Kolisen Blong Leftemap Education (KoBLE) and its network members are calling on Education Authorities to fully implement a new Civics curriculum in all schools throughout the country.

All students need to understand the history of Vanuatu and how our democratic system came about and how it works. Voting is important, as is the choosing of suitable leaders, and our youth should be able to analyze the qualities of contesting candidates, looking at their support for the education system and the development of the country.

The Vanuatu Government, with support from New Zealand‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), launched Vanuatu‘s Civic Education Materials at the New Zealand Vanuatu Expo which took place at the Seafront in Port Vila in October 2021. KOBLE would like to acknowledge international donor partners‘ contributions to this launching and the production of the materials.

A Teachers‘ Guide and Student Workbook were developed to accompany the ‘Vanuatu Blong Yu‘ booklet designed for secondary schools.

Whilst curriculum development is the first essential step, its implementation in schools is yet to happen, and is badly needed. Clearly, people‘s belief in the electoral system is luke-warm. In Vanuatu‘s recent election of 13th of October 2022, the electoral office reported that only half of registered voters turned up to vote on polling day.

Vanuatu has a young population, with 60% of ni-Vanuatu under the age of 30. If the education sector does not educate these young people about governance and democracy, then there is a danger that the youth will be voting for candidates who promise gifts and projects, rather than those who show good leadership, have integrity and who will develop policies to make a change in society.

One of KoBLE network members, Ms Yasmine Bjornum from the Sista Vanuatu stated, “Young people need to understand that as a citizen of Vanuatu, they have a duty to contribute to this country. From a young age, they need to foster this sense of responsibility in them that they are part of something bigger and we must protect Vanuatu and help its development.”

The Education Authorities and other development partners need to focus on implementing the Civics curriculum in school and in the wider community, educating students in school, out of school youth and adult learners on the importance of voting for the right candidates, those who will represent their voice in parliament.

The KoBLE is a not-for-profit association of civil society organisations (CSOs) established in 2017 by six local CSOs. Members of the public are encouraged to join KoBLE as a member to advocate for the advancement of quality education in Vanuatu. The association is funded by Global Partnership for Education under the Education Out Loud (EOL) program.