Building capacity while collecting important information is a key feature of a sub-regional workshop, involving education ministries from Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu being held in Nadi, Fiji this week. The initiative involves developing an investigative approach to determining attitudes towards data use in Pacific Education by interviewing senior level decision makers and elected officials.
The training involves development of questionnaires, face to face interviews, and online survey tools to extract crucial details from sources. Like any skill, interviewing takes practice and preparation therefore participants have been simulating role play exercises to test out how they might approach difficult situations that may occur in interviews by acting out a scenario with other candidates assuming the role of senior officials in government such as a Minister or Permanent Secretary of Education.
Past experience suggests that technological solutions may help but are not sufficient. Therefore fostering a deeper understanding of how and why data is used involves asking tough questions about some of the largely ignored political economy factors and challenges on the ground in the four countries such as historical, political, technical, capacity or cultural barriers to effective use of data to improve practise and any incentives and motivations around data use for the countries participating in the study.
The study aims to examine and work within these constraints to improving data use and potentially aim to alter the current incentives for both producing and using good education data.
The project is being implemented by the Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Australian Government.
Senior Programme Manager at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Betty Jitoko, said the project was funded by the Australian Government and supported at the national and regional levels. The findings from these interviews then will feed into formulating a set of key indicators of data use which may be used by countries to inform further action and share best practises within the region. These key findings and recommendations will be presented and discussed along with the lessons learned in a summit in November and a final series of reports will be available from December 2017.
Building a Culture of Education Data Use in the Pacific