Mainstreaming of gender and equity in education policy and programme development
Solomon Islands is a small Island state of approximately 1,000 Islands in the South West Pacific. A scattered population of 728,000 speaking 85 vernaculars live a mostly subsistence lifestyle. Many communities live without electricity or reliable telecommunications, and few have passable roads.
There are multiple issues of access, quality, resources, and relevance facing the education system in the country. Literacy levels in and out of school are low, and only a fifth of students complete secondary school. Our OC1 research work on home schooling, language and early years education, and our Spotlight reports on alignment with SDG4 have shown us the failure of policy makers to reach or consider the many marginalized groups in the country.
The projects’s overall objective is to tackle this failure, by contributing to the mainstreaming of gender and equity dimensions in education policy development and programming. To bring about this change in approach to marginalized groups, COESI’s objectives and outcomes will look to re-focus attention on the access and achievement of girls and boys, possible models of mainstreaming inclusion of those with disabilities and the literacy of both of adults and youth.
COESI, in partnership with the Literacy Association of the Solomon Islands (LASI) is also currently working closely with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD)’s Curriculum and Community Education divisions to implement a programme on a model approach to community involvement in school and learning, and we intend to use this learning to inform our advocacy for change in early years education.
Most importantly we will focus on learning and bringing learning to policy makers. We have agreed with our South Pacific national education coalitions (NEC) colleagues to collaborate on the use of gender and equity (GAPSED1) analysis to the NEC, our member organisations, stakeholders, and ultimately oficers and officials in our respective ministries and departments of education. In this collaboration we will also further mobilize the youth constituency to research on vital current issues and advocate for change. A sub-regional approach involving youth will add weight to our advocacy.
At the same time the Secretariat and membership will use their various positions – on the Local Education Group (LEG), the National Education Board, the thematic working groups such as community education and learning continuity as platforms to put forward our advocacy agenda. Our strategy is for COESI to play an insider advisory role, to bring policy makers to their duties. Although we will use the media to spread our views and campaign, our approach is issue-based, not political.
An earlier phase of the project was implemented in 2020-2021 with support from Education Out Loud.