Educating for the Future Case Studies

Where: Kiribati 

 

Kiribati is a remote Pacific Island state with a small population of 103,000 spread across four groups (districts) of widely dispersed islands. The logistical and communication constraints are significant, with the Line Islands group up to 3,000 kilometres away from South Tarawa, the centre of government. Map of Kiribati, which indicates the logistics and distances involved in providing basic services to the small population across this dispersed country. These geographic and logistical constraints cannot be underestimated. Every aspect of developing and managing the basic education system, from policy implementation, teacher professional development, school monitoring, reporting and communications, providing school supplies and maintaining buildings and equipment is affected by these long distances, timeframes and the expense that servicing remote schools and communities’ entails. Alongside population dispersal, there is the paradox of overcrowding. Around 50% of the population is crowded into the area of South Tarawa, which has the very high population density of 9,434 people/sq. The districts are: northern district, central district, southern district and the Linnix district 6 km. Overcrowding on South Tarawa imposes significant strain on land and social infrastructure including sanitation and drinking water, and — through severe overcrowding and poverty — social cohesion 

 

Case Study 1: High dropout rate at Secondary Schools 

 

Challenge Statement: How might we decrease the amount of Secondary School Dropouts? 

 

“A lot of families do not have any books in their houses, let alone pens and paper.” 

“How might we ensure children continue their education despite technological limitations?” 

 

Lack of Secondary Schools outside of South Tarawa given the geographical dispersal of Kiribati’s constituent islands. This means the children have to leave their home and family (stay with relatives or board) . 

Children failing to pass the Junior Secondary Certificate Examination. Many children leave school early and do not continue their education into senior secondary school. 

Cost Students going to senior secondary school pay fees. This is a huge burden for the child and family and often makes it impossible for the child to continue their education. 

Teaching quality may need improvement as many teachers for not having the minimum training required. 

 

Affects: 

1. High unemployment levels among young people in the country leading to poor income choices.  

2. Teachers have reportedly suggested that many boys shun formal education, preferring instead to collect coconuts for money 

  

References: 

https://www.unicef.org.au/blog/unicef-in-action/may-2020/%E2%80%8Bcoronavirus-how-we-keep-children-learning 

 

https://www.worldsofeducation.org/en/woe_homepage/woe_detail/16768/%E2%80%9Cthe-impact-of-covid-19-on-society-in-the-asia-pacific-region%E2%80%9D-by-masaki-okajima 

Case Study 2: Not enough qualified Teachers 

 

Challenge Statement: How might we increase the number of quality teachers?

 

Teaching quality may need improvement as many teachers for not having the minimum training required.  

Schools in Kiribati have done much to increase the qualification level of all teachers working across their schools. However, with English as the language of instruction for secondary schools in Kiribati there is still a need to continue building capacity in the teaching of English.  Many teachers who are proficient in English may relocate to find better paying jobs in government and the private sector. The shortage of English language teachers significantly impacts the quality of education across the country. 

 

Notes: Limited  teacher  resources  shared  to  many  islands  

 

“how might we educate in regional areas when there is lack of communication infrastructure?” 

 

Education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty that traps so many children. The longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to return. Providing children alternative ways to learn at home including through play, reading and educational radio and TV programmes is a critical part of our response. 

 

Ensure continuity of learning and access to remote learning programs for all children, including the most vulnerable, in case of school closures, including designing and preparing alternative education programmes through online, radio, television and activity kits with teacher support.  

 

Apart from the economic impact of the pandemic, the education sector has been greatly impacted with the closure of schools, resulting in disruption of learning, dismissal of teachers, as well as intensified digital, rural-urban and gender divides. In addition, the teachers have been exposed to tremendous stress to adapt to new platforms, teaching methods and workloads to ensure that students are not lagging. Providing the necessary support and the use of digital tools to ensure that teaching and learning are not affected, the public education system has poor infrastructures, the teachers and students have insufficient access to online platforms, teachers have not been adequately trained in the use of technology, and students – particularly in the rural areas – do not have access to internet in most cases and to computers to some extent. 

 

Case study 3: Improving disease surveillance in the Pacific Islands 

 

Challenge Statement: How might we increase the quality of rural schools to standard of other islands? 

 

Outer island schools are generally disadvantaged because they often have poorer facilities and less qualified teachers. 

 

Due to remoteness it is more difficult for the Ministry of Education to supervise these schools. 

 

Fewer rural students qualify to enter secondary school than in urban schools. This is partly due to outer island children having less fluency in English. 

 

Notes: The Pacific Island countries are believed to have some of the lowest information and communication technology (ICT) penetration rates in the world in terms of Internet and mobile phone connectivity. 

 

The role of communication is vital to safety in these communities by generating public awareness in times of emergency. They face harsh environmental conditions and have limited access to local resources. Furthermore, a lot of the equipment used by regional broadcasters has reached the end of its serviceable life. Moreover, they don’t have the resources to make the transition to digital technologies. Instead, they rely on finding spare parts to replace ageing analogue equipment. As a result, many are struggling to deliver an acceptable signal and keep their stations on air. There is a limited number of trained technicians across the Pacific region. 

 

References: 

 

https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/kiribati-education-improvement-program-2018-independent-evaluation-report.pdf 

 

https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/kiribati-education-improvement-program-phase3-design-doc.pdf 

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ruth_Barnes2/publication/336375333_Situation_Analysis_of_Children_in_Kiribati/links/5d9f016892851cce3c918cf3/Situation-Analysis-of-Children-in-Kiribati.pdf 

 

 

 

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