Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
Human and institutional capacities
Priority 1: Enhancing island capacities to achieve sustainable development through education and the reinforcement of human and institutional capacities
As highlighted in the SAMOA Pathway, the focus on quality education is essential to achieve sustainable development in SIDS. Reflection and action that is innovative and transformative requires a better understanding, in contexts specific to SIDS, of the complex interplay between the social, cultural, political, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
Four priority areas in education are particularly relevant to address sustainable development in SIDS:
- Policy development;
- Education for sustainable development (ESD);
- Teacher education and professional development;
- Technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
Policy development, including equity measures
To enhance national policy and legal frameworks for lifelong learning opportunities relevant to sustainable development, and with consideration to equal learning opportunities for boys and girls, men and women, including gender-responsive measures against early-school leaving where appropriate.
- Provide technical support to SIDS to enhance policy and legal frameworks for lifelong learning for sustainable development.
- Support the development of flexible learning strategies including curricula, for formal, non-formal and informal learning pathways targeting the most marginalized populations, by building on existing promising practices and indigenous knowledge.
- Provide technical support to Member States to develop innovative curriculum, with a career and workforce readiness perspective, that promotes critical thinking, communication and literacy skills.
- SIDS national capacities were strengthened to develop and implement policies and plans within a lifelong learning framework.
- A policy review was completed in Saint Kitts and Nevis and another policy review for Bahamas was launched.
- Support was provided to Haiti for the design and implementation of the Educational Management Information Systems (EMIS).
- UNESCO has been supporting SIDS to develop national ICT in education policies and master plans through organizing national workshops followed by technical advices on the finalization of the polices, with Fiji, Jamaica, Mauritius, and Seychelles benefiting from the supports recently and having developed their policies and master plans. The ICT in Education Policy of Jamaica has been approved by the government. With support from UNESCO, the Government of Jamaica customized UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teacher (ICT-CFT) in 2016 and plans to apply it in local teacher institutions.
Integrate education for sustainable development (ESD) in formal and non-formal education
To improve the quality and relevance of education in SIDS so that every learner acquires the knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies and values required for addressing both global and local contextual challenges of the present and future to contribute to sustainable development.
- Support SIDS in implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD, the follow-up to the UN Decade of ESD. Ensure that SIDS are a key part of the global community of practice through which UNESCO facilitates the implementation of the GAP, including through exchange of experiences and knowledge transfer on ESD.
- Strengthen the capacities of SIDS Member States to integrate Disaster Risk Education and Climate Change Education into education policies, plans and programmes.
- UNESCO supported SIDS in implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), the follow-up to the United Nations Decade of ESD: 250 ASPnet schools from 25 countries including three SIDS (Dominican Republic, Cabo Verde and Haiti) participated in developing and implementing ESD whole-school action plans with a particular focus on climate change.
- UNESCO held an international training of trainers on the whole-institution approach to climate change (21-23 November 2016, Dakar, Senegal) for 40 national project coordinators and school facilitators. A second training took place in March 2017.
- Teacher education institutions from Mauritius participated in a capacity-building programme to integrate ESD in their pre- and in-service training at secondary school level.
- Youth from 10 SIDS were identified to participate in a training programme on ESD Youth Leadership. Several SIDS will be involved in capacity-building session to integrate ESD and SDGs at local level.
Teacher education and professional development
To support human and institutional capacity development to ensure equitable, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities in SIDS.
- Provide technical support to SIDS to reinforce teacher education and professional development to promote equity, inclusion and enabling learning environments.
- UNESCO supported Cuba and the Dominican Republic to assess and review their teacher standards on the basis of UNESCO’s Regional Strategy on Teachers. This resulted in a set of recommendations for decision-makers, which are being adapted and contextualized to the national educational environment in both countries.
- UNESCO delivered support on teacher education in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with the aim to increase the number of teachers with teaching qualifications. Within two years, a number of training workshops on professional standards and competency frameworks, as well as in-service teacher training has supported the work of teachers, principals, and education officials.
Transforming and marketing of technical and vocational education and training (TVET)
To promote TVET and lifelong learning opportunities for all women and men, aligned with labour market needs and to facilitate mobility.
- Support the transformation of TVET in SIDS, through promoting TVET policy review and development, inter-ministerial and inter-sectoral policy dialogue, capacity-building, networking and partnerships based on the principles of inclusion, gender equality and sustainability, to support youth transitions and an integrated approach to lifelong learning.
- Encourage the promotion of TVET to key stakeholders, including through marketing, as a means of supporting youth transitions and enhancing socioeconomic mobility in the context of the increasingly service-oriented economies of SIDS, and as a central vehicle for sustainable development.
- Promote regional and international recognition and accreditation of local TVET qualifications and facilitate knowledge-sharing through enhanced regional and inter-agency cooperation, including through the Third Conference on TVET in the Caribbean and its follow-up and by mobilizing the SIDS Partnership on ‘Improving transitions from school to work through engaging youth in policy dialogue’.
- Saint Lucia developed a new TVET policy. This was informed by a TVET policy review, conducted with the support of UNESCO published in February 2017.
- Through UNESCO-UNEVOC, a flagship TVET Leadership Programme was put into practice to support a better understanding and institutional policy implementation of the 2030 sustainable development agenda, in particular SDG4 and in line with the UNESCO Strategy for TVET (2016-2021). Twenty-two mid-level to senior TVET leaders from 19 countries, including Barbados, Fiji and Jamaica, were trained. The programme enhanced participants’ leadership and managerial capacities.
- Five UNEVOC Centres were engaged in implementing capacity development programmes for TVET leaders, teachers and trainers in all three priority areas of the TVET Strategy. Four of these programmes have been fully implemented and 83 teachers and trainers were trained in Asia and the Pacific, including from Fiji and Kiribati.