Support to Pacific island developing countries

GPE works with small island countries in the Pacific to ensure their particular contexts are taking into consideration to make progress in education

COVID-19 response

In late March 2020, the UNICEF offices in the countries below each received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the respective Ministries of Education in planning their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In Kiribati, the funds were used to finalize an education contingency plan.

In the Marshall Islands, the funds were used to support the Home Learning Framework and costing.

In the Federated States of Micronesia, the funds have been used to support the community-based learning and remote learning framework.

In the Samoa Islands, the funds were used for the development of resources for remote learning and the preparation of a learning platform.

In the Solomon Islands, the intended focus of the funds is remote learning.

Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu will use funds to develop and implement distance learning programmes.

Unique challenges

Recognizing the unique challenges that Pacific island countries face (remoteness, population size, isolation from international markets, vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks), GPE's approach in these countries is designed to be relevant to their unique contexts, cost effective, and to promote knowledge sharing.

Geography and People

The countries (referred to as Pacific Small Island Developing States or SIDS) are located in three areas of the Pacific:

  • Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau)
  • Melanesia (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu)
  • Polynesia (Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu).

Eight of these countries are eligible to receive GPE support: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Students from Fasi Moi Afi Government primary school take part in a class activity.

Students from Fasi Moi Afi Government primary school take part in a class activity.

Photo Credit: Connor Ashleigh for AusAID

They are culturally and linguistically diverse. English is an official language for all of them (plus French in Vanuatu), but with the co-existence of a large number of local languages.

Together, these states have a total population of 1.4 million, ranging from 11,000 (Tuvalu) to 553,000 (Solomon Islands), living on a land area of just 45,000 km2 (4,500 islands, islets and atolls) and spread across more than 12 million km2 of the Pacific Ocean.

The small size and distance of islands from one another create enormous challenges for economic and development cooperation and communication; challenges with which regional partners are very familiar and which GPE is carefully considering as a part of its support to Pacific education systems.


  Grant Type Years Allocations Grant Agent
Marshall Islands Sector plan development 2018 $235,076 ADB
Marshall Islands Sector plan development 2016 $215,054 ADB
Kiribati Sector plan development 2019 $499,768 UNICEF
Kiribati Sector plan development 2015 $200,000 UNICEF
Federated States of Micronesia Program development 2020 $297,213 UNICEF
Federated States of Micronesia Sector plan development 2018 $250,000 ADB
Federated States of Micronesia Sector plan development 2015 $231,988 ADB
Vanuatu Sector plan development 2017 $455,690 UNICEF
Pacific region Program development 2020 $389,875 ADB
Pacific region Sector plan development 2017 $200,000 ADB

GPE's support

GPE has helped to develop and strengthen local education groups and contributed to education sector analyses and national education sector plans.

For example, KiribatiFederated States of MicronesiaMarshall Islands, and Vanuatu have used GPE support to develop new education sector plans. GPE  has also helped fund the development of a Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) to support regional policies and strategies of the Pacific Islands Forum countries and the work of the Pacific Community.

GPE’s collaborative country-level process has encouraged strengthened coordination and partnerships among development agencies in the region and Pacific countries, which has been led by GPE partners including the Asian Development Bank, DFAT and UNICEF.

GPE also supports education in the region through an ongoing Global and Regional Activities grant of US$8.5 million for early grade readiness, literacy and learning, the PEARL program.

Finally, GPE provides supports civil society for advocacy and social accountability efforts in Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu through the Civil Society Education Fund.

For additional information, please contact GPE Secretariat's country lead for Pacific Islands: Daisuke Kanazawa


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