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Citizenship education focus on Tonga by Commonwealth Foundation 2013-14 grant

The Commonwealth Foundation, in the 2013-14 governance grant it has made through the Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE), is working towards more effective participation in governance by Tongan citizens. CCE’s Pacific Islands Citizenship Education Capacity Building Programme (PICE) wants Tonga’s citizens to have increased access to information on their Parliament and government.

The short term outcomes the PICE programme wants are:

–      MPs and women Parliamentary candidates and advocates trained and mentored in working with the media

–      Public and private media trained in reporting and interpreting aspects of Parliament and government

–      Experience of a New Zealand based Parliamentary setting for training of Tongan interns shared with Tongan media, and

–      Writing and publication proposal of the Tonga Guide to Local Government completed.

When the Speaker of Tonga’s Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, attended the Commonwealth Speakers Forum January 2014 in Wellington he supported a practice Parliament for Tongan women, likely in April Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa. Tonga’s Clerk, Mrs Gloria Guttenbeill-Poleo also said in Wellington that following the 2013 inaugural Tongan intern in the New Zealand Press Gallery, she hoped eventually more interns would be hosted. On July 29 2013 Lord Fakafanua had chaired a steering meeting at Tonga’s Parliament on Tongan citizenship education, attended by ministers, Parliamentarians, media, government and university officials and ngos.

Minister of Internal Affairs and Local Government, Lord Vaea, called for a Tonga Guide to Local Government – and a task force supported by CCE and the Commonwealth Foundation has worked on the Guide’s project proposal for potential donors and stakeholders. The chair of the Media Council of Tonga. Mrs Luseanne Luani and her predecessor Mr Pesi Fonua called for more and varied journalism training. Education minister Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki said Tongan culture should be the citizenship education foundation, introducing the Tonga Culture and Society syllabus.

Tongan Advisory Council chair and PICE programme member Melino Maka said Tongans at home and abroad call for reporting on Tonga’s Parliament and government affairs.

The PICE programme, as well as working with foundation supporters and stakeholders, is exploring innovations that particularly assist media and MPs – men and women – to help citizens to more effectively participate in governance.

Enhancing adult learning by interactive engagement.

E-learning, using multimedia, can add value to the training.

This could include, for example, a role play activity that engages the learner.

The capability to allow learners to use different perspectives gives courses cultural robustness.

PICE, supported by the Commonwealth Foundation and others, is trialing provision of training resources at PICE is exploring enhanced online training solutions through specialist e-learning providers.

Find out more:

Anthony Haas, NZ 027 242 2301
Director, Centre for Citizenship Education,

Melino Maka, NZ 027 563 5466
Chair, Tongan Advisory Council,


Updated 4 Feb 2014

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