Archive: UNESCO's Past Activities on Capacity Development and Education for Sustainable Development (i.e. pre-January 2005)

Education problems and challenges in Small Island States are compounded by the three now well known variables-scale, isolation and dependence---examined over two decades ago as part of the preparation and convening of a conference on educational development in Small States organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat in Mauritius in 1985. At the time, the problems were analyzed by the former head of UNESCO’s Regional Office for the Pacific States in papers prepared for the 1985 Mauritius Conference and for the Organization’s educational review «Prospects».

In terms of concrete field activities, early examples of UNESCO work included a joint initiative with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on curriculum development based at the University of the South Pacific from 1969 to 1975. Subsequent educational projects in the other regions, activities included the preparation of distance learning materials for educational planners and policy-makers in the Caribbean, a joint project of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the University of West Indies. Starting in the late 1970, several activities within the UNESCO-UNEP International Environmental Education Programme focused on heightening environmental awareness in Small Island situations.

One 1993 monograph on educational planning for Small Island States, in IIEP’s Fundamentals of Educational Planning series, addressed the triple themes of Small States in a theoretical and historical perspective, implications of small size for educational planning, and strategic reflections. Other IIEP monographs have addressed subjects of special interest to Small-Island management of distance learning systems and national strategies for e-learning in post-secondary education and training (the central thesis of which is that e-learning is bringing about an important shift within the education sector, and is changing the very nature of learning).

Overviews of this and related work were included in two reviews prepared for the Barbados and Mauritius conferences. «Education and the world of Small Island States» was among the chapters of Island Agenda, an overview of past, ongoing and planned activities of UNESCO related to Small Islands prepared for the Barbados Conference of April – May 1994. Ten years later, «Education»again provided one of the chapters in another overview prepared as part of UNESCO’s preparations for the Mauritius International Meeting of January 2005 – Island Agenda 20047: Coping with Change and Sustaining Diversities in Small Islands.

Back to top