The Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) has launched its online learning platform for the Year 13 students who undertake the South Pacific Form Seven Certificate (SPFSC) programme.
The response to the SPFSC e-learning site on Moodle, the world’s most popular online learning platform, has been overwhelming, said EQAP’s curriculum and assessment team leader Mere Vadei, whose team oversees the SPFSC programme.
Teachers in the three island nations that offer the SPFSC programme to their Year 13 students expressed appreciation for the site, which houses all the learning materials for its 14 subjects of study. The materials include subject syllabi, study guides in the form of outcomes-based lesson activities and web links to additional digital resources.
George Willientien, the principal of Vanuatu’s Central School, in an email message to the EQAP team, said they were very thankful for the e-learning site.
The initiative was exactly the kind of support needed for students and teachers, he wrote.
“It is God’s answers to prayers, especially in this time where schools are closing doors due to COVID19 pandemic,” said Mr Willientien. “This learning tool will be very beneficial to our students to continue learning from home.”
Iaka Maimai, another school leader in Vanuatu, said teachers and students were grateful and keen to take advantage of the new learning platform.
“Now that the students are back in school, we will make sure they are registered for this new learning platform before they are sent home again next week to continue learning from home,” wrote Maimai, the acting principal at Tafea College in Port Villa. Teachers spent time last week walking their students through the learning platform.
EQAP had been working on the SPFSC Moodle site from late last year and had initially scheduled the launch for late next month. However, plans were brought forward after schools were forced to close in response to the social distancing measures introduced to curb the transmission of the lethal virus responsible for the COVID19 pandemic.
Mrs Vadei said she envisaged a smooth uptake of the SPFSC Moodle experience because many of the SPFSC teachers would be familiar as most would have studied at universities that use an online learning management system like Moodle.
“For now, EQAP has empowered school principals or SPFSC coordinators to undertake the necessary Moodle familiarisation,” she said. “When the restrictions are lifted, EQAP will consider a training of teachers on the use of Moodle.”
The SPFSC programme has about 1100 students enlisted from Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu. EQAP determined the need to develop the e-learning site late last year as a means of mitigating disruption to school, especially from national disasters like cyclones.
The SPFSC Moodle site means these students will be well supported in their distance learning should they be directed to learn from home. With good internet connectivity, students will be able to continue to access their learning materials and interact with their teachers from home. The Moodle platform was chosen because it is an open source platform that is reliable and well equipped with a comprehensive selection of teaching tools.
Meanwhile, the SPFSC calendar will be amended to accommodate for the disruptions caused by the COVID19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold, which caused severe damage to several SPFSC schools.
The new dates for the finalisation of the internal assessment tasks and the SPFSC examination will be released after individual consultations with the education systems and schools.
The internal assessment tasks, an integral component of the outcomes-based programme, remain a requirement for students. Schools have been asked to amend tasks that initially required group work or field visits so that students and teachers continue to adhere to the COVID-19 social distancing measures.