PRESS RELEASE - Port Moresby, 12th October 2010 - The children of the Pacific region must be the ultimate and primary beneficiary of whatever regional and national efforts to deliver quality education and training services.

Speaking during the opening of the 8th Forum Education Ministers' Meeting in Port Moresby today, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Feleti Teo said the education ministers will over the next two days consider an implementation strategy for the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF). The PEDF was adopted by the Forum Education Ministers at their meeting in Tonga last year after the review of the Forum Basic Education Action Plan.

"The Framework's underpinning philosophy is to nurture, develop and prepare all children in the region to be able to live life to the full, participating effectively in national development, maintaining their traditional and cultural identities and be able to live sustainably with the impacts of globalization," said Mr Teo.

He added: "The implementation strategy for the Framework is critical in coordinating regional efforts to supporting national efforts in the area of education development."

"The key is coordination. There must be effective coordination of the development resources of national governments and those provided by development partners to minimize the risk of duplication of efforts and wastage of resources," said Forum Secretariat Deputy Secretary General Mr Teo.

"And I am pleased to advise that the document that will be presented to the Forum Education Ministers outlining the approaches to the implementation of the Education Framework was developed in broad consultation with member countries and with many stakeholders with vested interest in education development."

Mr Teo emphasised: "But whatever regional framework or regional initiatives in the education sector, the test of their success can only be gauged if those regional initiatives can be translated into practical and tangible benefits at the national level."

"The children must be the ultimate and primary beneficiary of these regional and national efforts to deliver quality education and training services. For they are the leaders of tomorrow and investing in education is investing in the quality of the leadership of tomorrow."

Mr Teo concluded: "And it is through sustainable quality education development, that the region may aspire to fulfill the vision of Pacific Leaders under the Pacific Plan for a region of peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity, so that all of its people can lead free and worthwhile lives."

Besides the strategy for implementing the Pacific Education Development Framework, the 8th Forum Education Ministers' Meeting with the theme of "Sustaining Pacific Education through Regionalism" will also discuss other issues such as how to improve teacher competencies and effectiveness in the region, the development and implementation of the Pacific Teacher Professional Standards and a strategy for fast-tracking the training of untrained teachers in the region.

The Ministers will consider extending distance learning to schools through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), discuss a proposed strategy to strengthen education planning in the region, benchmarking education quality for results in the Pacific as well as introducing the concept of Open Schooling.

In addition Ministers will discuss ICT in education, a progress report on assessing and monitoring literacy, numeracy and life skills in the region, the role of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) in the implementation of the Pacific Education Development Framework, the Pacific Culture and Education Strategy 2010 - 2015 and the Regional Strategy for Disability.