Nauru

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Overview

Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island nation in Micronesia in the South Pacific Ocean. Its nearest neighbor is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 km to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometres (8.1 square miles). The population of Nauru is 9,378 (July 2012 estimate according to CIA's World Factbook). Its capital is Yaren. Settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific, and after the war ended, it entered into trusteeship again. Nauru was declared independent in 1968. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Nauru was a "rentier state". Nauru is a phosphate rock island, with deposits close to the surface, which allow for simple strip mining operations. This island was a major exporter of phosphate starting in 1907, when the Pacific Phosphate Company began mining there, through the formation of the British Phosphate Commission in 1919, and continuing after independence. This gave Nauru back full control of its minerals under the Nauru Phosphate Corporation, until the deposits ran out during the 1980s. For this reason, Nauru briefly boasted the highest per-capita income enjoyed by any sovereign state in the world during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, and the environment had been seriously harmed by mining, the trust established to manage the island's wealth became greatly reduced in value. To earn income, the government resorted to unusual measures. In the 1990s, Nauru briefly became a tax haven and money laundering centre. From 2001 to 2008, it accepted aid from the Australian government in exchange for housing a detention centre that held and processed asylum seekers trying to enter Australia. From December 2005 to September 2006, Nauru became partially isolated from the outside world when Air Nauru, the only airline with service to the island, ceased to operate. (The only outside access to Nauru was then by ocean-going ships.) The airline was able to restart operations under the name Our Airline with monetary aid from Taiwan. In December 2009 Nauru became the fourth country to recognise Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, regions of Georgia which had been de facto independent since the early 1990s and were recognised as such by Russia.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Nauru.

Education in Nauru

For a general description of education in Nauru see Education:Nauru.


The education system is challenged by Nauru's small size, remoteness, political and economic history, especially post the exhaustion of the phosphate resources of the island. The education system in Nauru experienced near-collapse during 2000– 2005. During these years, schools on the island barely functioned. The aftermath of the crisis was a sharp decline in the number of schools at all levels, closure of schools and the departure of most skilled teachers. (1)

e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Nauru.


Distance education on Nauru dates back to the early post-independence period, when distance education courses were provided through the Nauru Education Department. The USP Centre in Nauru (now the Nauru Campus) was opened in 1987. The Nauru Campus is the major—and almost the only—distance education provider on the island. It provides audio and video-conferencing facilities, library and computer laboratory, as well as Internet and email access to Nauru students studying through distance education. USP students at Nauru can choose from the hundreds of distance education courses available from the University. Despite the range of courses available, distance enrolments at the Nauru are extremely low. In 2008, the EFTS student load at the Nauru Campus was only 20 students, in part due to the pipeline effects of the chaotic conditions of 2000–2005. (3)

Nauru is an active participant in OLPC Oceania project. This is a joint initiative of the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, (SPC), the One Laptop per Child Foundation, OLPC Australia and OLPC New Zealand. In 2009, two schools in Nauru were provided with XO laptops on a pilot basis. A repository of lesson plans authored by Nauru Primary Teachers has been created on WikiEducator, but currently has only a single contribution. (3)

Quality procedures

Internet in Nauru

Internet hosts (2010) - 4,158

Internet users (2002) - 300

Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2001) - 2.99 (3)

Telecommunications on Nauru have been extremely poor. Recently however, mobile phone services and basic Internet connectivity togethewith island-wide radio and TV coverage has become available. (1)

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Nauru

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Nauru

The Nauru Government has expressed its support for the COL’s Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), a project concerned with the collaborative development of Open Courseware. The development of open courseware is also an element in the OLPC Oceania project. (3)

Radio Pasifik-Nauru -

A successful innovation is Radio Pasifik-Nauru, Triple 9 FM, an educational community radio station that was started in April 2007, and which distributes audio recordings of lectures. This community-based educational radio station was designed to assist students on Nauru to overcome isolation, frequent power cuts and the scarcity of transportation and fuel. Students from secondary schools and the University of the South Pacific (USP) can get help through the radio with their course work. The station broadcasts a range of programming, including lectures and tutorials recorded weekly at the USP in Fiji. Each week, these recordings are sent digitally to Nauru and re-broadcast over Radio Pasifik-Nauru. USP lectures and tutorials comprise about half the station’s programming. The rest consists of local programming or pre-recorded segments on current affairs and topical interests. Most interestingly, programming includes audio files produced by universities in Australia, UK, Canada, US and New Zealand and from social media sites. Radio Pasifik-Nauru demonstrates that innovative approaches can succeed in delivering distance educaton even under conditions of extreme isolation. Drawing on the University's satellite-communications network (USPNet), 2 staff members from Suva, Fiji and several volunteers from Nauru side blended live audio and video conferences, email, web/online resources and on-site tutoring in software and computer skills through training conducted by Nauru campus information technology (IT) staff. This training covered the basics of on-air announcing, script writing, broadcast ethics, simple audio-editing software, equipment operations, etc. It is a sister station to USP’s main student and community radio station, Radio Pasifik, Triple 8 FM, located at the Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji. Radio Pasifik is the University of the South Pacific’s educational community-based radio station, which began broadcasting in 1996 as an educational, non-profit community radio station. The University provided financial assistance of F$90,000 to redevelop Radio Pasifik, which had temporarily closed in 2010 until December 2011. The new station will be broadcasted in six languages and streamed via internet to reach listeners around the region. (2) Radio Pasifik-Nauru demonstrates that innovative approaches can succeed in delivering distance education even under conditions of extreme isolation. (1)

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

References

2. ReVica/VISCED page for Nauru (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Nauru)

3. ICDE Country Profile for Nauru (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/nauru/)

Reports

1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/RegulatoryFrameworksforDEfinalreport2.pdf on Tuesday 10th July 2012)


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