Cook Islands Conference on Education for Sustainable Development

02 August 2010 | News story

Students from 16 schools attending an ESD conference on Raratonga, Cook Islands, explored issues of culture and the environment through art, song, dance and drama. From Jane Taurarii and Anaseini Pokino of the Ministry of Education, and CEC member Seema Deo of Fiji.

Taporopora No Apopo

An Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Education for International Understanding (EIU) Student Conference held on Rarotonga has given rise to ensuring sustainable practices for the coming future.

Students from 16 different schools, including those in the outer islands, ranging in ages from Grade 4 to Form 4 researched and presented topics based on one or a combination of the three areas of sustainability; environment, society and economics with culture as the fundamental underlying element.

Held at the National Auditorium for a week in June, the theme was “Taporoporo No Apopo”, which means Keeping Alive for Tomorrow. Organizers included Jane Taurarii, Danielle Cochrane and Ian George. 

During the one week event, parents, teachers and the general public were treated to an overwhelming flow of knowledge, creativity, passion and confidence as student took the stand at the National Auditorium to raise their concerns, issues and recommendations.

This initiative is just one of the many activities the Cook Islands Ministry of Education and schools have organized to educate future generations on various sustainable practices and empower them to advocate these ideas within their homes and communities.

Students used a wide range of media and presentation skills to give their message – there was artwork exhibited, songs, dance and drama performed.

Students presented on a wide range of topics under the three umbrellas of ESD: environment, culture and economics. Topics included:

  • Pollution – sewage effects
  • Landfills
  • Climate change – hurricanes
  • Health awareness
  • Biodiversity
  • Culture – language and migration

These topics were thoroughly researched by the students who utilized local technicians in the field, surveys, interviews, door to door questionnaires, field trips and a series of community meetings.

Students not only increased their own knowledge on strategies of protecting, preserving and practicing sustainable activities but also build their networks within the community and between schools, learn research skills and develop presentation skills and confidence.

While students were able to gain a wealth of knowledge and skills through this event, the organizers deliberately organized the event so that students returning to their home island or villages were able to convey these practices in their homes by practicing it and also work closely with their community.

The presentations enhanced their confidence and pride in their identity and environment. This was the second student conference and similar educational events are planned to provide our growing generation with the knowledge and confidence they need to make lifelong choices and experiences that will actively promote sustainable development across the country today and for the future generations.

Jane Taurarii
Science Advisor
Ministry of Education
Rarotonga
Cook Islands
jtaurarii@education.gov.ck

Anaseini Pokino
Communication & Media
Ministry of Education
anaseini@education.gov.ck
www.education.gov.ck

Dr. Konai Helu Thaman is CEC Regional Vice-Chair associated with Cook Islands. Visit the CEC website for more on CEC in this region >>