Data Resilience Workshop for IT officers of Ministries of Education

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) recently concluded an important training workshop aimed at fortifying data resilience within the educational sectors of Pacific Island nations on April 29 to May 01, 2024. Hosted at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, Fiji, the Data Resilience Workshop brought together information and communications technology (ICT) officers from across the region to tackle the critical issues of data security and sovereignty. Ministries of Education in Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu had deputed senior ICT officers to participate while an IT staff member from the USP also joined in. The event was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand.

The workshop kicked off with interactive sessions that allowed participants to define and explore the concept of ‘Data Resilience’ collaboratively. Employing essence cards, groups analysed existing projects, identified key gaps, and engaged in thought-provoking discussions. As the workshop progressed, participants explored in-depth technical topics such as distributed database systems and cloud infrastructure, including Cloudlet solutions. Through a combination of lectures and hands-on activities, attendees applied theoretical frameworks like the CAP theorem to real-world scenarios, developing solutions tailored to the unique challenges faced by their respective ministries.

A significant outcome of the workshop was the unanimous recognition of the pivotal role played by Education Management Information Systems in ensuring data resilience. Despite varying levels of ICT capacity, all participants faced similar challenges, such as budget constraints and security concerns. This shared experience fostered a rich environment for peer learning and collaborative solution development.

The workshop underscored the universal need for robust data systems within the education sector across the Pacific region, showcasing COL’s unwavering commitment to promoting regional cooperation and technological empowerment. Participants praised the innovative use of gamification techniques in the training, which enhanced engagement and facilitated the exchange of ideas and best practices.

This activity is part of COL’s ongoing efforts to support educational resilience through technology, ensuring that ministries of education are well-equipped to handle both present and future challenges. As one participant noted, when talents across the Commonwealth are brought together by COL at the right time and place, new ideas emerge, and innovative solutions follow.

Dr Rajni Chand, Director of PACFOLD, COL’s regional centre hosted at the USP, organised the workshop. Mr Ricky Cheng of COL served as the lead resource person.