There continues to %e a %ig de(and for it in light of 1arly Childhood 1ducation now for(ali+ed as the first stage of school learning syste(s. There are ,rovisions for graduates of the C1C1 to ,roceed to the for(al 7i,lo(a in 1C1 and the <17 (1C1) In*Service ,rogra(s at the School of 1ducation. This clear way forward is a %ig factor in the success of the C1C1. The Certificate in 7isa%ility Studies (C7S) has not received the sa(e level of enthusias(. The current feeling is that C(ainstrea(ing disa%ilities; (eans that disa%ility studies should %e ,art of the training of all teachers and not confined to a se,arate grou, of s,ecialist ,ractitioners. The future of this ,rogra( and other disa%ility ,rogra(s see( uncertain. 'evertheless (any leading ,ractitioners of early childhood education and disa%ility care throughout the PICs are graduates of the CC1 Centre and had trained through the C1C1 and C7S ,rogra(s. The ne-t stories co(e fro( three graduates. Certificate in (arly Childhood (ducation -C(C(.
John Keniwaia & Laiza Rodi Keniwaia (Solomon Islands)
John Keniwaia runs the 3arly (hildhood 3ducation (onsultancy #gency in .oniara, Solomon 1slands. .e employs two teachers who wor) with him to offer a variety of services that include general consultation and awareness programs. .e also runs a )indergarten in the complex. 4here he is today is a far cry from the young man from Malaita &rovince who was forced to leave school in *+,5 because of family problems. .e was in Form 5 at the time. 6#fter leaving school 1 stayed home to help loo) after my brothers and sisters. $hen 1 wor)ed as a cler) for the (ouncil of (hiefs in my province of Malaita, ta)ing minutes and writing reports for them. 1 also applied to the Malaita 3ducation /oard and in *++@ they gave me a teaching 2ob. $hey gave me a three9year contract to teach (lass Ene in a local primary school8. 1 as)ed Fohn what and how he taught without formal teacher training. .is reply was, 61 2ust relied on memories of my own learning in (lass *, li)e * G * H 5.8 4hen that teaching contract expired he left for the capital .oniara, in search of stable employment. 1n *++<, while wor)ing as a waiter in a hotel he learned about the %S& and was elated that with his bac)ground he could actually enroll in a university program.

61 chose the &re9School (ertificate that was offered by %S& and completed it in *++,. 1 li)e 3(3 because it was new and different. #lso, 1 had helped ta)e care of my brothers and sisters before and it was EI. 1 felt confident about my future8, Fohn said. Fohn became 3(3 teacher at a local public school. 61 was happy to be a trained teacher8, he said. #ssured that his career was established, Fohn enrolled into S1(.37s (ertificate in 3(3 in *+++ and completed it in 5!!!. Fohn Ieniwa7ia has not loo)ed bac) since and is now established as a leading 3(3 educator and consultant in the Solomon 1slands. #long the way he met his wife, Lai"a 'odi, herself an 3(3 educator. $hey share the same passion. Laiza Rodi Keniwaia spent the most part of her early years wor)ing with the Sisters of the #nglican (hurch. 1n *++< this young woman from Auadalcanal &rovince enrolled into the &reschool (ertificate being offered by the %S&7s (ontinuing 3ducation (entre. 4ith the (ertificate in the bag, Li"a 'odi began a career in early childhood education. Li)e her husband Fohn, she never loo)ed bac) after that. 61n *++, S1(.3 started enrolments and 1 wanted to go further in my career so 1 enrolled for the (ertificate in 3(3, which 1 completed in 5!!!. 1 continued to teach in 3(3 and created awareness among other colleagues. 1t was still a new area and not many people )new about it8, Lai"a said. 1n 5!!; the Ministry of 3ducation appointed her as (oordinator for 3(3 for Auadalcanal &rovince, the position she still holds today. Mrs Ieniwa7ia intends to ta)e further studies with the %niversity in 5!*!.

The e-,eriences of the hus%and*and*wife tea( of Hohn and 9ai+a $eniwa;ia testify to the realities of education in the Pacific region and the way CC1 de*(ystifies the ,erce,tion of a university. Certificate in "isa+ility Studies -C"C.
Etonia Waqa, Fiji
4hen 3tonia 4aCa began sixth form at secondary school, he had his sight on big things. $he common belief was that once you get to Form J you are safeK $he reality though is the very opposite : every year the highest number of failures, for Fi2ian students anyway, is recorded in the Fi2i School Leaving (ertificate >FSL(? that students sit at the sixth form. 3tonia left school in *++, with no clear plans for the future. 3tonia7s real brea) did not come until three years later. 1n 5!!5 someone introduced the young man to .ilton Special School in Suva. .is first day at the school changed his life.


61 was struc) by the different disabilities. $hey affected me and 1 wanted to help8. Straightaway 3tonia began attending evening classes in Sign Language at the school, and one thing led to another. 1n 5!!@ 3tonia 4aCa enrolled into the ((3 (entre7s (ertificate in Disability Studies. 61 did not thin) 1 can get into %S& because 1 failed FSL( in Form J. Enly the students who pass FSL( can get to %niversity. 1 was happy about my study because it is new in Fi2i. 1 )now of people with disability in my village and 1 wanted to help them8. 3tonia was in awe of his new )nowledge. .e had found his vocation. 3tonia was on top of the world when he graduated from %S& in 5!!;. $he following year hea went for &racticum at the Fi2i -ocational $raining (entre for &eople with Disabilities. .e impressed them so much that they offered him his fulltime position. .e is still there today and en2oying it. 61 have met different people in this 2ob. 1 have toured all over Fi2i. 1 have visited some overseas countries. 1 cannot believe this is possible because 1 failed Form J8. 3tonia is still learning on the 2ob and intends to pursue further studies soon.

It is students who (a e the ,rogra(s. The stories in this ,a,er are only si- of the several thousand voices who have %enefitted fro( 999 courses and ,rogra(s that offered the( a lifeline. The realities that these graduates e-,ress reflect %oth the conflicts and ho,es that they and (any others e-,erience. <y listening to what they say we have an o,,ortunity to change a stalled syste( that wor s only (oderately well for (any students and not at all for so(e. The conversations are intended to sti(ulate thin ing and (ove us toward ,ositive action. C NC,!S) N: R(&')NK)NG ,)%(, NG ,(ARN)NG & &/(& )N $)CS 7ro,outs are %eco(ing a star reality of our school syste(s and schools have li(ited resources to cater for the(. The nu(%ers are increasing and the faces are getting younger. The reasons for this are (any: (i) There are far (ore ,ri(ary school*leavers than availa%le ,laces in secondary schools so the dro,outs are getting youngerA (ii) 8,,ortunities ,reviously availa%le to students to re,eat a class in order to ,re,are %etter for the ne-t level u, are di(inishing fastA (iii) 'ational ,olicies for co(,ulsory education are (ore concerned with ee,ing students in school and off the streets for a few (ore years without clear ,rovisions to ensure useful! worthwhile learning that will ,rovide for ,ractical living after school. "ortunately hel, is availa%le to the region in (any for(s. Strengthening T)1T activities! innovative ca,acity %uilding of teachers and develo,ing o,en educational resources are ,roactive starters. Fesearch has shown that students involved in T)1T courses at secondary level have far lower dro,*out and re,eater rates than students in the ,ure acade(ic strea(s (&aclean! 200.A ?=).


Iowever! instead of si(,ly focusing on curriculu( choice &aclean suggests a total curriculu( refor( that includes a refor( of teacher education. It is true that Egood schools re4uire good teachersD (7elors! 1..2). The need now is for innovative teacher training that integrates the areas of (aterial develo,(ent! learner su,,ort and the use of ICT (7aniel and "erreira! 2003A 10). T)1T and 8,en schooling have the advantage of %eing less e-,ensive co(,ared to the conventional school syste( (7aniel and "erreira! 2003A &aclean! 200.). 6 T)1T curriculu(
offered through o,en schooling a,,roaches has the ,otential to change a stalled syste( that wor s only (oderately well for (any students and not at all for so(e.

R(%(R(NC(S <a alevu! S. (200?). 5ays of (athe(atising in "i#ian society. In $. I. Tha(an (1d) Educational Ideas from ceania! Suva! I81! USP! 21 /2. <onato! H. (200=) 7istance and "le-i%le Su,,ort Centre (7"9C) Su((ary 6nnual Fe,ort. Chandra! F. (200.). 8,ening 6ddress for the Fegional Ca(,us 7irectors "oru(! 9aucala Ca(,us! 2 6,ril 200.. 7aniel! Sir Hohn and "erreira! ". (2003. &ega*Schools and Technology: 9ifelong 9earning Syste(s for the 21st Century. SA" #ournal of pen Sc$ooling, %III &' ( )*, '+''! $edrayate! 6. (1../). The Conce,tualisation of 'on*"or(al 1ducation. ,irections '-&'*! &aclean! F. (200.). T)1T: issues! concerns and ,ros,ects. In 1. To ai and H. Teasdale (1d). .$e /ole of .%E. in Pacific Secondary Sc$ools! Suva! I81! USP. 1?*?0. &aclean! F. (200.). The i(,ortance of secondary education and T)1T. In 1. To ai and H. Teasdale (1d). .$e /ole of .%E. in Pacific Secondary Sc$ools! Suva! I81! USP. ?1*>0. Teasdale! B. F. (200.). Introduction: new visions! new ,athways. In 1. To ai and H. Teasdale (1d). .$e /ole of .%E. in Pacific Secondary Sc$ools! Suva! I81! USP. 1*12. Tha(an! $. I. (200?). Culture! teaching and learning in 8ceania. In $. I. Tha(an (1d) Educational Ideas from ceania! Suva! I81! USP! ? 12. )era(u! H. (2003). 9ifelong learning ,olicies and ,ractices in the Pacific Islands. In 7orovolo(o et. al. (1d) Pacific Education0 Issues and Perspectives! Suva: USP. 10. 12=. 6US6I7. (2002). Pacific 2020: Challenges and 8,,ortunities f 1cono(ic Browth. Can%erra. C"79 (200.). 6%out C"79. Fetrieved on "e%ruary 1! 2010 fro( UF9: htt,:JJwww.cfdl.us,.ac.f#Jinde-.,h,KidL//23

Pacific "oru( Secretariat. (200/). 'on*for(al 1ducation in Pacific Countries. Fetrieved on "e%ruary 1! 2010 fro( UF9: htt,:JJwww.foru(sec.orgJresourcesJu,loadsJattach(entsJdocu(entsJ"17&& 200/ 'on*"or(al 1ducation in PICs.,df Fegional Centre for Continuing and Co((unity 1ducation (2010). Fetrieved on "e%ruary 1! 2010 fro( UF9: htt,:JJwww.us,.ac.f#Jinde-.,h,KidL3=2/