The Australian and New Zealand governments together with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) have formalised a €12.8 million commitment with the Pacific Community (SPC) towards education in the Pacific region that extends to 2023.
The partnership will directly contribute to the six education outcome areas which have been identified by SPC and its partners as priorities for the Pacific: raising student achievement in literacy and numeracy; improving teachers’ and principals’ accountabilities; benchmarking factors contributing to educational quality; increasing the education system’s capacity to use high quality data; strengthening national accreditation and assessment systems; and providing high quality programmatic technical services and policy advice.
The Australian government has committed €9.8 million ($AUD 15.5 million) for a span of five years and the New Zealand government has committed €2.9 million ($NZD 5 million) for the next three years. The funding, as well as a technical partnership with ACER, puts SPC in a solid position to serve educational needs in the region.
Speaking at the announcement event, SPC Deputy Director General, Dr Audrey Aumua said, “This commitment sets a precedent for regional education collaboration. It provides stability and long-term sustainability in addressing the SPC’s education goals and will make a major contribution to regional and national education priorities.”
“Australia is proud of its long history supporting targeted projects with the Pacific Community’s Education Quality and Assessment Programme. This new partnership extends our current relationship to support work across SPC’s entire education programme, positively contributing to human resource development through increased opportunities, for Pacific Islanders to access high quality education and training,” said the Australian High Commission’s Counsellor-Regional Development Cooperation in Fiji, Mr Gordon Burns.
The New Zealand Aid Programme will also be directly supporting these areas of work. This new partnership extends its support on the first and second cycles of the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) to the wider programmatic work on education.
ACER Chief Executive Prof Geoff Masters AO said, “ACER has a long history of supporting education in the Pacific and is pleased to enter into a technical partnership that is working towards making a longer term impact on the improvement of learning informed by research-based knowledge from the region.”