Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Teacher Training at the University of the South Pacific
Kusum Prakash

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier regional teacher training institution in the South Pacific. It is jointly owned by the governments of twelve island countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. The university began its teacher training in 1968 when the institution was first established. The School of Education at the university is established to carry out teacher training and continues to offer pre-service and in-service programmes for kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary teaching. It offers a diversity of educational programmes through distance and flexible learning, online and face to face mode through a variety of media at different campuses in the region. From the university thousands of young men and women acquire the teaching licenses to teach children in schools, virtually holding the destiny of the future generations in their hands. The University graduated its first cohort of 32 students in 1971.Till date over 30,000 graduates have successfully completed their studies. Today the university has an enrolment of over 19,000 students studying in all 12 countries. Student teachers/trainees receive training in academic and practical aspects of teaching at the university. Teaching practice is entrenched in the teacher training programme. The practical aspect of the training at the university involves an attachment at a host school for a period of seventeen weeks. During this spell the student teachers are under the guidance of experienced teachers from the host schools who wear the cap of mentors. Such attachments often become extra challenging for the student teachers, for their teachings would be observed and assessed by the school mentors and the teacher educators. In order to provide effective mentoring during teaching practice, the experienced teachers and the teacher educators at the university continue to identify the areas that their student teachers need the greatest amount of assistance in in developing their teaching capabilities. This whole process can be quite challenging.

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