The Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD) at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the Commonwealth Higher Education Consortium for Youth Work convened a regional workshop on ‘Professionalising Youth Work in the Pacific’ in Suva, 24 – 27 June 2019. Thirty-two participants from local and regional youth work based organisations gathered to discuss regional priorities and challenges related to Youths in the Pacific. The main objective of the workshop was to draw upon participants’ knowledge of Youth Work and familiarisation with the Youth Work courses developed by the University of West Indies to devise competencies and practices that will guide the development and revisions of the curricular content as part of the re-purposing of these courses for consumption in the South Pacific.
The workshop was facilitated by:
- Dr. Gary Pluim, Assistant Professor, Lakehead University, Canada
- Prof. Som Naidu, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Centre for Flexible Learning, and Director, Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD)
- Mr. Deepak Bhartu, Open Education Design Architect, Centre for Flexible Learning, USP
The workshop opened with a round of introductions by the key facilitators and the participants, followed by an official opening by the Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Fiji, Mr. Jone M. Nemani. In addressing the participants, the Minister applauded the effort byCOL to prioritize educational outcomes in small island states, most notably through affordable and distance online learning to account for the geographic characteristics of the small island states. During the four-day workshop, a series of presentations were delivered that provided a range of responses around the content of the workshop that included sessions on the field of youth development, course design, open educational resources (OER), and issues relating to educational transfer, competencies, outcomes, and assessment.
The Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, Fiji, Ms. Alison Burchell, officially closed the workshop.In her closing remarks, she stressed the importance of professionalizing youth work in the Pacific. She advised the participants to develop modules that are adaptable and inclusive for people from urban areas and remote islands.