Pacific Benchmarking Education Quality for Results (PaBER): Independent Review 2016
Summary of publication
The PaBER pilot provided assistance to three countries (Samoa, PNG and Solomon Islands) to measure and compare the performance of their national education systems. Overall it aimed to lift children's literacy and numeracy levels by equipping policy makers with information to drive effective interventions. DFAT spent $4.7 million on the pilot, which was implemented between May 2012 and June 2016 through the Pacific Community (SPC).
An independent review was conducted in February 2016 to assess progress and inform decisions on future assistance to this area. The review found that PaBER had provided a sound platform for a second phase of the activities beyond June 2016, with additional countries. However, the very nature of PaBER, with its complex regional and participating countries structure, and multiple activities, had led to challenges in implementation that would need to be addressed in any future phase. The review made numerous recommendations regarding program improvement opportunities and options for support beyond the current life of PaBER.
DFAT's management response states that DFAT does not intend to continue with a future phase of PaBER as a stand-alone project. Rather, DFAT will explore the integration of PaBER work into a more holistic program of assistance that facilitates improved region-wide learning assessment and system performance diagnostics – with an emphasis on improved student learning outcomes. DFAT commits to ensuring that lessons learned from PaBER, including review findings and recommendations, inform any future planning and design of a proposed broader program, which will adopt a regional approach to improved learning assessment and system performance diagnostics in the Pacific.