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Internet-based Youth Forum

ASSESSMENT OF PHASE 2 OF THE INTERNET BASED YOUTH FORUM

Introduction

Schools in ten islands participated in the second phase of the internet based youth forum:

Caribbean - The Bahamas, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, San Andres Archipelago Indian Ocean - Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles Pacific - Cook Islands, Fiji and Palau

The following table shows the logistics regarding student participation in the youth forum.

Island Schools participating in the forum Number of students participating and age range

Caribbean


   
The Bahamas Hope Town Primary School, Abaco 8 students, ages 10-12
Dominica Marigot Secondary School 15 students, ages 13-18
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Four schools involved, only two were active: Bequia Community Secondary School, Bequia Seventh Day Adventist School 30 students, ages 13-16
San Andres  Archipelago Four schools: Cemed, Brooks Hill, Sagrada Familia and Luis Amigo 30 students, ages14-19

Indian Ocean


   
Maldives 3 schools: Madhurasathul Ahmadhiyya, Male; Baa. Atoll Education Centre, B.Eydhafushi; GDh. Education Centre, GDh. Thinadhoo 20 students, ages 13-18
Mauritius Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Form VI College 5 students, ages 16-18
Seychelles Two schools: Anse Royale Secondary School, Praslin Secondary School 20 students, ages 13-16

Pacific


   
Cook Islands Five schools: Nikao Maori Primary School, Avarua Primary School, Nukutere College, Araura College, (Aitutaki) Mangaia School (Mangaia) 100 students,  ages 11-17
Fiji Three schools: Rakiraki Public High School, Rakiraki; Nadi Muslim College, Nadi; Assemblies of God High School, Suva 60 students, ages 12-17
Palau Mindzenty High School 10 students, ages 13-16

Towards the end of phase 2 of the forum, students, teachers and Small Islands Voice national coordinators in the ten islands which participated were invited to undertake a short assessment of the youth forum so as to determine its usefulness and plan future phases. Three short assessment forms were prepared: one for students, one for teachers and one for Small Islands Voice national coordinators. The following table details the manner in which each island assessed the forum.

Island Student assessment Teacher assessment National coordinator assessment Other means

Caribbean

       
The Bahamas  
X
   
Dominica   X    
St. Vincent and the Grenadines X X X  
San Andres Archipelago X X X  

Indian Ocean


       
Maldives X   X  
Mauritius X X    
Seychelles   X X  

Pacific

       
Cook Islands       X (telephone survey)
Fiji   X    
Palau     X  

Main findings of the assessments

Without exception every island wanted to see their involvement in the forum continue. Most importantly, the forum became a catalyst for action, as Seychelles students visited their counterparts in the Maldives and began a project on littering; and as students in Fiji implemented a waste minimization project.

Some comments about accessing the forum and some of the problems were as follows:

  • Schools used computer classes, language classes, social studies, information technology, geography, science, agronomy for discussing articles and preparing responses
  • Some of the schools which also participated in phase 1 mentioned that each year a new group of students is introduced to the forum
  • All of the islands, with the exception of The Bahamas and Mauritius, mentioned problems relating to slow and costly internet connections and out-dated computer equipment
  • Students in Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Palau, successfully used internet cafes for participating in the youth forum
  • Problems arise sometimes with changes in teachers, who do not always follow through with active participation
  • Students are keen to read, but slow to respond and often lose interest near exam time

Some comments about the benefits of the forum were as follows:

  • The forum helps other islands 'come alive' for the students (Hope Town Primary School, Abaco, The Bahamas)
  • The forum facilitates communication with students in other countries and enhances communication and writing skills (Marigot Secondary School, Dominica)
  • I consider it opened their minds to the world because they haven't had the opportunity of going out of the island and living other experiences (Gloria Ramirez, CEMED, San Andres Archipelago)
  • It is a unique experience to share information through an internet based forum (Students from the Maldives)
  • It is simply fantastic to learn about other islands' traditions and to see how those folks are proud of their local traditions and cultures and how they are keen to keep them alive (Students from Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Form VI College, Mauritius)
  • The youth forum inspired an exchange visit with the Maldives (Praslin Secondary School, Seychelles)
  • Students are very interested in knowing where the responses came from (Mangaia School, Cook Islands)
  • Students learnt about differences and similarities in issues and life in the various SIDS. Some students also indicated that participation in the forum improved their understanding of geography (Rakiraki High School, Fiji)
  • Students benefited tremendously through sharing of information, success stories and issues. This led to at least a few environmental projects in the school implemented by the students participating in this project. Their waste minimization project was a big success. (Rakiraki High School Fiji) .

Suggestions for improving the forum were as follows:

  • Students want to see photos of other student participants and would like to see more colours on the website
  • Include more schools and more islands
  • Training workshops would help improve students' participation
  • Inclusion of a message board for quick comments would be useful
  • Student follow-up meeting
  • Certificates of participation from UNESCO would be useful
  • Request for articles and responses to be sent via email (Rakiraki High School, Fiji)
 

To get involved, contact :

 

Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
csi1@unesco.org
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08
 

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