Historically, Micronesia has been colonized for centuries by countries including Spain, Germany, Japan, and now as a trust territory under the United States. Thanks to the Compact of Free Association (COFA) agreement, “The Compact of Free Association between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States was initialed by negotiators in 1980 and signed in 1982. Citizens of Micronesia are given certain benefits including health care, educational funds, and so forth.
However, the compact has done little impact to making notable change for the school system of Micronesia. The curriculum that K-12 and certain Micronesian colleges are being taught is not adequate to prepare them for either college or job opportunities outside of the islands.
Today, parts of Micronesia trace resemblances from their former colonizing countries from language, dance, religion, and other cultural practices. Although Micronesia freely embrace their Pacific culture today, despite these colonial resemblances, many Western institutions within the island region yield Micronesia from receiving an education that embrace both the Micronesian culture, as well as a challenging curriculum enabling students to critically learn. The culture of Micronesia is sacred to the islanders, despite being a territory of outside nations. After the war, the United States had provided a basic form of education to Micronesian islanders since being a territory after World War II, including basic mathematics and English.
For these reasons, I have chosen to work with the non-profit organization “Habele”, that not only provides educational resources to engage Micronesian students, but promotes education through a cultural lens. In collaboration with Habele, I proposed to focus on two projects: one, to redesign Habele’s website, and two, create digital stories of cultural pastimes including elders teaching the male youth canoe carving and women teaching the female youth weaving. Other footage I plan to take as well include footage from Habele’s Robotics team members and Former Habele scholarship winners on their views about education on the islands and how their views can help the work that Habele and other educational reformers in Micronesia strive for.
Goal #1: Motivate and introduce students of Outer Islands to pursue higher education through digital stories
- Create an introduction video for Habele to talk about accomplishments, goals, and upcoming projects
- Create digital story of Micronesian elders teaching cultural pastimes/hobbies/stories to youth (e.g. canoe carving, weaving, etc.)
Goal #2: Make the audience of the website aware of educational issues in the Micronesian community
- The digital stories will elaborate on education through the student’s perspectives
- The goals and accomplishments of Habele will be clearly elaborated on the website (e.g. libraries, robotics club, etc. and how these spaces and resources make a difference)