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Recent News

Education in Small States Research Group to serve as Secretariat for new UN SIDS Partnership

A formal partnership was initiated on 18 July at a the international conference ‘Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island States'. This builds upon existing collaboration and synergies amongst members of the 20 year strong Education in Small States Research Group and participant organisations at the conference.  The Education in Small States Research Group will serve as the secretariat of this new Partnership.

Partnership: Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island Developing States


Education in Small States Research Group hosts international conference

In association with the  School of Education, University of Bristol Cabot Institute and Sazani Associates

17 &18 July 2014

Living at the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island States


Commonwealth Secretariat Commissioned Research now available

The Education in Small States Research Group, part of the Research Centre for International and Comparative Education (ICS),  directed by Professor Michael Crossley, completed an inquiry into the educational policies and priorities of Commonwealth Small States, the results of which were published by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2011. Read about the publication entitledEducation in Small States: Policies and Priorities.


UNESCO/IIEP Publication on Tertiary Education in Small States

This publication takes stock of recent reforms in the tertiary education of selected small states. It presents regional and national experiences from different development contexts. The book concludes with a discussion of policy issues, including sustainable funding and technological solutions to overcome the constraints of small states. It notes some ways in which the challenges facing small states can be turned into opportunities.  Read more and download the book here.


Founding Member of Education in Small States Research Group Receives Prestigious Award, October 2011

Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of Saint Lucia, is a founding member of our specialist Education in Small States Research Group in 1994, who continues to work very actively with ICS and this Research Group and to work on joint publications in this area of comparative research.  We are pleased to report that her own regional university, the University of the West Indies, has awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) on 15th October 2011, saying "Her Excellency is a Caribbean icon who has contributed significantly to the development of the region....."  This reflects directly upon Dame Pearlette's own contribution to education in small states and adds to the earlier Honorary LLD conferred upon her by the University of Bristol.


Remembering Dr Willie Ako, May 2011

Very sad news from Papua New Guinea. Dr Willie Ako passed away in May 2011 from a suspected stroke at the age of 44. Many in the GSoE will know Willie well since he studied for his Doctorate with us graduating in 2003, and he then returned to Bristol for 3 months as a Visiting Commonwealth Professional Scholar with ICS in 2009.

Dr Ako came from Batri village in the Southern Highlands of PNG and he was one of the first people from his village to go to school and university .... and probably the first to receive a doctorate. On returning to PNG he became First Secretary in the Ministry for Planning and more recently he worked for the Commission for Higher Education. I first met Willie when he was a young boy, when I taught him social science at Kagua Provincial High School in the Southern Highlands in 1980. He then followed me to Bristol years later to study for his doctorate with me.

Willie Ako moved across cultures more than many people, even in his own family, realise.... and in doing so he was always a talented, helpful, cheerful and very kind spirit. He will be greatly missed in his own community (where he did excellent work researching and introducing treated mosquito nets in collaboration with Dr Jane Fitzpatrick from UWE). I was also pleased to have been involved in this work and in his study of curriculum reform in SHP.

So that colleagues can feel the impact that Dr Ako and his work had in PNG I have attached the funeral programme (PDF, 244kB) and a brief review (Office document, 29kB) of the recent funeral service (over 400 people attended) written in very PNG style by Russell Jackson. Russell is also a former ICS/GSoE student based in Port Moresby, who continues to work with us in various ways. Condolences from the GSoE were sent for the funeral day. Willie Ako is a great loss to Papua New Guinea, to the Southern Highlands and to all his family and friends.

Michael Crossley, May 8, 2011


Educational Policies and Priorities in Commonwealth Small States conference attracts capacity international audience

On October 25th 2011, preliminary findings from Commonwealth Secretariat commissioned research on educational policies and priorities in Commonwealth Small States were shared during a conference jointly hosted by the Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (School of Education) and Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC). The day  also celebrated the Commonwealth decadal anniversaries of four small states: Namibia, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu.

Read more about the Educational Policies and Priorities in Commonwealth Small States conference.

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Membership update

January 2014

Marcia Shah from Trinidad and Tobago is pursuing her EdD at Bristol. Her research interest lies in the global agendas which may influence teacher education policy reform in Trinidad and Tobago.


December 2013

• Saran Stewart (external network member)

Saran Stewart is currently a second year doctoral student in the Higher Education program, with a concentration in Diversity and Higher Learning and a specialization in International Education Development at the University of Denver. Her doctoral research will examine the social history of education in Jamaica using postcolonial theories in an effort to reveal the negative externalities of the education system, and provide a transformative framework to galvanize change. Much of her research critically examines issues of comparative education, post-coloniality, education development and diversity in and outside the classroom.

Abilio de Araujo (external network member)

Abilio de Araujo of East Timor is a former ELPD student at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. He completed his MEd in 2013. Abilio works for the National Agency for Academic Assessment and Accreditation under the Ministry of Education of East Timor. This is an autonomous quality assurance agency for higher education. The title of his Master’s dissertation was Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Small States, the Case of East Timor: Theory, Policy and Practice.

• Reuben Phoolchund (external network member)

Reuben, a Mauritian national, is currently engaged in doctoral research at the University of Kwazulu Natal of South Africa. The focus of his research is: Higher Education and Economic Growth in Small States: The case of Indian Ocean islands.

• Frank Courtney

After graduating from Bristol, Frank Courtney taught in secondary and higher education. He spent over twenty years working as a senior education officer in local education authorities in south-west England. Since the early 1990s he has been heavily involved in education development on an international basis. His main focus has been education project management, with a key objective of developing strategies to facilitate school improvement. He has managed projects in most of the Commonwealth Caribbean countries, and from 2007 to 2009 was Education Director for the Jamaica Ministry of Education Modernisation Programme.  Amongst other work, he is currently engaged to provide consulting services for the establishment of the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission. Frank is Managing Director of Merganser Consulting, based in Bristol.

• Cathryn MacCullum is Director of Sazani Associates, which works with local and national governments, NGOs and the private sector in the UK, EU and overseas, specifically Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Belize.  Areas of specialisation include youth development, education and climate change adaptation with a focus on rural women.

• Tavis Jules is Assistant Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago.  Tavis's research interests include regionalism in small states with particular reference to CARICOM.

• Clermina James is from the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and has worked there for a number of years in roles as educator at all levels - from primary to tertiary, as well as establishing a Maths Center for students as the subject remains one of the challenges for students particularly at the secondary level.  Clermina is currently a doctoral student at the University of Bristol.

• James Frost is a EdD student at the University of Bristol with experience in teacher training in St Lucia.  His current research at UoB concerns the Use of social software as a tool for mathematical growth and understanding in St Lucia.


December 2013

Many members of the Small States Research Group are at various points in their Doctoral study and research at the University of Bristol:

   Mindy Colin

  • Mindy Colin is currently writing up her doctoral dissertation in Mauritius. She is investigating the international transfer of learner-centred pedagogy in Small Island Developing States, with specific reference to an initiative sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme for low achieving Mauritian primary schools.

May 2011

The Education in Small States Research Group warmly welcomes three new members:

Justin Valentin, from Seychelles, is a PhD student at Kings College, London.  The title of his research is ‘Instructional reform in small developing states: a case study of Seychelles.’

Frank Weeple, was the Director of the Jamaica Education Transformation programme from 2006-2009. While now retired, Frank currently enjoys some ongoing research and consultancy work.

Dr Eileen Honan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences at The University of Queensland.  Eileen is currently leading a team conducting a study funded by the Australian Development Research Awards (ADRA) investigating models of professional learning for teachers in Papua New Guinea.


January 2011

The Education in Small States Research Group welcomes back Collin Tjitemisa to the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education.  Collin completed his MEd at Bristol in 2005, with a dissertation titled, 'Who fails whom? : towards improving the prospects of grade 10 school leavers in Namibia'.  Collin returned to Bristol in the autumn of 2010 to pursue his EdD, which will will be based on the empowerment of higher institutions in Namibia.  For more on Collin's research interests, please see the 'selected member biographies' our membership page.


September 2010

  • Jenny is from Papua New Guinea and studying at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand for a Masters in Education focusing upon inclusive education with a dissertation titled ‘Exploring the practices of Inclusive education in Papua New Guinea Primary schools, a consideration of school head teachers and teachers’ perceptions
  • Indra recently completed a Masters in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, London.  Her current researchaims to trace the narrative of geography education through the working lives of six Seychellois geography teachers.  Over the next two years, she will be based part-time in Seychelles, joining the University of Seychelles on a part-time basis, to teach Geography and Environment, and conducting her research.




Small States Research Group Archive

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