PRESS RELEASE - 10th October 2010 - Port Moresby, 10th October 2010 - The Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) captures the major challenges in education in the region and provides strategies to consider in order to address these challenges.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Deputy Secretary General, Feleti Teo said this while briefing the media in Port Moresby today on issues that will be considered at the 8th Forum Education Ministers Meeting which will be held in the PNG capital 13 - 14 October. The theme of this year's meeting is: "Sustaining Pacific Education through Regionalism."

"The Forum Education Ministers Meeting in Tonga last year was significant as the Ministers adopted a new education development framework to replace the Forum Basic Education Action Plan (FBEAP) which has been the driving force behind regional efforts in education development in the Forum member countries since its endorsement at the Education Ministers' first meeting in 2001," said Mr Teo.

The implementation of the FBEAP was done through the Pacific Regional Initiative for the Development of basic Education (PRIDE) which will end this year.

"The new approach that will now be taken in terms of implementing the Pacific Education Development Framework will be to provide greater support to country level efforts. It is expected that regional and international agencies in the region will strengthen their partnerships in supporting education systems in the region with financial support from the development partners," said Mr Teo.

He added: "Regional initiatives are being considered to provide support to countries in areas where country level capacities are inadequate or do not exist. It is this type of partnership that will be the main modality for implementing the PEDF and consultations with development partners have been ongoing in this respect."

The Forum Education Ministers will deliberate on a draft strategy for the implementation of the Pacific Education Development Framework during their meeting this week.

The Ministers will also consider the decision of the Forum Leaders in Port Vila, Vanuatu this year, and their support towards the continued development of literacy and numeracy in the region.

"As literacy and numeracy lay the foundation to learning, children of the region must acquire the levels of literacy and numeracy that will ensure their success in their education," said Feleti Teo, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Another important issue during the meeting will be the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in improving access and education service delivery to isolated and remote communities.

"It is believed that ICT development in the region has reached a stage where it has the potential to reach out effectively to schools in the isolated and remote areas of the region," said Mr Teo.

The meeting of Forum Education Ministers will decide on important development initiatives in regional education that should see national education systems moving towards achieving their national as well as the international goals in education.

Before the meeting is officially opened on Tuesday 12th October, the host of the meeting, the Papua New Guinea government will take the Ministers to the city of Madang to showcase the various educational institutions the country can offer to students in the Pacific region. This includes the Madang Teachers College, the PNG Maritime College and the Divine Word University.

The 8th Forum Education Ministers' Meeting will be also be attended by representatives of other organizations delivering educational services in the region including the Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC),the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment (SPBEA),University of the South Pacific (USP), AusAID, NZAid, the European Union, UNDP,UNESCO,UNICEF, the World Bank and the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC).