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A newly formed group of Pacific media educators have joined together under the MEP (Media Educators Pacific), with a vision to make a difference in media training and education. 

Representing members are currently educators at the Technical, Vocational and Education Training (TVET) Media Institutes from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, who have united as a way to bring together the ideas and concerns of all education providers involved.

Representatives include Nora Tumua and Misa Vicky lepou (National University of Samoa - NUS), Eslyn Kaltongga and Dave Charlie (Vanuatu Institute of Technology - VIT) Siosifa Pomana (Tonga Institute of Higher Education - TIHE) and Shailendra Singh (University of the South Pacific - USP, Fiji). 

MEP was formed at the end of the second and final Pacific TVET Journalism Initiative Workshop held in Suva, Fiji, last week.  There was no representative from the Solomon Islands National University at the final workshop but there was indeed a clear support during the first meeting in January this year.

NUS Media and Journalism lecturer, Misa Vicky Lepou, who is also the spokesperson for MEP, said that regional educators have met a few times in the region and have seen the need to form such a group.

In a region where media is the least respected profession, Misa said that governments look to more revenue-earning industries and community interests to take care of and therefore affecting how each country’s media education courses are run.

She also said that Pacific educators tend to focus on what is happening on a global scale, forgetting what needs to be done on a local front.

“We work and live in an environment where we learn and observe so much from higher education institutions in Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

“We build our learning and teaching experiences on a global view that we are not often being heard of what low resourced institutions like us do need.”

“With MEP’s presence now in the region, we want to stay clear of our objective to get the best help we need to improve the quality and quantity of future journalists that do come through our institutions.

“We want to work together with all our stakeholders and we need their support.  For example, our first and foremost partners are the media industry that we, as educators need to forge a strong relationship as they are the immediate employers for our graduates.  We learn from the needs of the industry.”

However, MEP’s proposed plans will not function as a more formal group as in appointing an executive at this point.  It will operate as a semi-formal group where an online platform has been set up for educators and students to exchange ideas and resources amongst each other to see how well it goes over a period of time.

Such an online platform, such as an online chat room, will discuss MEP’s focus on the challenges educators face in terms of providing quality education.

“Our sector continues to face challenges and that is something we have in common.  Our current situation always has been that each TVET is on its own, finding ways to source and draw the attention of donors at some point to look more deeper into the reality of running short with resources and equipment, having limited space to expand its scope, or even staff turnovers that will continue to implicate on quality of media education in the region.”

“This is something we can work on under MEP.  We help each other in terms when one needs help.  We knock on those doors to assist.”

“We then look elsewhere such as short term training opportunities for media practitioners that can provide an avenue for media educators to upgrade skills, knowledge and attributes, but it isn’t a path that we, as educators continue to walk on.

“Should we choose to do so, our challenges across the region as media and journalism providers will not be fully addressed”, she added.

“We need to take that step ahead of the industry so we invest on producing quality and quantity of not just professional but qualified journalists in the region.”

MEP are currently working on ideas to get the initiative started, including a non competitive film festival to produce content, regional competitions through for print radio and online, regional media and journalism student awards.  “At least something we can achieve in the next twelve months for staff and students.  There is so much talent in the region, we just need to provide and take them through that pathway, not just any but the right pathway.”

“We would very much like to make this a pacific oriented group.  There are a lot of potential projects that we could do as a group.  We just need to come together as one body, one voice, one mind to address media training and education challenges in the region.”

“We can be very open minded about our vision and how we want this to be moving in the region but if we cannot walk the talk by fronting up to our challenges and put the needs of our students and stakeholders first, it will all be just another political game.”

Another MEP member echoed the way forward, USP’s Shailendra Singh said it is important to get something started this year.

“We will try and get something off the ground this year hopefully to create pathways for staff and student exchanges.” 

Misa said members need to go outside their comfort zones to gain the respect of stakeholders, including students, the media, institutions, and communities.

Part of the group’s vision is to also gain the support from educators in Australia and New Zealand. 

“You cannot stand tall like a mountain, as the saying goes,” she added.  “We will not refrain from inviting our bigger institution partners in Australia and New Zealand”.

Director of the Pacific Media Centre in New Zealand Professor David Robie said journalism cannot simply be taught in a classroom.

“Journalism is about publication and broadcast on multi-platforms these days and Pacific journalism educators need to ensure that they are upskilling their methods to not just keep up with the times, but to ensure they are introducing cutting-edge ideas,” said Prof. Robie.

Robie was also the Head of Journalism Programmes at the University of Papua New Guinea and USP for years.

He said that many issues confront the Pacific, including climate change, and there is too much dependence on Western news agencies and sources in the region.

“Pacific media groups should also be looking to educators in many other countries, not just Australia and New Zealand.  For example, the experience of journalists and educators in the Philippines is far closer to the Pacific reality than Australia and New Zealand.”

The group plans to use online platforms as a way of keeping in contact, share staff and student resources, create open chat forums, showcase and publish staff and students’ work and research and assist each other with content exchange.

Alistar Kata is a student intern under the NUS Media and Journalism School in partnership with a NZ based non-governmental organization called Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF).  She is of Cook Island, Maori (Ngapuhi) descent from Auckland, NZ and is studying towards her Honours year of the Communication Studies programme at AUT University.

By Alistar Kata

Misa Vicky Lepou during her presentation on MEP at the Suva TVET Journalism Initiative last week

MEP: Pacific Educators joining forces to improve delivery of media education and training in the region.



Digital and social media have changed the face of quality journalism over the last decade that media educators in the Pacific must adapt to in the delivery of the new Innovative Teaching Guide.

Media educators from the four Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) in the Pacific continue to deliberate on the proposed guide drafted earlier this year.

Following a comprehensive consultation in January, this week’s workshop aims at best practice in delivery of multimedia teaching materials within the project based learning model.

Funded by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS), the guide has also introduced two more new modules such as Climate Change and Disaster (CCD) Reporting as well as Digital and Social Media (DSM) Reporting.

Both modules were also designed for journalists in multimedia outlet newsrooms.

“The (DSM) module describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required by journalists to engage with digital and social media tools,” said Steve Sharp, Head of Telinga Media responsible for compiling the said guide.

“It introduces students to the ethical, technological and professional factors involved in the collection and communication of information through digital channels.”

Finding tactical media responses to crisis and disaster through digital and social media are some of the challenges most Pacific media newsrooms continue to face.

Reporting climate change issues and delivering disaster information for instances remain one of the greatest challenges for most Pacific journalists.

So the TVET educators’ gathering in Suva this week has again reaffirmed the need to deliver the modules through innovative approaches such as the project-based learning.

However, not all TVETs are fully equipped with the relevant technology needed for such guide to become fully fledged.

“The educators have also been presented with another course that is useful not just for media and journalism schools but respective outlets as well,” added Sharp. “Given the low digital infrastructure some regional countries or even institutions have, the course introduces students to skills and concepts underpinning audio visual production and explores a range of widely available technologies for media production including the use of smart phones or tablets and standard computer operating software.”

“We share the same challenges and we, as educators cannot take advantage of such basis of lack of resources, but to invest on what’s already been made available,” said Siosifa Pomana, a media lecturer from Tonga’s Institution of Higher Education (TIHE).

“It is in the best interests of student journalists and the industry that we offer this at the earliest convenience,” said Misa Vicky Lepou, a media lecturer with the National University of Samoa (NUS).   “The regional and global development issues are forthcoming and are in need of sharing and delivering that to the public especially those in the rural areas.”

Discussions this week will also focus on graphics module as part of information and message delivery.  Attending the second workshop are TIHE, NUS, Vanuatu’s Institute of Technology (VIT) and Fiji National University (FNU).

The workshop ends on Friday.

Some of the participants during a tour at the FNU’s Media and Journalism School.

TVET Media Educators at the PACMAS Pacific TVET Journalism Initiative in Suva.

The National University of Samoa’s (NUS) Department of Tourism and Hospitality welcomed new members of its Industry Advisory Panel this week.

A 10-member Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) has shown interest and support through the many developments that have taken place within the Department.

Representatives of the industry, commerce, ministries, professions and community will have the opportunity to participate in the development, delivery and review of programmes at NUS and where applicable, in the setting of competency standards.

“NUS’s external engagement is an important component that connects the relevant businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector to assist with the achievement of its overall strategic objectives,” said Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Tapu Iemaima Gabriel.

“The establishment of IAPs focuses on active advisory committees to support each programme, course or group of programmes and provides guidelines to ensure sustainability of these committees,” she said.

“It is a milestone in the development of tourism by coming together as a group to provide the best advice to the young men and women being taught at NUS before they are placed at the sector,” said Chairperson of IAP and General Manager of Samoa Scenic Tours, Tanya Grey.

“This is a way forward in the development of the country’s economy to ensure that we provide the best available training in this sector.”

The IAP will also greatly assist in taking in students for work attachment placements at the end of each year of study and report back to relevant programmes before they graduate.

For more information about the Department of Tourism and Hospitality, please visit our website on or visit us on Facebook.

Sitting row (l-r):Ane Moananu (CEO Chamber of Commerce), Joseph Lam (GM Scalinis Restaurant), Alexandra Rankin (CEO Samoa Hotel Association, IAP Vice Chair), Tanya Grey (GM Samoa Scenic Tours & Chairperson of IAP), Papalii Sonja Hunter (CEO Samoa Tourism Authority), Jackie Fepuleai (GM Global Travel and Tours), Beverly Levi (GM Amanaki Hotel).

Standing:Martin James (T&H Lecturer,) Poutasi Onesemo (T&H Lecturer), Faamausili P Toelupe (T&H Lecturer), Dulcie Wong Sin-Simanu (Samoa Tourism Sector Co-ordinator), Margaret Silva (GM Robert Louis Stevenson Museum), Tapu Iemaima Gabriel (HOD MT&H), Pauline Nafoi-Lee Hang (T&H Lecturer), Agnes Chan (T&H Lecturer).


The National University of Samoa (NUS) has launched an upgrade of its official website to disseminate the best available information regarding its daily activities.

This was made possible through the technical expertise of a Carribean-Pacific Island Mobility Scheme (CARPIMS) scholar who is currently based on campus.

He is Daren Dhoray with 16 years of Web Design experience. He is currently a webmaster for the University of West Indies.

Dhoray was seconded for one month under the CARPIMS to assist the NUS Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division revamps its website.

“Most universities make it very easy for their students to find information and they understand that new and prospective students will not be aware of the nomenclature or organizational structure of the university,” said Dhoray.

“So if they can’t find this information at a first glance they often just leave the website. We have statistics to show that the same may be happening here.”

“I was able to use Google Analytics to assist with the updated design. Statistics show that second to Samoa, most of the (NUS) traffic during April comes from the United States and other regional countries,” added Dhoray.

The website upgrade is one of the important steps that the university has undertaken with regards to information sharing through online to connect with its wider stakeholders.

“Making information available online is one of the first impressions on a prospective student, researcher or donor so we have to make sure it’s a good one,” said the Vice Chancellor and President, who is also the Website Committee Chair, Prof. Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Īlaoa Asofou So’o.

“We are grateful of Dhoray’s technical expertise to assist our ICT division in upgrading our website as we continue to try and be up there with the rest of the world.”

“We encourage everyone to visit our website to see what (NUS) offers in terms of its programmes, courses and community activities. Every information about us is now available online,” added Prof. Fui.

“The site is more responsive now than before where we have set up a call to action sections on the home page. It is no longer an advertising brochure but instead an interactive website that forces the user to click and get more information.”

From a fast paced environment in terms of technology and internet speed, Dhoray has left Samoa with the most challenging experience of ‘being uniquely different’.
 “We tend to focus more on work than other things. You have less of an appreciation of what matters more and I realize that Samoa’s way of life is different, looking at family and what matters the most.”

Dhoray leaves Samoa at the end of this week.


The International Symposium on ICT in development 2015 is jointly hosted by the National University of Samoa and Ibaraki University, Japan. The symposium aims to bring together academics and practitioners in the use or applications of ICT for sustainable development. 

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