The PRIDE Project: Assessing the Regional Approach to Basic Education Delivery
The PRIDE Project was conceived as a way to bolster the awareness, coordination and delivery of basic education in the Pacific region. The project‟s mandate was to enhance the capacity of Pacific education agencies to effectively plan and deliver quality basic education through formal and non-formal means. The project focused on the provision of technical assistance as well as support and advice to build national capacities through three key areas. First, the development of effective and realistic education strategic plans, secondly the implementation of plans (through sub-project activities) and thirdly sharing best practice through online networks, a resource centre and regional and sub- regional workshops. In total the project received €8 million from the European Union Development Fund and NZD$5 million from NZAID.1 2 The project‟s concept was developed by Pacific Ministers of Education who believed many past educational aid initiatives had not delivered successful, relevant or sustainable results. PRIDE was therefore established as a project that would be housed and operated from within the Pacific region. Being based out of the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, the project wanted to utilise and foster Pacific capacity, knowledge and ownership as much as possible. This thesis will explore The PRIDE Project‟s activities within the region. Discussion will focus on why the mandate of sector planning was chosen, and how it has many similarities to sector wide approaches. Investigation into PRIDE within the Solomon Islands will demonstrate that the project had an overoptimistic mandate which struggled to make any considerable achievements in the everyday delivery of basic education. The regional dynamics of this project will be analysed against local priorities and agendas, ultimately showing that they can sit uncomfortably next to each other. Discussion will highlight how ideas of complete Pacific ownership will continue to be a challenge for the region as capacity and infrastructure is limited. In addition, development projects need to move beyond top level sector planning to implementation and delivery if any significant changes to education provision are to be made.