Friday, December 31, 2010


Implementing Strategies

4.11 The plan to increase access and participation rates in tertiary education will be implemented in stages by increasing student intake at tertiary level from 25 percent (17+-23+cohort) in 2000 to 30 percent by 2005 and 40 percent (16+-22+ cohort) b 2010, and to realize lifelong learning.

4.12 To increase opportunities to tertiary education, the Blueprint plans to further encourage the private sector to expand their involvement in the provision of tertiary education and to transform Malaysia into a center of academic excellence.

4.13 To fulfill the national needs in science and technology, a planned and comprehensive effort will be made to increase enrolment at the tertiary level to 60 percent in these fields as compared to other fields. The strategy also aims to increase the ratio of scientists and technologist to the population in order to be at par with developed countries.

4.14 To achieve a balance in producing skilled and semi-skilled workers, the Blueprint plans to widen opportunities for tertiary education based on the enrolment ratio of 1:2 for undergraduate programmes as compared to diploma/certificate programmes. This strategy will be implemented in concurrent with the establishment of Technical University and technical private institutions of higher learning, aimed at increasing the number of hands on professionals. Programmes offered at the tertiary level will be improved to ensure their quality, relevance, and ability to fulfill the manpower needs of the nation and competitiveness at the global level.

4.15 The Blueprint aims to provide adequate and quality teaching staff by increasing training programmes locally and abroad as well as expanding training programmes with industries, providing a more competitive salary scheme, and increasing the number of qualified teaching staff. 4.16 The strengthening and expansion of R&D activities at institutions of higher learning will be achieved through inculcating R&D culture among lecturers and students, increasing the number of R&D experts and personnel, establishing existing premier public university as research universities, establishing more research centers of international standard by increasing research facilities, and increasing smart partnerships between public and private higher education institutions with local and international industries. These strategies will be complemented with an increase in the use and mastery of ICT by providing appropriate infrastructure and increasing the use of ICT in tertiary education as well as creating an environment conducive to e-university.

4.17 Strategies to establish Malaysia as a center of academic excellence include increasing the number of foreign students at undergraduate and post-graduate levels by the year 2010 at the rate of 5 percent (except for International Islamic University Malaysia which will be at 20 percent) and 25 percent respectively, establishing R&D centers at local universities that are of international standards, and accounting for the internationalization of local universities.

4.18 Strategies to expand financial aid for students encompass increasing allocation and seeking various sources of fund for tertiary education institutions, especially universities, in addition, student welfare programmes and facilities will be upgraded to complement the management of tertiary education institutions.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Implementation Strategies

3.7 The first strategy in the development plan is to restructure secondary using the 4+2 system, followed by efforts to review and strengthen the secondary education curriculum as well as
assessment and evaluation system according to the new structure.

3.8 To increase access and equity, the MOE will improve and expand the provision of infrastructure and build new secondary schools using new building approaches which saves space and land, maximise usage of education resources, reduce attrition rate, upgrade student safety programmes, and improve welfare of students who are poor and/or with chronic and long-term health problems.

3.9 To improve the quality of secondary education, the Blueprint plans to review and strengthen the secondary school curriculum. Emphasis will be given to the development of academic skills,
especially in mastering skills of learning, communication, critical and creative thinking, and self-management; acquiring basic industrial skills; and possessing positive values. The secondary
education curriculum will strengthen intervention programmes for students with learning problems, integrate ICT in the curriculum and strengthens co-curriculum programmes.

3.10 The Blueprint plans to increase the participation of students in science and technology by building new residential schools and technical/vocational schools, expand provision of technical and vocational education in normal schools, and award scholarships to outstanding students in science. Other strategies include improving teaching and learning of science by providing more science teachers, laboratories, and science materials; implementing contextual teaching and learning methods and inclusion of new educational elements such as biotechnology and microelectronics to make learning of science more interesting and relevant; and intensifying the integration of ICT in teaching and learning of science.

3.11 The MOE will implement strategies to improve the mastery of Malay and English languages; introduce changes to the assessment and evaluation system by emphasizing of formative evaluation and further developing effective measurement of students intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical development; and strengthen career guidance and counseling programmes.

3.12 The MOE plans to increase the number of graduate teachers in secondary schools to achieve 100 percent by 2010, increase the number of teachers for critical subjects such as English Language, Science, and Technology; fulfill professional development needs of teachers especially in rural areas; improve incentives, and provide conducive working environment. Efforts will be made to encourage the use of teaching aids and technology in teaching and learning.

3.13 To expand opportunity and improve the quality of special education, the Blueprint outlines programmes for expanding technical/vocational education for visually impaired students, equipping special education schools with appropriate teaching aids and with the latest and user friendly infrastructure, and strengthening the monitoring of special education programmes.

3.14 The MOE will improve community involvement in the development of secondary schools by extending Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) membership to community members and widening the scope of PTA activities in curricular and co-curricular activities.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Aims for Development

7.1 The education management development plans aims to improve and strengthen the level of efficiency and effectiveness of management in the aspects of administration, monitoring and evaluation, curriculum and assessment, personnel, information

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Issues and Challenges

7.2 The challenge to the MOE in education management is to overcome issues and problems due to its structure that is hierarchical, centralised, and heavy at the top (departments/divisions) but small at the bottom (state/district education departments), bureaucratic issues, as well as inefficient and ineffective management of resources and personnel, and the implementation of certain policies. The MOE needs to improve the quality of leadership at all levels of the ministry and develop a group of competent top-level managers equipped with the highestprofessional qualification and who have expertise in management and education. To improve the quality of school management, the MOE needs to strengthen the role of principal/head master as curriculum leaders and ensure that the monitoring, evaluation, and assessment activities of education programmes are carried out in accordance to the objectives of Education High Quality Standard. These activities can only be implemented effectively by having sufficient numbers of inspectorate personnel and distributing the monitoring and evaluation reports to the educational institutions concerned.

7.3 Problems concerning teacher deployment are influenced not only by the actual needs of schools but also by humanitarian factors, the employment of temporary untrained teachers, and the attachment of teachers as administrative officers in the ministry, state education departments, and division/district education offices. At the same time there are other factors beyond the control of management such as the shortage of teachers for critical subjects, limited opportunities for in-service teacher training, teachers taking non-paid leave, and the difficulties in recruiting replacement teachers.

7.4 To further strengthen its organization, the MOE faces the challenge of modernizing its Management and Human Resource Information System by reorganizing its present personnel data base, increasing training activities in ICT, establishing MOE into a learning organization, making the teaching profession attractive to university graduates especially in critical subjects, and increasing the commitment of teachers and other personnel.

7.5 The MOE also faces the challenge of creating an integrated and efficient management information system. This can only be achieved by providing appropriate ICT infrastructure and having a common understanding in the interpretation and implementation of policies among various education agencies. At the same time, the
MOE needs to create a favourable environment that encourages more R&D activities and develops a research culture.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Aims for Development

2.1 The Blueprint aims to institutionalise preschool education, provide preschool education for children aged 5+ years, make the National Preschool Curriculum compulsory in all kindergartens, and strengthens the monitoring and evaluation of preschool programmes.

2.2 The development plan for primary education aims to provide appropriate and adequate nfrastructure for the provision of compulsory primary education; further reduce the attrition rate; improve reading, writing, and arithmetic (3R) skills; increase the development of social skills and basic computer skills; increase the mastery of Malay language, English language, Mathematics, and Science; improve the reading and writing skills of the Jawi script; reinforce national unity by introducing Mandarin and Tamil languages as subjects in national schools; provide adequate trained teachers; and ensure that 50 percent of primary school teachers are university graduates by 2010.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Aims of Development

4.1 The development plan for community colleges aims to provide training and retraining facilities in various industrial skills as well as providing an alternative route to higher education for school leavers and the local community and industries for education and other purposes that can benefit both parties.

4.2 The development plan for polytechnics aims to further provide and upgrade education and training facilities at semi-professional level in technical, commerce, and service fields and provide an alternative route for higher education for secondary school leavers.

4.3 The development plan for higher educations aims to produce sufficient quality human resources geared towards the needs of the nation and the K-economy. Specifically, the plan aims to achieve democratisation of higher education and socio-economic balance among the different races. Emphasis will be made on science and technology, the use of ICT, and the mastery of the Malay language and other international languages. The plan also aims to improve post-graduate programmes, produce students of excellence and quality, further develop students character, encourage research and development (R&D) of international standards, inculcate a culture of quality in higher education, and promote lifelong learning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Issues and Challenges

4.5 At present, only 11 percent of the population aged 18-21 years have the opportunity to enroll in non-degree programmes and only 5 percent of the age cohort enrolled in degree programmes. The challenge to the MOE is to further increase accessibility to tertiary education in line with the democratisation concept, meet the growing demand of society for higher education, and fulfill the increasing need for knowledgeable and skilled manpower.

4.6 To promote lifelong learning, the challenge to the MOE is to ensure tertiary education institutions are able to provide opportunities to those who want to acquire knowledge, skills, training, and retraining as well as to enable those who had dropped out of school an opportunity to resume their education. To provide access to tertiary education for Bumiputera students in the rural areas, the MOE faces the challenge to encourage the establishment of private higher education institutions in these areas.

4.7 To meet the target of 60 percent students in science and technology, the MOE faces the challenge to increase science and technology-based programmes at local higher education institutions; ensure the enrolment ratio in certificate, diploma, and Education Development Plan for Malaysia 2001 - 2010 undergraduate programmes at both the public and private higher educational institution matches the demands for skilled and semiskilled workers; and improve communication skills in international languanges, especially the English Language.

4.8 The MOE also faces the challenge to acquire qualified teaching staff; overcome the shortage of experienced teaching staff in various fields of industry; retain qualified teaching staff at polytechnics and other public tertiary institutions; and reduce the ratio of student to teaching staff.

4.9 In addition, the MOE has to ensure higher education institutions has the capability to produce more R&D activities which are of quality and commercial value; generate new knowledge; intensify the learning and usage of ICT; and to further increase the role of higher education institutions in transforming Malaysia into a center of academic excellence by providing courses that are relevant to the needs of the local workforce, innovative, and internationally competitive.

4.10 Other issues and problems that need to be addressed are higher students costs especially at private higher institutions and the escalating development and management costs at public higher education institutions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Aims for Development

5.1 The development plan for support service aims to provide quality support services which will enable students to be better for schooling; minimize school drop-out rates, promote greater academic excellence among students from low-income families; ensure students of low-income families receive the same educational opportunities afforded to other students, and ensure a more efficient and effective management of support services programmes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Issues and Challenges

5.2 The main challenge of the MOE in the development of support services is to improve the quality of school hostels with substandard facilities and is unsafe for accommodation in the rural areas. Such hostels were built through gotong royong projects or on ad hoc basis initiated by the local community, using low quality building materials and sub-standard building plans. The MOE also faces an increasing demand for residential schools to cater for the growing number of qualified and excellent students. At the same time, many hostels at teacher training colleges are underutilised due to the reduction in teacher trainee intakes for pre-service training. The overall cost of managing and operating these hostels have also risen with the increasing number of hostels and boarders as well as escalating prices of materials and services.

5.3 The operational costs for the text-book loan scheme (Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks, SPBT) have also increased. Furthermore, if the plan to replace the present printed text books with electronic books or e-book is realized, the MOE will need a bigger allocation to supply these e-books to students; train teachers and personnel in managing, maintaining, and storing such books; and provide for systematic and effective e-book distribution system.

5.4 The MOE also faces the challenge of providing sufficient funds for scholarships and study loans to all students and ensuring an effective management of the funds. For the Integrated School Health Programme (Program Bersepadu Sekolah Sihat, PBSS), the MOE has to ensure that all schools receive the services provided under the programme and to increase the frequency of these services. For the Supplementary Food Programme (Rancangan Makanan Tambahan, RMT) for primary schools, the challenge is to increase its allocation in order to expand the services to more poor students and ensure that the meals provided are nutritious and well balanced.

5.5 The MOE also faces the challenge of providing sufficient numbers of full-time student counselors to schools. At present, the number of counselors provided for each school is determined by using the existing ratio for teacher allocation. This practice is a disadvantage, especially to schools with small enrolment where the school heads usually have to assume the role of the counselor as well.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Implementation Strategies

5.6 The strategies for the development of hostels are to build more residential schools, school hostels, and ‘central concept’ hostels; add more physical and non-physical facilities to all existing hostels, and maximise the use of hostels facilities at teacher training colleges.
5.7 The textbook loan scheme will be strengthened through a review of its existing qualification policy to cater to the needs of the public and review the present policy if e-books are to be used as a teaching aid.

5.8 The strategies to strengthen other support services programmes will also include increasing the allocation for scholarships and loan, continuing and expanding the coverage of the Integrated School Health Programme, increasing the coverage of the Supplementary Food Programme, and increasing the number, roles, and effectiveness of full-time counselors through continuous in-service training.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Aims for Development

6.1 The development plan for education funding aims to expand and increase the sources of funds as well as to ensure effective financial management at all levels of the MOE.


African societies have their own way of looking at their surroundings which stretches back through legends, religion, oral tradition and long-established know-how. In the West, human beings aspire to be the ‘owner and master of nature,’ but in Africa, as Eric Dardel has pointed out, ‘the world is seen as a unity of which human beings are an integral part - as individuals are of a tribe, as the internal blends in with the external. It’s a world of participation where humans seek out their likeness in the world’s creatures and find themselves by reference to the universe. In Africa, humans live on through plants and animals, through the earth and the sky, t h rough the vital spark , wh i ch drives the wind and the stars, the sprouting and the maturing of things, the tides and the rain. It’s the same life which they feel in their own bodies’.

The strength of A f rican countries is the involvement of their people in development programmes. This implies involvement in the conception and execution of a project and in safeguarding its achievements. In this respect, participation is at the heart of integrated sustainable management of coastal regions. To better understand, we can imagine a situation in which communication and education remain a monopoly of official bodies, with no regard for the eventual beneficiaries. That would make it impossible to achieve the set goals, much less inclusion of the beneficiaries and long-term use of the resources.

In the Comoros Islands, for example, the ministry of fish eries provided fish aggregating devices. But because nobody trained local people how to use them properly, some fishermen unfastened the equipment to re-use the rope it contained. In some coastal villages , h oweve r, fi s h e rmen orga n i zed themselve s i n d ep e n d e n t ly of the authorities to protect sea t u rtles and the ra re coelacanth fish and to oppose practices wh i ch we re destroy i n g m a rine re s o u rc e s , s u ch as the use of fi n e - m e s h n e t s , poison and dy n a m i t e.

Participation provides only advantages and opportunities. We must come up with flexible ways to include people, suitable methods of communication, appropriate topics and training methods and ways to solve the tricky problems which come with involvement, such as how to make decisions and how to implement environmental laws and programmes. But people do not realize how serious the problems are. As far as communication and education about the environment are concerned, the main obstacles are:

• i g n o rance of how important the env i ronment is;
• lack of skilled people;
• lack of infrastructure and funding;
• shortage of teaching equipment and organization;
• shortage of integrated, co-ordinated programmes which are reasonable, needed and sustainable;
• very slow growth of the NewWorld Information Order to replace the present one dominated by powerful Western societies;
• ‘dependence’ of African media on those of theWest.

Every country is different, however, so we need to encourage research and action to understand
the problems better and perfect the means of communication and education. In the Comoros, for example, it would be risky to rely on government institutions. Local television stations are everywhere, but a national station has not yet been set up. Experience shows that traditional places – village or town squares, mosques, Koranic schools and community centres – are still the best ones for communication and education.

The goal is a development approach adap

ted to local socio-cultural conditions and based on strengthening capacities. To do this,
we think the priorities are to:

• develop integrated and interactive communication and education;
• encourage the use of local languages, especially in gras s roots communication and instruction;
• emphasize development of human resources and awareness of the importance of the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
• encourage the setting up of local and national media organizations in Africa which are diversified, viable and professional;
• strengthen the capacities of the private sector and local communities;
• build networks of communication and information;
• reconcile the needs of the environment with those of the economy (such as tourism) and employment;
• develop socio-cultural factors and add modern scientific and technical knowledge to them.

Integrated management of coastal regions is a laborious process. The ultimate aim is to consider
a new approach to communication and education which allows everyone, from political decision-makers and agents of change to those who finally benefit, to be involved in the sust a i n able integrated management of coastal regions. The goal should be to find a good balance between the formal and informal in the field of communication and education as it applies to the environment.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The Education Development Plan for Malaysia (2001-2010), henceforth referred to as the Blueprint, takes into account the goals and aspirations of the National Vision Policy to build a resilient nation, encourage the creation of a just society, maintain sustainable economic growth, develop global competitiveness, build a knowledge-based economy (K-economy), strengthen human resource development, and maintain sustainable environment development. The Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010) and the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) outlined the strategies, programmes, and projects to increase the nation’s economic growth towards building a united, just and equitable society as well as meeting the challenges of globalisation and Keconomy. The ultimate aim of these long and medium-terms plans is to build Malaysia into a developed nation based on its own mould. These plans have great implications on the national education system.

The Blueprint aims to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to twelve years of education in terms of access, equity, and quality. The Blueprint also aims to further develop the potentials of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced in line with the National Education Philosophy. In addition, the Blueprint plans to nurture creativity and innovativeness among students; enhance learning culture; effective, and world-class quality education system; and promote Malaysia as a center of education excellence.

The major thrusts of the Blueprint are to increase access to education, increase equity in education, increase quality of education, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education management. The Ministry of Education (MOE) will continue with the equitable distribution of educational inputs to ensure students obtain appropriate learning experiences from all educational programmes.

The Blueprint focuses on the development of preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary education levels which will be strengthened through the development of support programmes, funding, management, and integration of information and communication technology (ICT).

Friday, November 5, 2010


For those who know it only by name, E q u at o ri a l Guinea is a small country in central A f ri c a , in the m i ddle of the Gulf of Guinea. One of its pro blems is that its regions are ve ry scat t e re d. Th e re a re seven islands (Bioko , A n n o b o n , C o ri s c o , E l o b ey Gra n d e, E l o b ey Chico, C o c o t e ro and Pemba) as well as the mainland terri t o ry of Rio Muni. The nort h e rnmost island of Bioko is 6 7 0 km from the one furthest south (Annobon), while the port of Bat a , in Rio Muni, is 280 km f rom Malab o , the main town on Bioko . This means that Equat o rial Guinea has ex t e n s ive coastal regions and small islands. Also, as a developing country, it has huge problems communicating with and administering such areas.

The country is a big timber exporter, which puts it at the mercy of the industry’s market fluctuations. The mainland coast is the area most affected by this. According to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study in 1981, mangroves cover 20,000 hectares of Equatorial Guinea. But lack of money and trained personnel as well as the absence of a broad awareness of their economic importance has meant that these areas have not been developed. These are some of the reasons why my country is interested in the activities of Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), and in all UNESCO’s programmes to do with the environment, small islands and integrated management of ecosystems. We also favour drafting an overall plan for c o m mu n i c at i o n , e d u c ation and training in coastal management.

Therefore, my country would like to implement, with UNESCO’s help, an interactive communication programme which would set forces in motion resulting in an energetic and interact ive re l ationship between the va rious social agents, with the help of the media and the N ational Unive rs i t y. The aim would be to increase the involvement of the population and their commitment to the development process and to change the behaviour of people, groups and communities so as to improve the quality of life of these individuals and groups. An interact ive commu n i c ation programme could be a means of development and social involvement in sustainable management of Equat o ri a l Guinea’s coastal regions and small islands.

Th rough its Conservation and Rational Use of Fo rest Ecosystems (CUREF) progra m m e, t h e
gove rnment is also committed to drawing up a plan for cl a s s i fi c ation and rational use of land in the Rio Muni mainland. The plan outlines a d e s i rable pat t e rn of land use based on biologi c al , physical , technical , economic and socio-cultural crite ri a , as well as on the gove rn ment ’s policies concerning rural development , timber production and pre s e rvation of fo rest ecosystems.

Environmental training is provided at the National University with courses to train skilled public health workers and forestry experts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Implementation Strategies

2.6 Preschool education will be further developed by institutionalising preschool education and making compulsory the use of the National Preschool Curriculum at all preschool institutions, providing training facilities for preschool teachers, and strengthening the monitoring of preschool teachers, and strengthening the monitoring of preschool programmes conducted by public and private agencies.

2.7 Strategies to further promote access to and equity in primary education include increasing the participation rate particularly among the children of indigenous groups such as the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia and the ethnic groups in rural and remote areas of Sabah and Sarawak. The Blueprint plans to make primary education compulsory and this entails the building of more schools, providing more trained teachers, and increasing monitoring activities.

2.8 The Blueprint plans to strengthen special education programmes and expand opportunities for special education by providing more trained teachers in special education schools and schools with inclusive programmes. Efforts will be made to encourage public participation and contribution in the development of special education.

2.9 Strategies to improve the quality of primary education include increasing basic education infrastructure, revising the norms for teacher allocation, and ensuring 50 percent of primary school teachers are university graduates by 2010. Other strategies include strengthening the Integrated Primary School Curriculum (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah, KBSR) to further improve the 3R skills among pupils, making the curriculum more relevant to current and emerging needs of the country, and strengthening all co-curriculum programmes to reinforce the development of intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced individuals. In addition, the strategies include revising school textbooks, improving integration of ICT in teaching and learning, expanding the Smart School concept nation wide, increasing the role of school administrators as curriculum leaders, strengthening monitoring and evaluation activities on teaching and learning, strengthening evaluation mechanism of student performance, increasing school and community collaborations, and reviewing the rate of per capita grant to schools.


Issues and Challenges

2.3 One of the pertinent issues for preschool is the low enrolment rate of preschool among children aged 5+ years. At the primary level, the MOE has not met its goal to ensure all Year One school children complete 6 years of primary education.

2.4 The challenge to MOE is to increase accessibility to preschool and primary education to ensure all children aged 5+ years obtain education and all children aged 6+ to 11+ years complete primary education. The MOE faces the challenge to provide all schools with computers and increase the use of ICT in teaching and learning. The MOE also needs to increase equity in preschool and primary education, especially to provide equal access to quality educational facilities for all children; increase provision of special  education opportunities; encourage greater participation of the private sector, NGO’s, community, and individuals in education funding; and ensure sharing of school facilities in the implementation of Vision Schools.

2.5 Other issues at the primary level include the wide differences in  academic and co-curricular achievements according to school types and location as well as low proficiency of Malay and English languages as preparation for secondary education among primary school children. The challenge to the MOE is to increase the quality of preschool and primary education including the provision of adequate numbers of trained teachers and increasing basic education facilities.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Implementation Strategies

6.4 The MOE will expand its sources of funds by encouraging the private sector and individuals to provide funds directly to educational institutions; increase the participation of the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and individuals in financing education programmes; introduce competitive fees for foreign students at all public educational institutions; and issue bonds that are backed by the Federal Government.

6.5 The strategies to enhance efficiency in financial management include upgrading of knowledge and skills in financial management among education managers; giving more empowerment to those managing education finance; establishing more educational institutions as Responsibility Centres (Pusat Tanggungjawab); strengthening financial monitoring activities; and providing continuous supervision of the expenditure of all educational programmes.

6.6 Steps will also be taken to increse the number of incomegenerating agencies especially those involved in training, consultancy services, publishing, and marketing their own products; increase the quality of R&D carried out in all departments, divisions and corporate bodies of the MOE and other public higher education institutions, and commercialising the R&D products; expand the operations and increase the effectiveness of income-generating agencies; and establish more trust accounts for educational institutions.

6.7 The Blueprint plans to increase private sector participation in funding educational programmes through provision of incentives and encouragement for direct financial contributions to educational institutions, create smart partnerships between public and private higher education institutions with the private sector, and create a cost sharing mechanism in providing facilities for training and R&D activities.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


UNESCO should be commended for incorporating the component of communication and education at the planning stages of establishing a UNESCO Chair on ‘Integrated Management and Sustainable Development in Coastal regions and in Small Islands’. Practitioners in development now recognize the significance of communication and education, particularly at the community level, and the environmentalists firmly believe in this in Kenya, as demonstrated by the training wo rkshops at community level and among the media. In my opinion, the most critical factor in the formulation of a communication and education strategy for any development effort is that the community should drive it. This is based on the realization that without the participation of the community, the sense of ownership and responsibility will be lacking. This has severely compromised many development programmes and projects related to sustainability. Any communication and education strategy must therefore begin with a community development and participatory approach.

This highlights the importance of the audience in the strategy. A comprehensive needs assessment should be undertaken as the first step and address the following questions:

• What do members of the community feel about sustainable development in respect to coastal regions?

• What factors have resulted in the degradation, of coastal regions?

• What is the level of awareness among the community on sustainable development?
• Is there a repository of indigenous knowledge and practice that promotes sustainable development in regard to the coastal regions?
• What are the existing communication networks and systems?
• What are the preferred channels of communication?
• How can information on sustainable development in the coastal region be packaged in a simplified, interesting and palatable manner that will interest the community?

The needs assessment will assist in the planning of the strategy because audiences should be segmented and specific for effective communication. Further, available avenues of communication, such as radio-listening groups where they exist can be tapped into and utilized, thus reducing the cost in terms of acquisition of communication channels.

The strategy should be both long-term and short-term. The long-term strategy should be aimed at developing a sustainable communication and education system at the community level: ultimately, the Chair can be envisaged as a technical arm which provides relevant information as demanded by the communities. The advantage of this is that such information will be specific to particular areas and communities and will be based on their priorities, leading to their ownership and active involvement because they will determine how the programme will operate.

This also means that fe e d b a ck mech a n i s m s should be efficient, effective and significant to
the process. The mass media can be considered as a possible tool to raise awareness and for advocacy. Most media studies indicate that the mass media are most effective in raising awareness and to lobby for policy changes among decision-makers and opinion leaders. The radio and newspaper for instance can be used to inform and educate this category, who can be encouraged to incorporate messages of sustainable development in their meetings such as barazas, and even in religious gatherings.

I n t e rp e rsonal commu n i c ation has been found to be highly effe c t ive in political commun i c at i o n , p a rt i c u l a rly wh e re the mass media is somewh at curt a i l e d. Other deve l o p m e n t agents such as social development wo rke rs and c o m munity development offi c e rs can be targeted, to enable them to include messages on sust a i n able development in their contact with
c o m munity members. The strat egy on the whole should be mu l t i d i s c i p l i n a ry and it should use a multi-media pers p e c t ive to enabl e the planners to re a ch a va riety of audiences
e ffe c t ive ly and to re i n fo rce the most cru c i a l m e s s ages. At the fo rmal leve l , the school system can be used as the ch i l d - t o - child communi c ation method has proved to be of gre at
impact in the health sector. This will involve using the educational stru c t u re and integrat i n g
a component of sustainable development into the school curri c u l u m .

At the university level, institutions of communication and journalism can be targeted to enable the Chair to instill messages of sustainable development in the media and to develop their interest and solid knowledge in the topic. Training workshops can be an effective method in sensitizing this cadre of workers: it can also be extended to those in the teaching profession, community development officers and those in social work. This summarizes my idea of what the workshop should add ress. I hope to part i c i p at e actively in the planning and implementation of the programme.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Human Capital

Author: Gary S. Becker**

To most people capital means a bank account, a hundred shares of IBM stock, assembly lines, or steel plants in the Chicago area. These are all forms of capital in the sense that they are assets that yield income and other useful outputs over long periods of time.

But these tangible forms of capital are not the only ones. Schooling, a computer training course, expenditures of medical care, and lectures on the virtues of punctuality and honesty also are capital. That is because they raise earnings, improve health, or add to a person's good habits over much of his lifetime. Therefore, economists regard expenditures on education, training, medical care, and so on as investments in human capital. They are called human capital because people cannot be separated from their knowledge, skills, health, or values in the way they can be separated from their financial and physical assets.

Education and training are the most important investments in human capital. Many studies have shown that high school and college education in the United States greatly raise a person's income, even after netting out direct and indirect costs of schooling, and even after adjusting for the fact that people with more education tend to have higher IQs and better-educated and richer parents. Similar evidence is now available for many years from over a hundred countries with different cultures and economic systems. The earnings of more educated people are almost always well above average, although the gains are generally larger in less developed countries.

Consider the differences in average earnings between college and high school graduates in the United States during the past fifty years. Until the early sixties college graduates earned about 45 percent more than high school graduates. In the sixties this premium from college education shot up to almost 60 percent, but it fell back in the seventies to under 50 percent. The fall during the seventies led some economists and the media to worry about "overeducated Americans." Indeed, in 1976 Harvard economist Richard Freeman wrote a book titled The Overeducated American. This sharp fall in the return to investments in human capital put the concept of human capital itself into some disrepute. Among other things it caused doubt about whether education and training really do raise productivity or simply provide signals ("credentials") about talents and abilities.

But the monetary gains from a college education rose sharply again during the eighties, to the highest level in the past fifty years. Economists Kevin M. Murphy and Finis Welch have shown that the premium on getting a college education in the eighties was over 65 percent. Lawyers, accountants, engineers, and many other professionals experienced especially rapid advances in earnings. The earnings advantage of high school graduates over high school dropouts has also greatly increased. Talk about overeducated Americans has vanished, and it has been replaced by concern once more about whether the United States provides adequate quality and quantity of education and other training.
This concern is justified. Real wage rates of young high school dropouts have fallen by more than 25 percent since the early seventies, a truly remarkable decline. Whether because of school problems, family instability, or other factors, young people without a college or a full high school education are not being adequately prepared for work in modern economies.

Thinking about higher education as an investment in human capital helps us understand why the fraction of high school graduates who go to college increases and decreases from time to time. When the benefits of a college degree fell in the seventies, for example, the fraction of white high school graduates who started college fell, from 51 percent in 1970 to 46 percent in 1975. Many educators expected enrollments to continue declining in the eighties, partly because the number of eighteen-year-olds was declining, but also because college tuition was rising rapidly. They were wrong about whites. The fraction of white high school graduates who enter college rose steadily in the eighties, reaching 60 percent in 1988, and caused an absolute increase in the number of whites enrolling despite the smaller number of college-age people.

This makes sense. The benefits of a college education, as noted, increased in the eighties. And tuition and fees, although they rose about 39 percent from 1980 to 1986 in real, inflation-adjusted terms, are not the only cost of going to college. Indeed, for most college students they are not even the major cost. On average, three-fourths of the private cost—the cost borne by the student and by the student's family—of a college education is the income that college students give up by not working. A good measure of this "opportunity cost" is the income that a newly minted high school graduate could earn by working full-time. And during the eighties this forgone income, unlike tuition, did not rise in real terms. Therefore, even a 39 percent increase in real tuition costs translated into an increase of just 10 percent in the total cost to students of a college education.

The economics of human capital also account for the fall in the fraction of black high school graduates who went on to college in the early eighties. As Harvard economist Thomas J. Kane has pointed out, costs rose more for black college students than for whites. That is because a higher percentage of blacks are from low-income families and, therefore, had been heavily subsidized by the federal government. Cuts in federal grants to them in the early eighties substantially raised their cost of a college education.

According to the 1982 "Report of the Commission on Graduate Education" at the University of Chicago, demographic-based college enrollment forecasts had been wide of the mark during the twenty years prior to that time. This is not surprising to a "human capitalist." Such forecasts ignored the changing incentives—on the cost side and on the benefit side—to enroll in college.

The economics of human capital have brought about a particularly dramatic change in the incentives for women to invest in college education in recent decades. Prior to the sixties American women were more likely than men to graduate from high school but less likely to continue on to college. Women who did go to college shunned or were excluded from math, sciences, economics, and law, and gravitated toward teaching, home economics, foreign languages, and literature. Because relatively few married women continued to work for pay, they rationally chose an education that helped in "household production"—and no doubt also in the marriage market—by improving their social skills and cultural interests.
All this has changed radically. The enormous increase in the labor participation of married women is the most important labor force change during the past twenty-five years. Many women now take little time off from their jobs even to have children. As a result the value to women of market skills has increased enormously, and they are bypassing traditional "women's" fields to enter accounting, law, medicine, engineering, and other subjects that pay well. Indeed, women now comprise one-third or so of enrollments in law, business, and medical schools, and many home economics departments have either shut down or are emphasizing the "new home economics." Improvements in the economic position of black women have been especially rapid, and they now earn just about as much as white women.

Of course, formal education is not the only way to invest in human capital. Workers also learn and are trained outside of schools, especially on jobs. Even college graduates are not fully prepared for the labor market when they leave school, and are fitted into their jobs through formal and informal training programs. The amount of on-the-job training ranges from an hour or so at simple jobs like dishwashing to several years at complicated tasks like engineering in an auto plant. The limited data available indicates that on-the-job training is an important source of the very large increase in earnings that workers get as they gain greater experience at work. Recent bold estimates by Columbia University economist Jacob Mincer suggest that the total investment in on-the-job training may be well over $100 billion a year, or almost 2 percent of GNP.
No discussion of human capital can omit the influence of families on the knowledge, skills, values, and habits of their children. Parents affect educational attainment, marital stability, propensities to smoke and to get to work on time, as well as many other dimensions of their children's lives.

The enormous influence of the family would seem to imply a very close relation between the earnings, education, and occupations of parents and children. Therefore, it is rather surprising that the positive relation between the earnings of parents and children is not strong, although the relation between the years of schooling of parents and children is stronger. For example, if fathers earn 20 percent above the mean of their generation, sons at similar ages tend to earn about 8 percent above the mean of theirs. Similar relations hold in Western European countries, Japan, Taiwan, and many other places.

The old adage of "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" is no myth; the earnings of grandsons and grandparents are hardly related. Apparently, the opportunities provided by a modern economy, along with extensive public support of education, enable the majority of those who come from lower-income backgrounds to do reasonably well in the labor market. The same opportunities that foster upward mobility for the poor create an equal amount of downward mobility for those higher up on the income ladder.

The continuing growth in per capita incomes of many countries during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is partly due to the expansion of scientific and technical knowledge that raises the productivity of labor and other inputs in production. And the increasing reliance of industry on sophisticated knowledge greatly enhances the value of education, technical schooling, on-the-job training, and other human capital.

New technological advances clearly are of little value to countries that have very few skilled workers who know how to use them. Economic growth closely depends on the synergies between new knowledge and human capital, which is why large increases in education and training have accompanied major advances in technological knowledge in all countries that have achieved significant economic growth.

The outstanding economic records of Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian economies in recent decades dramatically illustrate the importance of human capital to growth. Lacking natural resources—they import almost all their energy, for example—and facing discrimination against their exports by the West, these so-called Asian tigers grew rapidly by relying on a well-trained, educated, hardworking, and conscientious labor force that makes excellent use of modern technologies.

* From The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, part of The Library of Economics and Liberty, (no date)

Original version:

Further Reading

Becker, Gary S. Human Capital. 1975.

Freeman, Richard. The Overeducated American. 1976.

Kane, Thomas J. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of Tuition, Financial Aid, Local Economic Conditions, and Family Background." Unpublished manuscript, 1990.

Murphy, Kevin M., and Finis Welch. "Wage Premiums for College Graduates: Recent Growth and Possible Explanations." Educational Researcher 18 (1989): 17-27.

"Report of the Commission on Graduate Education." University of Chicago Record 16, no. 2 (May 3, 1982): 67-180.

About the Author

Gary S. Becker is University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago and the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. He was a pioneer in the study of human capital. He won the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics. (See also: Biography: Gary S. Becker.)**

**Biography of Gary S. Becker (from the same source as the above)

Gary S. Becker won the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics for "having extended the domain of economic theory to aspects of human behavior which had previously been dealt with—if at all—by other social science disciplines such as sociology, demography and criminology."

Becker's unusually wide applications of economics started early. In 1955 he wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago on the economics of discrimination. Among other things, Becker successfully challenged the Marxist view that discrimination helps the person who discriminates. Becker pointed out that if an employer refuses to hire a productive worker simply because of his skin color, that employer loses out on a valuable opportunity. In short, discrimination is costly to the person who discriminates.

Becker showed that discrimination would be less pervasive in more competitive industries because companies that discriminated would lose market share to companies that did not. He also presented evidence that discrimination was more pervasive in more regulated and, therefore, less competitive industries. The idea that discrimination is costly to the discriminator is common sense among economists today, and that is due to Becker.

In the early sixties Becker moved on to the fledgling area of human capital. One of the founders of the concept (the other being Theodore Schultz), Becker pointed out what again seems like common sense but was new at the time: education is an investment. Education adds to our human capital just as other
investments add to physical capital. (For more on this, see Becker's article, Human Capital, in this encyclopedia.)

One of Becker's insights was that a major cost of investing in education is one's time. Possibly that insight led him to his next major area, the study of the allocation of time within a family. Applying the economist's concept of opportunity cost, Becker showed that as market wages rose, the cost to married women of staying home would rise. They would want to work outside the home and economize on household tasks by buying more appliances and fast food.

Not even crime escaped Becker's keen analytic mind. In the late sixties he wrote a trail-blazing article whose working assumption was that the decision to commit crime is a function of the costs and benefits of crime. From this assumption he concluded that the way to reduce crime is to raise the probability of punishment or to make the punishment more severe. His insights into crime, like his insights on discrimination and human capital, helped spawn a new branch of economics.

In the seventies Becker extended his insights on allocation of time within a family. He used the economic approach to explain the decisions to have children and to educate them, and the decisions to marry and to divorce.

Becker was a professor at Columbia University from 1957 to 1969. Except for that period, he has spent his entire career at the University of Chicago. He holds joint appointments in the departments of economics and sociology. Becker won the John Bates Clark Award of the American  Association in 1967 and was president of that association in 1987.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Everyone these days knows about the economic and socio-cultural importance of coastal and marine ecosystems. But in most of Africa, they are under constant attack as industry develops and unthinking use of natural resources increases. In Cameroon, for example, the coast and sea are afflicted by serious ecological problems. Such areas are much in demand because of the copious natural riches they contain, so there are environmental conflicts over the gathering and use of resources such as fish, oil, minerals, timber and farm products. Land disputes are especially acute in port cities such as Douala. The conflicts are usually limited to Cameroon itself but sometimes they spill across national borders. Disputes about maritime pollution are quite common along the coast of Cameroon. One example is the conflict, in the southwestern province, between the local population and officials of MINEF and MINEPIA over the use of chemicals by inshore fi s h e rmen. Another is between the wealthy people of the province and the oil companies, which have polluted the waters of the Rio del Rey, which are often used for domestic purposes. Then there are the ongoing battles involving local fishermen angry at low prices for their catch and the trawlers that sometimes destroy their nets. The natural resources themselves are both over-exploited and affected by many kinds of pollution.

The growth of ports also brings with it several kinds of pollution from the wharves, from ships, dredging operations and from contamination by urban sewage. The main effect of such pollution, and silt deposition, is cloudiness of the water, which reduces production of phytoplankton. The ocean floor environment is also changed by sedimentary deposits and waste material. Human health is affected too. We have some foul-smelling beaches which threaten the health of local people because they spread intestinal diseases like cholera and hepatitis. Shipping movements and related activity are also sources of pollution. About a tonne of copper ends up in the sea every year as a result of big ships repainting their hulls.

Monday, October 25, 2010



In 1995 the Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) initiative in Kenya based on the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) and other international protocols brought together hoteliers, researchers, planners, resource managers and relevant university departments to profile the problems confronting the coastal residents outside Mombasa town. To consolidate the issues in the study area and endorse strategies to address them, other stakeholders had to be included to complete the evaluation and make a comprehensive list of suggestions. These were administrators, boat operators, mangrove t ra d e rs , fi s h e rmen and tourism serv i c e providers. A lead institution for co-ordinating the effort was identified.

Th rough this part i c i p at o ry pro c e s s , the issues to be add ressed we re identified as rapid urbanizat i o n , d e cline in reef fi s h e ries and water quality, e rosion of the shore l i n e, d egra d ation of other coastal ecosystems and use conflicts. Both short - and long-term strat egies to solve the pro bl e m s we re also evo l ved and synthesized in a ‘ s t rat egie s ’ document to be implemented by various pe rtinent institutions/people based on mandate, ex p e rience and tech n i c a l / fiscal cap ab i l i t y. To start w i t h , some demonstration projects are being put in place to show off the real value of ICAM as a tool to manage coastal re s o u rces. To sustain the e ffo rt s , vo l u n t a ry technical wo rking groups on the va rious issues we re put in place and will execute and ove rsee the implementation of the va rious strat egies on behalf of a secre t a ri at and a multi-institutional Coastal Management Steeri n g Committee (CMSC). As a Co-o rd i n ator of the p roject for the last four ye a rs I would like to share h e re my ex p e rience with colleagues in the regi o n .


Formal education empowers and fully integrates an individual into his immediate and global community. The level of formal education in the majority of our coastal communities is low. As a
result, the environment and the biology of the resource base is not fully appreciated nor are conservation principles for sustainable use. For example, local stakeholders do not know that coral is a living organism that requires certain conditions for its continued growth and development. Their educational status also excludes stakeholders from knowledge of alternative uses of coastal products or substitution of other products to avoid overexploitation. The status also reduces risk taking in adopting new, appropriate and still affordable technologies.

Fortunately, with the type and amount of research information available on the study site, the challenge to raise awareness and encourage participation in implementing specific development strategies is a feasible one.


Cultural education and experience is knowledge that has been accrued over the generations by practice and habit. This cultural practice is therefore proven and it is definitely sustainable. M o d e rn ap p ro a ches to coastal management have to accept this information base and interweave the cultural experience with modern science in order to achieve the desired results. Custodians of cultural education tend to be resistant to parting freely with their knowledge. Appropriate incentives need to be evolved to reward the sharing of indigenous knowledge when it is sought for incorporation into planning development programmes. Such knowledge exists in boat making, sailing, night fishing, seasonal movements of pelagic fish schools, upwelling, selective fishing etc.


The success of coastal projects will be largely determined by how good a working rapport is established among all the stakeholders including government and the beneficiaries/supporters of
the projects. When bad communication/publicity is given about our coastal tourism, for example,
appropriate communication should be given to correct the record in order to sustain an industry
which accounts for up to 60% of total national tourism. Translation of policies, strategies and priorities into various local languages should be encouraged even though in Kenya we are united
by a national language that originated from the coast. Our experience has been amply shared through national radio and international conferences and our strategy document has been put on the Internet by our collaborators at the University of Rhode Island. The proposed codes of conduct for our conservation areas and the environmental impact assessment procedures to be incorporated in the government environment policy are highly articulated. On-the-job training, training of trainers and refresher courses appear to be the most efficient methods of communication with target groups already engaged in specific enterprises; it updates the workers on the latest technologies and methodologies. The benefits cut across generations as you make future leaders aware of coastal problems early in their lives.


Another determinant of the long-term success of the ICAM process is the development of a critical mass of trained pers o n n e l , a functional national framework and a sustainable financing
scheme tailored mainly from within individual c o u n t ries. This development will guara n t e e intensification, expansion and nationalization of the ICAM pilot projects. Continued sharing of experience and extensive use of technical expertise from elsewhere is encouraged. In this way, national efforts will be regionally and internationally integrated.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Can news – fleeting info rm ation – help people to understand better the notion of integrated management of coastal regions in a context of sustainable development? Defi n i t e ly yes. Because the media, m a i n ly the independent written pre s s , is the last re s o rt for those who have been pushed aside by a development project wh i ch has taken scant notice of the socio-economic and ecological factors involved. There, they can express themselves and even vent their anger about it. This jars with the idea of integrated management which should be shared by eve ryone invo l ved in coastal deve l o p m e n t .

Mauritius is an island of coastal tourism, which uses up an enormous amount of coastal resources such as beaches, important natural geological sites, lagoons and coral reefs and other aspects of the landscap e. The touri s t industry is an important part of the country’s economic development and brought in US$459 million in revenue in 1997, making it the third biggest source of income after agriculture and manufacturing. The 1.1 million people of Mauritius welcome 600,000 tourists each year and the number is expected to reach an annual average of 845,975 by the year 2002. All of the 90 registered hotels are on the coast, where tourist facilities take up 41.9 km of the 322.5 km of the coastal zone of the 1,860 km2 island.

But the tourist industry may collapse if these resources are not managed in a way that co-ordinates the activity of interdependent elements with a view to sustainable development. It is significant that after years of unregulated development, people are now starting to talk about sustainable tourism. This famously fast-growing i n d u s t ry also affects the inhabitants of the coastal areas and their environment; conflicts often find their way, when all else fails, into the columns of the island’s newspapers. The need for sustainable development of the environment was first mentioned in the Mauritian press in 1990, though the concept had been launched by the Stockholm declaration in 1972, when tourism in Mauritius was taking off in a big way. It came up in the reporting by the newspaper Week-End of a scandal over construction of a hotel, started in 1989, at Balaclava on the northwest coast, which has the only bay in Mauritius where 90% of the coral is still living. The coral reefs at this unique spot, which has been earmarked as the site of the island’s first underwater park, were bulldozed to build a water-skiing lane. The outcry led to a new environmental protection law in 1991 which requires all new tourist projects along the coast to undergo an environmental impact assessment before getting the go-ahead. But another crucial part of sustainable development – the social aspect – was not dealt with.

Once more through Week-End, exasperated fishermen protested in 1993 against the dredging of
a lagoon at Trou d’Eau Douce, on the east coast, to build an artificial island for the Sun Resorts hotel group. The dredging permanently changed the water currents and jeopardized the inshore fishing, which was one of the local community’s main economic activities. The upshot of the media protest was that the hotel developer recognized the harm the project had done to the community and the fishermen were paid compensation. But the lagoon’s ecological balance has still not been restored and the fishermen, with the help of the money they
got, have turned to other work related to tourist development.

An overall awareness of what sustainable development is about has steadily gained ground and the part played by communication, using the written press, is very clear. Examples of it are increasingly cited by the newspapers and there are now opportunities for discussion and analysis
leading to awareness of its importance, especi a l ly wh e re integrated management of the island’s coastal areas is concerned. The press helps with reports, interviews and big articles, in non-technical language that is easy to understand and supports people’s concerns about the


At a deeper level, the spread of information about the environment along with a greater involvement of education in sustainable development programmes leads fi n a l ly to people understanding that natural resources are limited and that it is the job of all of us to look after them. So starting with the agents of communication and with journalists, we have to know the scientific facts about the ecosystems and how human activity affects them. The press is a powerful and essential tool in creating this awareness, especially at decisionmaking level, either in government or the private sector. Just like the media, sources of informal education such as bookshops, nature reserves and parks, training courses and research centres fit in with the aim of educating people to manage the environment. But messages from various sources can confuse things. The news can help the cause, as we have shown, but there needs to be greater involvement through specialized training. The task of e d u c ation in sustainable development programmes in coastal areas is to encourage economic activity and behaviour that is consistent with sustainable development by increasing the know-how and knowledge of the ecosystem and
natural resources. So alliances should be made among community groups, non-governmental organizations, industries and those involved in formal and informal education.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


During the past four years there has been much discussion in the Seychelles about sustainable coastal development and integrated coastal zone management. Various stakeholders, including rep re s e n t at ives from educat i o n , h ave been involved in an array of sometimes unrelated national and regional workshops on the subject. Inevitably, one of the outcomes of all of these meetings is the recognition of the vital role education must play in the development of a society able to live sustainably in coastal areas. As the Seychelles is an archipelago of small islands, most of its land area can be considered to be coastal, and most human activities have a direct impact on the coastal environment. For example, as new roads and housing developments cut into the hillside, rain washes loose red earth into the sea where it settles on sea grass beds and coral reefs. Pesticide and fertilizer runoff from agricultural activities eventually finds its way to the sea. Sewage from faulty domestic septic systems along hillsides and on the coast seeps into rivers and is then washed down to the sea. Most industrial developments are along the coast, where their effluent poses a potential hazard to coastal and marine life. The dumping site on the main island of Mahe is located on reclaimed land (coral fill) along the coast where leachate seeps into the adjacent sea. Environmental education activities that seek to address these problems all potentially could have a impact on sustainable coastal development. Since the early eighties, the Seychelles Ministry of Education has placed a strong emphasis on the environment in the national curriculum at primary and secondary school levels. Since this time, Seychellois pupils have learnt about the sea and coast in a range of subjects including science, English, art, French, Creole, and geography.

More recently, the Ministry of Education brought out an environmental education policy, outlining its commitment to further development of environmental education in the national curriculum from Crèche (nursery) to Polytechnic. In 1997 a curriculum guidelines document was produced which details a series of environmental learning objectives to be integrated into the national curriculum; it includes a strong focus on the marine environment. At present a new unit on coastal environments is being developed for the primary school science programme, and another is planned for secondary school geography. Part of the Ministry of Education’s strategy to further integrate environmental education into the curriculum is to provide training in environmental education (EE) for in-service and preservice teachers. Since 1993, short workshops on various aspects of EE have been offered every year for primary and secondary school and polytechnic teachers. In addition, in 1994 the local teacher training institution introduced a popular optional module on environmental education for pre-service primary and secondary school teachers. Teacher training initiatives aim to provide teachers with opportunities to learn more about the local environment and ecology, environmental problems, and provide them with first-hand experience through field trips and project work.

However, due to several constraints, schools at present are limited in their capacity to provide students with opportunities to participate actively in projects re l ated to sustainable coastal development as part of their timetabled lessons. It is rather in the context of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that students are being more actively involved in coastal and marine conservation education. For example, each year in the Seychelles, the Ministry of Tourism collaborates with diving centres and the Ministry of Education to organize a festival of underwater photography, the ‘SUBIOS’ festival. Included in the annual programme of activities are art and creative writing competitions for sch o o l ch i l d re n , wh i ch are taken up as co-curricular activities by art and language teachers. This popular event provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to get involved in learning about coastal a reas. In add i t i o n , SUBIOS guest speakers (internationally renowned underwater photographers and marine biologists) make presentations in schools on a range of topics related to the marine environment.
A local non-gove rnmental orga n i z at i o n , Wi l d l i fe Clubs of Sey chelles (WCS), wo rks in close collab o ration with the Ministry of Education to co-o rd i n ate a netwo rk of ex t ra - c u rri c u l a r e nv i ronment and wildlife clubs in schools. W C S o rga n i zes training sessions for club leaders to fa m i l i a ri ze them with local wildlife and conservation issues. Many of these clubs wo rk on activities pertinent to sustainable coastal deve l o pm e n t , s u ch as monitoring coastal wildlife, v i s i ting coastal hab i t at s , t ree planting along coastal a re a s , visiting marine park s , cleaning beach e s e t c. In Ju n e, 1 9 9 8 , in re c ognition of the Year of the Ocean, all the wildlife clubs joined toge t h e r for a march through the capital to promote the p rotection of oceans and marine life. More re c e n t ly, clubs orga n i zed and perfo rmed a va riety show for the ge n e ral publ i c, wh i ch fo c u s e d on the protection of the marine env i ronment. A t p re s e n t , WCS is wo rking on a coastal and mari n e a c t ivity book for ch i l d re n , wh i ch will include a va riety of indoor and outdoor activities to help ch i l d ren learn about the marine env i ronment and p a rt i c i p ate in conservat i o n .

The Ministry of Education also works in partnership with the Division of Environment (DOE), which is mandated to co-ordinate environmental education initiat ives targeting the general public. The DOE works alongside the media (television, radio and newspapers) to produce regular articles, and television and radio p rogra m m e s , wh i ch often focus on coastal development issues as well as school environmental initiatives in this domain. In general, the situation in the Seychelles at the moment is conducive to environmental education initiatives, particularly in primary and secondary schools where there now exists a network of committed and enthusiastic teachers. The Ministry of Education’s close partnership with the Division of Environment and Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles is producing results: we are slowly beginning to see the development of a new generation of youth concerned about, and committed to, sustainability, including sustainable coastal development.

H oweve r, t h e re still remains room for furt h e r d evelopment and new initiat ive s , p a rt i c u l a rly in t e rms of strengthening our co-o p e ration with other small island states. Th rough our part i c i p ation in the technical wo rkshop in Map u t o , M o z a m b i q u e, on ‘ S u s t a i n able Integrated Coastal M a n age m e n t : The Role of Education and Commu n i c at i o n ’ , we hope to establish new contacts with other individuals and orga n i z ations so that we can learn from them and share our ex p e ri e n c e.

Friday, October 22, 2010


In Ta n z a n i a , e nv i ronmental degra d ation of coastal areas is a serious problem, which has escalated in the last 10 years, such that it has now given rise to serious concern. Tanzania’s coastline stretches 800 km along the Indian Ocean, which like other developing countries is experiencing rapid change. The following examples show the dimension of the problem. Dar es Salaam used to have very clean and at t ra c t ive beaches as well as commendabl e tourist beach hotels. But some, if not most of them, are now in danger of falling down because of coastline erosion.

Waves reach the beaches at a terrific speed and as a result erosion is inevitable. This has become possible because of, among other reasons, dynamite fishing, which has destroyed the coral reefs which used to buffer the hotels. Thus, dynamite fishing has not only destroyed life in the sea, but has given the sea a free ticket to destroy the beaches. The Hotel Africana was swallowed by the waters a few years ago, others which might also face extinction in the coming few years include Bahari Beach Hotel, Kunduchi Beach Hotel, Silver Sands Hotel and White Sands Hotel,
which was built just a few years back.

In efforts to fight erosion, hotel owners have c o n s t ructed stone and concrete barri e rs on beaches, but such measures have not stopped the erosion. Apart from that, the construction of these structures has made these beaches ugly and unsuitable for beach - go e rs incl u d i n g tourists. So it is just a matter of years before these hotels will be rendered useless like their predecessor, Hotel Africana.

Another beach hotel has just been stopped in its tracks. This one was being constructed along the Oysterbay. The point about this project is that the hotel, being built by a big businessman in Dar es Salaam is within 60 metres of the shore. This is contrary to the law on such projects. The law says that a hotel should be built a distance of more that 60 metres from the shore. This project was approved during the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi’s tenure in office. This raised a lot of eyebrows in the country. The speed at which it was being built also raised a lot of questions.

However, during the campaigns for the general election in 1995, one of the presidential candidates promised to deal with the issue as one of his priorities, if he won. Well, he won and a few months later he said the project owner followed the right procedures to acquire the plot so he did not see the logic in stopping the project. However, a presidential commission on corruption maintained that the plot might have been allocated through corrupt means. This was partly because the law was in force when the alloca-tion was made after it was turned down several times before.

The project owners, Indian Ocean Hotels Ltd., stopped constructing the hotel more than a year ago. There are reports that the government has ordered the demolition of the hotel and offered to compensate the developers for the costs incurred so far. It is said that the owners were issued with a permanent restraining order by the City Commission two years ago and consequently suspended work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Essential need for human communication

To communicate is essential to Christian ministry. If we look into the early Church as reflected in the Acts of the Apostles we find that at that early stage everybody was a communicator of her/his faith. “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” it says in Acts 8,4 referring to the persecution in Jerusalem (cf. also Acts 11,19-21!). Even when exiled, persecuted and driven away they communicated and shared their faith and conviction to people around them. In fact they saw it as a special calling and grace to become this way missionaries of the early faith community. It was the Holy Spirit who guided and ‘inspired’ them beyond any technical means. “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip…” (8, 26); “Encouraged by the Holy Spirit” the church grew in Judea, Galilee and Samaria (9, 31); “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul…” (13, 2) “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in the province of Asia…” (16, 6) This should not be different in the communication of the Church today! Therefore a proper communication education has to start on this personal and spiritual level. It has to start with the Holy Spirit!

Here we might also look in a special way into the ways and means of Jesus’ communication. How did the master himself communicate? He is not the “perfect Communicator” because he was successful in the modern sense of the word. He did not convert the Pharisees and the scribes but
he communicated the love and care of the Father and His Kingdom. He became the perfect communicator because he lived and practiced the basics of any human and Christian communication! He communicated in word and deed. The circumstances of his life, his birth in the manger, his death on the cross are a communication of God’s love and his humility to become
one of us. It is “giving of self in love” which is at the essence of Jesus’ communication of any Christian communication as one of the church documents described it (Communio et Progressio, 1971, no. 11).

Jesus’ healing and dealing with people reflects the basics of Christian communication. The healing of the mother in Law of Peter (Mk 1, 31) is just one example: He goes to her, holds her by the hand, and lifts her up i.e. heals her. These are the basics of any human and Christian communication which have to be developed already from the early stages in the seminary as an essential habit of a minister:

 Go to a person
 Place yourself into her/his situation (‘shoes’), and
 Lift her/him up, help and heal in the power of God/Christ.

If all our ministries and even our own lives and dealings with each other would be based on these
three steps our own communities and the world probably would be different! This shows also that seminary education in communication is not first and foremost a technical task but rather a concern for a deep spirituality and faith. It might be good at this stage also to remind ourselves that there is a great difference between training and formation which comes into play here. Training is concerned about skills whereas formation leads to an inner disposition. What we need first and foremost is a proper formation which is not only reflected in a curriculum but rather in the spiritual formation and the personal relationship and experience of the Lord. It really means to put on the body and soul of Christ in relating with others, in our own “giving of self in love” (C+P 11). It is not measured first and foremost in the ‘Doing’ but rather in the ‘Being’. Communication education in the seminary must start on the level of formation and develop from
there. Placed into an overview one might see the different levels and concerns in the following

· Education > Knowledge
· Training > Skills: ‘Doing’
· Formation > inner disposition: ‘Being’

Proper communication education starts on the level of formation which is not only taught in words and prescriptions but on the level of deep spirituality and faith and example. This must also be considered as a special concern in Asia because our Asian cultures are based and have their essential identity from their spirituality.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Aims for Development

8.1 The development plan for ICT in education within the next 10 years aims to intensify the development of ICT infrastructure; expand access to and equity for ICT facilities; expand ICT-based curriculum; improve on the assessment and evaluation systems using ICT; emphasise ICT integration in teaching and learning processes; improve on ICT knowledge and skills among students, teachers and personnel; intensify ICT usage in education management; improve on the management and maintenance of ICT equipment; increase R&D efforts in ICT; and increase cooperation between educational institutions and the community towards expansion of ICT in education.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


A foreign investor proposes to start prawn farming in the delta of the Rufiji River, which is the largest river in Tanzania. The project will involve the construction of ponds covering an area of 15,000 ha. This project, has generated a lot of controversy, both in terms of the number of the villagers who would be displaced and the long-term effects of environmental degradation to the area. Some people, opposed to the project, went to the extent of likening it to the tragedy which has befallen the Ogoni people in Nigeria, whose land has been extensively degraded by activities
of the multi-national oil companies.

The Rufiji Delta people themselves are also d ivided on the issue. Th e re are those who support the pro j e c t , citing its economic benefits (including employment ) , and those who oppose it. Those in opposition are supported by a my riad of env i ronmentalists including vocal non-gove rnmental orga n i z ations such as the Env i ro n m e ntal Jo u rnalists Orga n i z ation of Tanzania (JET), the Land Rights Research and Resources Institute (LARRRI) and the Tanzania Gender Netwo rk i n g P rogramme (TGNP) as well as the National Env ironmental Management Council (NEMC), wh i ch conducted an env i ronment impact assessment and advised the gove rnment against the pro j e c t . Despite all the opposition, the government approved the project. Although the project has yet to start, the people of Rufiji have gone to court to protest it. Let me at this juncture point out the ve ry c o m m e n d able job done by the media in Ta n z ania in cre ating awa reness and ge n e rating deb at e on the Indian Ocean Hotel saga and the Rufi j i p rawns pro j e c t , wh i ch is yet to take off. It wa s t h rough the media that people became awa re of the violation of their right to access the beach and the law wh i ch prohibits putting up perm anent stru c t u res on public beaches. The people of Rufiji came to know of the prawns pro j e c t after the media had interc epted some documents rega rding the project and immediat e ly made it public know l e d ge. Though the gove rnment has ap p roved the pro j e c t , most Rufi j i a n s a re not for it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Broader Approach to Communication

These basic considerations need still a further dimension to show that communication education is not only about Mass Media but needs a much broader approach which includes especially also the cultural dimension. The Second Vatican Council was the first Catholic Church assembly of that level which issued a document on “Social Communication,” Inter Mirifica.

The expression Social Communication was proposed by the preparatory commission for the document in saying that expressions like Mass Media, Media of Diffusion, Audio-visual means and similar would not be sufficient to express what the Church is concerned about. This proposal
was accepted and became the standard expression in the Catholic Church but it was later adapted by secular communication institutions especially in Latin America.

Social Communication refers, beyond mass media, to all means and ways of communication in and of human society. It includes communication through traditional means like storytelling, dance, theater, music etc. as well as the modern means. It covers the whole range of human communication in society and thus creates a special challenge also for the communication education in seminaries.

Future Christian ministers must be open and possibly be trained in the proper application of communication means and methods which are part of our cultures. Many times, especially in rural areas, this communication is still more effective than modern technical means because it includes the direct personal involvement of the communicating parties. Such an awareness and support of traditional communication can also help to mitigate or even integrate possible negative effects of globalization especially on young people.

Christian faith has to be contextualized and inculturated which is not done necessarily with the modern means. This broader approach to communication, however, which gives equal ‘right’ to the basics of human communication and the traditional means of communication leads towards that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Curriculum for social communication

How could a Curriculum for Communication in seminary education look like?

1. It first has to be stated again, that there is the basic need for communication formation on the
human and spiritual level. This is not done with a course alone but through the whole formation program and an open communicative atmosphere in a seminary. The three basic steps of human and Christian communication, to go, to embrace and immerse and to lift up (cf. Mk 1,31) are not only taught but practiced in daily life. If especially at the beginning of theological studies an introductory course could be given to make the students more aware of the basics of this human/Christian communication it would set the tone for all the following studies and activities in theology. In fact, I am teaching such a course since almost 20 years at the Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay, Philippines. Every school year the students of the first year of theology have in the first semester an obligatory course “Introduction to Social Communication” where we talk mainly about human communication, the theological dimension of communication and only in passing about the basics of media and group communication. (This is reflected in the textbook we use: “Communicating in Community,” where the first two chapters are more extensively covered, whereas the others are given only in the basics as far as time allows.)

2. We can not escape the fact, that the modern world is a world of communications. Pope John Paul II calls the world of communication “the first ‘areopagus’ of the modern age which is unifying humanity and turning it into what is known as a ‘global village’. The means of social communication have become so important as to be for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behavior as individuals, families and within society at large. In particular the younger generation is growing up in a world conditioned by the mass media.” (Encyclical Redemptoris Missio 1990, 37c) This requires from every theology student more than from others the ability of critically seeing and using the means of communication in daily life. It is the purpose of Media or Communication Education to bring this basic knowledge and develop a critical mind especially in young people. It actually should be an obligatory course and training already on the high school and college level. Such education introduces into the workings of modern media, their structures, means and methods. It shows e.g. the basic elements of a news item, how the different radio and TV programs are produced but also how communication companies are structured and try to exercise power in conquering the mind and taste of people for their purposes…

3. After this basic training there is a need for a special course on pastoral communication especially in the later development of theological studies: how to communicate in Ministry and Mission. How do the modern means of communication influence and determine those people we live with and we are to care for? How can we make good use of these means in our ministry to serve the needs of people better and bring them nearer to the Lord? The people we work with are living in a world determined by the media and even we are consciously or unconsciously part of it ourselves. How can we let the Holy Spirit come into such a situation? The same holds also for those ministries, who serve people from or in other cultures. Our communication has to adjust and be determined by these cultures because it is always the recipient who is the ‘basis’ for our decision making and our communication approach. Jesus starts with the life and concerns of the people. We have to do the same in our time!

In addition to these basic courses and approaches for every seminarian there should be also some offers for more specialized courses, especially for students with greater interest and some communication capabilities of their own. Thus there could be a film-club as a regular activity where seminarians once or twice a month watch a movie, discuss the content, methods in presenting the story and a critical evaluation. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony from Los Angeles has written 1992 a “Pastoral letter for Film Makers, Film Viewers: their challenges and opportunities” (cf. Eilers: Church and Social Communication. Basic Documents. Manila 1997) which could be very helpful for such an activity. Talented seminarians could also themselves practice radio and television productions or become part of such either on their own or in existing companies. Journalistic practices can be developed and taught. When I was a seminarian we had a “Press-group” where we wrote news items and articles for existing newspapers and periodicals; they were printed and published and we were very proud of it. Many of us saw our names printed for the first time…

Today we have new communication and information technologies. How are we going to ‘use’
them in our ministry and how can they help? What’s about E-vangelism, cyber-missionaries or
similar activities and possibilities?

Other fields like Media or Communication Ethics should also not be overlooked. They can be
part of Moral Theology but really would need a broader study in our times.

5. The need for serious research in the field of social communication and theology has also to be mentioned here. When Pope John Paul II talks about the “new areopagus” he also mentions that there is now a “new culture”. This culture “originates not just from whatever content is eventually expressed, but from the very fact that there exist new ways of communicating, with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology.” Such a situation calls for deeper research and study which is very often missing in our Christian communication activities. We very often live and work more according to trial and error than based on serious study and research. This is not only a call on theological faculties or other specialized bodies. Also seminary students should be involved in research and looking deeper into issues. They can be encouraged to write respective papers or even do their thesis on a communication related subject. They can be involved in surveys to discover a certain communication situation. Thus I did two years ago with my students a study on how young people in the areas around the theological school and in some parts of Manila use and see modern media in their lives. Unfortunately we have only very few scientific publications specializing in this field. It is high time that we go deeper to explore the ‘market’ but also to see better the different possibilities for God’s Word in our time.