Strengthening Education Research Capacity in the North Pacific


The Pacific Community (SPC) strengthened and equipped education ministries from the region to take ownership of their education projects through a research and policy support workshop in the areas of research planning, Education Management Information System (EMIS) data analysis, and research capacity development.

In July this year, SPC conducted a weeklong education research workshop bringing together education ministry representations from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The weeklong workshop provided the participating countries with a detailed orientation on the conceptual framework and the processes on designing a research plan.

SPC's Education Specialist – Research, Dr. Krishneel Reddy, explained that research planning and management “is done by adopting an approach whereby we provided systematic, needs-based support to address research skills development as requested by the countries. The beauty of this approach is that it allowed EQAP to respond to country needs in the region in an authentic, holistic manner, respecting the wishes of the countries.”

Dr. Reddy added that this workshop was an extension of the support provided by SPC through its Pacific Education Research Network (PERN) initiative. The ultimate purpose of PERN is to strengthen education research capacity within education ministries in the region.”

Participating country members were trained in conducting stock take of their EMIS, identifying gaps in data and using that information to formulate education research projects aimed at informing policy and practice.

FSM Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for the Division of Quality & Effectiveness, Miyai Keller stated that through the workshop, “at least for us, now, we're able to identify the one area that we want to look into, which is the students’ performance on our assessment”.

Apart from students’ performance on assessment, Keller added that there are areas that they want to do more thorough research, “find why things are happening and how can they improve.”

“Using the new knowledge and tools from the workshop, we should be able to plan ahead and have a very clear research plan,” said Keller.

Keller stated that this was something FSM needed in moving forward and the next step is to work with the four States in sharing the outcomes of the workshop, “because that's where it will be more meaningful because they deal directly with the students.”

Dr. Reddy also stated that one of the outcomes of this workshop was “that countries will get to map their EMIS systems and then think about the core areas of data analysis they want based on the kinds of data captured by their EMIS systems.”

SPC will continue providing remote support and guidance in supporting the three countries in finalising their education research projects.

Micronesia Regional Office