Media & news Te hunga pāpāho me ngā rongo kōrero

Back to all media & news

Pacific civics education workshop promotes good governance

Oct 24, 2006 | Media release

Sharing Pacific experiences of civics education is the focus of a workshop of 25 participants drawn from six countries being held in Suva this week (Weds 25 – Fri 27 Oct 06).

The organisers say that having citizens who are aware, informed and engaged in the civic and political life of their country is one key to maintaining a stable democracy.

“Civic education is central to the promotion of good governance in the region,” says Garry Wiseman of the United Nations Development Programme, “as it helps ensure that all people are heard.”

“This workshop is also timely in light of the recent Forum Education Ministers’ Meeting which among other directives requested the Forum Secretariat to progress civics education. It is also timely in assisting the Forum Secretariats work to develop strategies to support participatory democracy as set out in the Pacific Plan’s objective on Good Governance,” adds Dr Henry Ivarature, of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

 “Participants will share and discuss seven different projects to help develop a definition of civic education relevant to the Pacific, work out what approaches work well, think about what the priorities should be in our different countries and if there is any advantage in forming a Pacific civics education network,” says Ms Sadhana Sen, from the Democracy and Electoral Studies Program of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance at the University of the South Pacific which is co-ordinating the event.

Lead facilitator Dr Helena Catt of the NZ Electoral Commission says the strength of the event was the sharing of experiences and learning from what had already been done.  “No one has all the answers, but we’re all in this together, so it’s good to be sharing and picking up on each other’s experience.”

The examples of civic education being reviewed include: a civic education book created for Vanuatu schools and public workshops, an internet-based teacher resource to help New Zealand primary students explore decision-making in taking action on social issues, the Tongan youth parliament, village level civic education in the Solomon Islands, a pan-Pacific human rights training program for para-legals, and voter education in highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The workshop is being hosted and funded by the UNDP and USP, with funding support from the European Union, and programme leadership from the NZ Electoral Commission.

Back to top