The economic and educational impacts of disengagement from education are profound to any nation. The Pacific education sector, and access to education more broadly, is under threat by the region’s increasing vulnerability to climate-related disasters. Alternative learning options, such as open, distance and flexible learning (ODFL), are important for increasing accessibility and improving the capacity and resilience of the education sector.

Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) together with the COL regional centre (Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development, or PACFOLD) hosted at the University of the South Pacific (USP), (the Partnership) are working together to support education continuity, enable equitable access to learning and training opportunities and increase access to relevant, high-quality tools and resources in nine Commonwealth Pacific Island countries (PICs): Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Evaluation for the Commonwealth of Learning and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Commonwealth of Learning and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade wanted a summative and formative assessment of the initial two years of the five-year funded Activity. The evaluation sought to make interim judgements about the efficiency, effectiveness, coherence and alignment, relevance, sustainable development outcomes, gender equality and resilient development outcomes of the Partnership for ODFL in the Pacific (the Activity).

The evaluation methods used to answer these questions included reviewing 147 secondary documents, undertaking a review of 48 of the available resources, and interviewing 20 people relevant to the design and delivery of the Activity. Given the tight timeframes and budget, these data were limited by the time available for the interviews and a lack of direct engagement with the intended beneficiaries. The evaluation relied heavily on the extensive secondary documents to answer the key evaluation questions.

The Lessons

One key lesson from the Activity was the advantage of the partnership approach. Here, the Partnership was able to build upon the collective expertise across different organisations to produce quality outputs, which were aligned to the good practice principles of open education resources (OER) and ODFL. Through the Partnership’s broad regional networks, they were also able to grow capacity among officials, teachers, TVET organisations and NGOs in the Pacific.

The report

The report is available here: content (

The executive summary is here: content (