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NZ-Australia $14m education grant

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Children of Tonga to benefit from $14million grant from New Zealand and Australia

19 August 2011.

The quality of the education of the children of Tonga is about to receive a much needed lift, due to a $TOP 14 million pa'anga total grant from Tonga's traditional partners and neighbours, New Zealand and Australia.

The grant is for the current financial year of 2011/2012 to be utilised in various education projects aimed at raising the quality of education that Tongan children receive, and to help foster equality of opportunity in the countries education services.

New Zealand and Australian have agreed to contribute a total of $TOP 7.9 million, to the Ministry's activities. In addition, the two countries contributing $TOP 3 million each towards scholarship opportunities for Tongan students. So all together there is an infusion of almost $TOP 14 million this year to help develop education in Tonga.

The Ministry have year marked the contributions to fund four major programs which are critical importance to the education of the children of Tonga. These are in the areas of Teacher education, curriculum development, assistance to schools especially non-government schools and the administration of the education in Tonga.

For the first several years, Tonga's resources were such that the training and upgrading of teachers were mainly confined to those in the Government schools. But with about 80% of all secondary schools students attending non-government schools, the funding will allow Tonga to upgrade her teaching force as a nation, by bringing in teachers in the non-government sector to attend a formal course of study in teacher education. Other activities include upgrading the Tonga Institute of Education, and assigning some teaching and education degree students to complete their programs.

The Ministry continues to develop and refine the curriculum so that the students receives an education that is relevance, righteous and culturally-appropriate. The curriculum for the primary schools have been completed and now fully implemented.

The grant will have to extend curriculum development up to the form 2 level, and to also three new subjects of Movement & Fitness, Creative Technology and Tongan Studies and Culture. The grant will also enable the Ministry to begin work on Form 3 to Form 7 materials, in anticipation of the legal age for education being changed from its current range of 6-14, to the mandate of 4-18.

The funding from New Zealand and Australia will also be deployed to address the severe disparity in the quality of education delivered between Government and Non-government schools. The existing school grant scheme will be expanded to help all participating non-government schools. It is the intention of government to shoulder the salaries of all teachers when the economic situation of the country has reached a more satisfactory level.

The assistance from New Zealand and Australia comes at an opportune time to enable the Ministry to strengthen its operations and to develop the tools to guide, monitor and evaluate its activities.

The support from New Zealand and Australia will enable the Ministry to complete revising Tonga Education Act, to be tabled in Parliament by October this year. In addition, the grant will enable the formulation of a five-year plan, and the development of monitoring and evaluation tools to assess the effectiveness and impact of Ministry's activities. The revision of the way that examinations at the secondary school levels have been designed and conducted will also be looked at as part of the grant components.

The Ministry has set for itself an ambition but eminently achievable tasks of moving the country forward in education by addressing relevant issues on several fronts, simultaneously as such the Minister of Education, Women Affairs and Culture, the Hon. ‘Ana Maui Taufe'ulungaki said, that the Ministry is most grateful for the support of the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Australia and their contributions towards the building of a better future for all the children of Tonga.


Issued by the: Ministry of Education, Women Affairs and Culture, Nuku'alofa, 2011. Photos: MIC


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