Quality learning outcomes and gender equality through inclusive education
A small island developing state, Vanuatu's population is widely scattered across the 83 geographically-diverse islands of the archipelago. The country is considered to be one of the world's most vulnerable to naturaI disasters. With more than 110 distinct languages, Vanuatu has the highest linguistic density in the world. It also has three official languages, Bislama, English and French, and a dual language education system in French and English. Delivering key and quality education in such an environment and with very low resources and tax base is a major challenge.
Kolisen Blong Leftemap Edukesen (KOBLE) is a coalition of six member organisations established in Vanuatu in 2017, with the aim of advocating for quality education in alignment with the global Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and international standards.
KOBLE is dedicated to the advancement of educational opportunities for all Vanuatu citizens, especially for those from disadvantaged groups. The coalition has a registration of over 50 members from across INGOs, local NGOs, CBOs, private schools, public school board councils and the Vanuatu Teachers Union.
Despite large grants and support for the Vanuatu education system over the decades, progress in improving quality and access in public education has been slow, and many issues and gaps in provision remain.
KOBLE's objective is to identify the gaps in provision, and those most marginalised by them. Many of our activities are around research and consultations, advocating for changes with the Ministry of Education and Training's (MoET) planning and policies. In the coming period we will focus on gender and disability, using a GAPSED2 analytical framework to better understand marginalized groups, and offer a partnership with MoET in this analysis.
The education budget remains low, and the tax system seemingly unable to raise sufficient finance to increase it. One aspect of our advocacy will be to analyse the budget further, to see what changes can be made within the existing budget. We also intend to join the tax justice movement, as tax avoidance (Vanuatu is regarded as a tax haven and collects no income tax) is crucial for the government to improve education services.
In the next two years we will upscale our advocacy program and collect more evidence. KOBLE will continue to use Youth Action Research to involve youth and community groups in research into their own contexts, using their tindings as powerful advocacy tools.
KoBLE has also agreed to work with its South Pacific neighbour education coalitions in learning collaboration around gender and equity as well as the YAR methodology. This will improve sub-regional understanding of the gaps in SDG4 implementation and draw KoBLE into the wider Pacific.
We will continue our good relations with MoET and our place on its committees and decision-making groups to ensure the voices of the marginalized reach decision makers.
An earlier phase of the project was implemented in 2020-2021 with support from Education Out Loud.