The Samoa Minister of Education Loau Keneti Sio speaking at the opening of last weeks meeting in Apia
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 03 APRIL 2017: The Pacific Education Ministers are committed to developing Science Technology and Innovation in the region.
Their commitment was the highlight of the two day conference ‘Dialogue on Science / Science Policy for SDG’s in the Pacific SIDS’ in Apia last week.
The Ministers are committed to the “enhancement of Science Technology Education and Mathematics (STEM)” that includes the development of education, “establishing Science advice mechanisms, indigenous knowledge systems and building capacity in Science Technology & Innovation policy areas and research.”
The Apia Ministerial Communiqué also requested UNESCO to facilitate the development and implementation of a comprehensive Roadmap for ST&I Policy and Capacities for the Pacific Island States, in cooperation with the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP).
It also calls on other partner organizations, such as INGSA, while encouraging all Pacific Island States to join the initiatives resulting from this Dialogue, and ensure the organization of periodical Regional Dialogue meetings.
During the two days “Dialogue on Science / Science Policy for SDG’s in the Pacific SIDS”, the leaders voiced their concern over the lack of scientific knowledge and data within their countries.
Their dialogue focused on trying to address the question of “how to do better in the Pacific.”
It also looked at “assessing the needs and options for bridging the gaps between ST&I systems and policy makers in the Pacific, with the focus on the framework of the SDG’s and UNESCO’s SIDS Action Plan.
Countries concern & what they wish to achieve
Each leader highlighted their country’s’ needs and what they want achieved for the purpose of scientific development.
For Vanuatu, the lack of science advice was on top of their wish lists.
Jean Paul Nirua, Vanuatu’s Minister for Education and Training said they only come to realized the importance of scientific data after disaster struck, now the necessity to learn and know more about science is great.
For Nauru, the “disconnection of children aspiration from national needs and the prioritizing of scientific planning is a must.”
Nauru’s Minister for Education, Charmaine Scotty said there is a need to “challenge and encourage scientific training and for ST&I agencies not only to be localized, but to be sustainable.”
Fiji wanted to see more scientific occupations initiatives, and Samoa looks at creating a ST&I policy.
The leaders commended UNESCO’s support and the initiative taken to convene this Dialogue, which constitutes the launching of a regional process towards enhancing the ST&I capacities of Pacific Island Countries towards attaining the SDGs.