The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum  
   Cook Islands
  Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region  


Previous Page Next Page

PART II ANALYTIC SECTIONS

6. PROGRESS TOWARDS GOALS AND TARGETS

6.0 Conventions and Declarations

During the past decade the Government has signed a number of international conventions and declarations that formalise the Cook Islands commitment to equitable access to relevant, quality education for all its citizens.

6.0.1 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The Cook Islands ratified the CRC on 6 June 1997, thereby making a commitment to the child’s right to education. Article 28 of CRC establishes that right. Education is recognised to be essential for all children. The article stresses the right must be achieved on the basis of equal opportunity". This in summary includes:

Making primary education compulsory and available free to all;

Promoting the different forms of secondary education and vocational education;

Making higher education accessible to all;

Making educational and vocational information readily available; and

Taking measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and reducing dropout rates.

6.0.2 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

The Cook Islands endorsed the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in September 1994. As such, the Government pledged:

To achieve universal access to quality education, with particular priority being given to primary and technical education and job training, to combat illiteracy and to eliminate gender disparities in access to, retention in, and support for, education;

To promote non-formal education for young people, guaranteeing equal access for women and men to literacy centres; and

To introduce and improve the content of the curriculum so as to promote greater responsibility and awareness on the interrelationships between population and sustainable development; health issues, including reproductive health; and gender equity.

6.0.3 Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

The Cook Islands acceded to the CEDAW in 1984. By doing so, the Government acknowledges the strategic objectives contained within CEDAW relating to the elimination of gender discrimination against girls and women. These include:

Ensuring equal access to education;

Eradicating illiteracy among women;

Improving women’s access to vocational training, science and technology and continuing education;

Developing non-discriminatory education and training;

Allocating sufficient resources to monitor the implementation of educational reforms.

6.0.4 Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development

The Cook Islands was a signatory to 1995 Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and thereby, pledged their commitment to the rights and goals relating to education that are contained in this declaration. In summary these are:

The right of all children to education;

That school discipline will be administered in a manner consistent with the child’s dignity;

To encourage the international cooperation in education especially to eliminate ignorance and illiteracy;

That the education of the child should be directed to developing the personality of the child, their talents and mental and physical abilities: developing respect for the child’s parents, cultural identity, language and values; preparing the child for responsible life in a free society and developing respect for the natural environment.

6.1 EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT

In 1998, 26 of the 36 schools in the Cook Islands catered for pre-school students. These comprised 20 government schools and 6 private schools. Two schools (both private) catered solely for pre-school students, 10 catered for pre-school and primary students, and 14 catered for pre-school, primary and secondary students. In 1998, 74 % of pre-school students were enrolled in Government schools. The majority of the students (57 %) lived on Rarotonga. Other than official schools, the only recognised early childhood programme is conducted at the Ngaei Tou Memorial Centre on Rarotonga. The centre is operated by the Disabled Persons Society and catered for 12 special needs pre-school students in 1996. A number of private Child Care centres operate on Rarotonga but no information is available on their programs or the number of children they cater for.

6.1.1 Early Childhood Gross Enrolment

The Education Sector Action Plan aimed to achieve enrolment ratios of 90 % by 1996 and 100 % by 2001. However there is no indication of any progress towards achieving these goals. The 1997 gross enrolment ratio was 64.2 %. This is 7.8 % less than the 1991 gross enrolment ratio of 69.6 %. Total enrolment also decreased by 16% between 1996 and 1997 and no significant improvement has been recorded in subsequent years.

1997 Enrolment

3.5 - 4 year

GER

Gender

Total

Pre-schools

Others

Population (1)

%

Parity Index

NATIONAL TOTAL

447

447

697

64.2

1.2

Male

214

214

360

59.4

Female

233

233

337

69.2

Northern TOTAL

70

70

96

72.9

1.2

Group Male

38

38

57

66.7

Female

32

32

39

82.1

Southern TOTAL

126

126

212

59.4

1.0

Group Male

61

61

105

58.1

Female

65

65

107

60.7

Rarotonga TOTAL

251

251

389

64.5

1.2

Male

115

115

198

58.1

Female

136

136

191

71.2

(1) Calculated by summing the 4 year old population and half the 3 year old population.

… = data not available

Note : GER = Preschool enrolment / 3.5 – 4 year population x 100 %

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, March 1997

Census of Population and Dwellings 1996, Statistics Office, December 1996

The significantly higher enrolment ratio of females (69.2) compared to males (59.4) is reflected in the Gender Parity Index of 1.2 . In all regions the gross enrolment ratio for females exceeds the ratio for males with only the Southern Group approaching parity. However the Southern Group parity is due to low ratios for both males and females rather than higher male enrolments.

The Northern Group, not only has the highest overall gross enrolment ratio (72.9), but also has the highest ratio for both females (82.1) and males (66.7). The Southern Group has the lowest ratios for males, females and overall.

The reasons for differences in regional and gender enrolment ratios are not known and will need to be investigated in order to restore parity for males and to increase the overall national enrolment ratios.

Early Childhood Enrolments 1993 - 1999

Year

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Preschool roll

530

527

529

530

447

460

422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preschool enrolment in the Cook Islands from 1993 to 1996 remained relatively constant at about 530 students. In 1996, the Cook Islands began to feel the impact of the economic crisis. One year later, the preschool enrolment had decreased by 83 students or 16%. The total decrease in the Cook Islands population during the same period is estimated at 8 %.

6.1.2 Early Childhood Attendance by New Entrants

No reliable data is available on early childhood attendance by new entrants to primary Grade 1. In July 1999, the Ministry of Education sent a survey form to all schools in the Cook Islands requesting information on the number of Grade 1 new entrants, who had attended at least 200 hours of some form of organised early childhood development programme. At the time of writing, insufficient responses had been received to present any indicative figures.

6.1.3 Early Childhood Education Policy and Curriculum

The 1992 Education Sector Action Plan recommended the development of a new early childhood curriculum framework by 1993. This was achieved in 1998 with the publication of the "Draft Policy Framework for Early Childhood Education in the Cook Islands". This document established the new curriculum elements (subjects) for early childhood education in the Cook Islands and also established specific objectives and strategies to develop a more effective and efficient early childhood education sector. The draft policy advocated :

improving the quality of early childhood education teaching by preparing and implementing a curriculum statement for early childhood education in the Cook Islands and by developing and providing a variety of educational resources to support the new curriculum.

increasing the number of trained teachers by establishing a pre-service training course for early childhood teachers and providing in-service training assistance.

improving early childhood quality by the provision of better information about ongoing development of the early childhood sector.

improving the education of pre-school children by promoting awareness amongst parents and in communities of the parent’s role as the first educator of their children.

6.1.4 Early Childhood Education Teacher Training

A target of the 1992 Education Sector Action Plan was the provision of training for 100 % of early childhood teachers. By 1998 all 31 early childhood teachers in the Cook Islands had received training relevant to the new policy framework.

A comprehensive program was initiated in 1997 as part of the Education Development Project. In April 1997, 14 participants were involved in a 2 day planning workshop and another 26 participants were involved in a National 4 day planning workshop. In October 1998, 38 participants attended a National workshop on Early Childhood Curriculum implementation. On-island training has been initiated with a workshop on Mangaia for 11 participants. The Ministry of Education employs an Early Childhood Education Adviser who continues to provide advice and training opportunities for Early Childhood teachers throughout the Cook Islands.

6.1.5 Public Expenditure on Early Childhood Education

The Education Sector Action Plan recommended an increased percentage of the education budget be allocated to early childhood and primary school education. Recent data does not include expenditure on post secondary education therefore no direct comparison can be made between previous and current percentage shares. However a recent cost analysis indicates that expenditure per preschool student in 1997/1998 may be more than double that recorded between 1991 and 1995. However this conclusion is tentative due to probable differences in reporting methods.

Public Current Expenditure on Preschools

Public current (1) expenditure on

Pre-schools ($NZ)

% of education budget (2)

Pre-school

Roll

(3)

Expenditure per student ($NZ)

1991/92

176, 700 (a)

2.4%

467

378

1992/93

176, 700 (b)

2.2%

575

307

1993/94

174, 700 (a)

1.9%

530

330

1994/95

176, 300 (b)

2.1%

527

335

a = actual expenditure b = budget estimates only

Sources :

(1) "Estimates of the Expenditure of the Government of the Cook Islands"91/92, 92/93, 93/94 and 94/95.

(2) Calculated from total education expenditure from the "Cook Islands Annual Statistical Bulletin June 1999", Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management

(3) Ministry of Education's Directorate of Planning and Finance, August 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government expenditure on early childhood education from 1991 to 1994 remained relatively constant at about $NZ 176, 000 or $NZ 340 per enrolled student. The methods used by the Ministry of Education prior to 1996 to determine actual expenditure by level is unclear. Changes to the budget process and the devolution of outer island schools to the Ministry of Outer Islands Development in the second half of the decade prevent the precise determination of expenditure by level of education. However a cost analysis conducted in December 1998 by the Ministry of Education’s Directorate of Planning and Finance estimated total government expenditure on preschool education in 1997/98 at $NZ 363, 696. This equates to 6.1 % of the total education budget (excluding post secondary education) and an average of $NZ 791 per preschool pupil.

6.2 PRIMARY AND BASIC EDUCATION

6.2.1 Introduction

The government has established schools on all permanently inhabited islands to provide education from Grade 1 to at least Grade 10 (Form 4). This education is "free" in that students are provided with free stationery and the payment of school fees is not compulsory. Private schools also provide basic education for students on Rarotonga and on 3 of the Southern Group islands. In 1998, there were 2, 711 primary school students (Grades 1 – 6) and 3, 955 basic education students (Grades 1 – 10).

6.2.2 Apparent Intake Rate (AIR)

The Apparent Intake Rate (AIR) in the Cook Islands is the number of Grade 1 new entrants divided by the number of 5 year old children in the country. The legal requirement for children aged from 5 to 15 to attend school implies that a fundamental goal of education in the Cook Islands is that all 5 year old children will be enrolled for primary school education. The Apparent Intake Rate of 104.0 % and an analysis of the Net Intake Rate confirm that virtually all 5 year old children are enrolled in the education system.

1997 New Entrants Total New Entrants aged 5 years Total 5 year old age population AIR (Apparent intake rate)

%

NIR

(Net intake rate)

%

AIR GPI NIR GPI
NATIONAL TOTAL

469

289

451

104.0

64.1

0.9

1.0

Male

255

154

239

106.7

64.4

Female

214

135

212

100.9

63.7

Northern Gp TOTAL

63

46

68

92.6

67.6

0.7

0.8

Male

38

27

36

105.6

75.0

Female

25

19

32

78.1

59.4

Southern Gp TOTAL

167

108

150

111.3

72.0

1.1

1.2

Male

85

51

79

107.6

64.6

Female

82

57

71

115.5

80.3

Rarotonga TOTAL

239

135

233

102.6

57.9

0.9

0.9

Male

132

76

124

106.5

61.3

Female

107

59

109

98.2

54.1

GPI = Gender Parity Index

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, March 1997

Census of Population and Dwellings 1996, Statistics Office, December 1996

In the Cook Islands there are 3 intakes of Grade 1 students each year. These are usually in February, May and August. Four year old children are permitted to enrol if their birthday occurs soon after the month of enrolment. The enrolment data used for statistical purposes, including this report, is taken in March and therefore records Grade 1 enrolment from the February intake only. It is expected that the Grade 1 roll would increase with each successive intake during the year.

The 1997 Apparent (Gross) Intake Rate (AIR) for the Cook Islands was 104.0 % indicating that the total number of Grade 1 new entrants exceeded the official school entrance age (5 year old) population. The high AIR value is mainly due to a large number of 4 year old children being enrolled at Grade 1 level. Four year olds, in fact, make up 37 % of Grade 1 new entrant enrolments.

The relatively low AIR of 92.6 % in the Northern Group is due to the very low female AIR of 78.1 % . An analysis of the raw data shows that the low values are due to Grade 1 repetition and the small population exaggerating variations, rather than any significant problem with access to education. The total number of 5 year old females in this region was 32 of which 29 were enrolled in schools ( 2 in preschool and 27 in Grade 1). Only 3 female children are not enrolled in a school but due to the small population size the effect on ratio values is a significant 9 point reduction.

6.2.3 Net Intake Rate (NIR)

The Net Intake Rate (NIR) of 64.1 % simply indicates that about 64 % of 5 year olds are new entrants to Grade 1. A further 30% of 5 year olds are enrolled in Grade 1 as repeaters and about 7 % are enrolled in Grade 2. Therefore, virtually all 5 year olds in the Cook Islands are enrolled in schools.

6.2.4 Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER)

It is a legal requirement for all children aged from 5 to 15 to attend school. The Gross Enrolment Ratio of 111.4 % for primary level and an analysis of the Net Enrolment Ratio confirm that virtually all 5 – 10 year old children are enrolled in the education system. In terms of basic education (G1 – 10), 98.6 % of 5 – 14 year old children are enrolled at school with less than 60 children (0.4 %) not complying with the legal requirement of school attendance.

1997 Data

Total enrolment

5 - 10 year old enrolment

Official school-

Total

Public

Private

Total

Public

Private

age population
NATIONAL TOTAL

2,882

2,452

430

2,543

2,166

377

2,588

Male

1,531

1,309

222

1,348

1,154

194

1,358

Female

1,351

1,143

208

1,195

1,012

183

1,230

Northern Gp TOTAL

441

441

0

399

399

0

410

Male

232

232

0

211

211

0

208

Female

209

209

0

188

188

0

202

Southern Gp TOTAL

989

874

115

855

755

100

869

Male

527

460

67

452

395

57

471

Female

462

414

48

403

360

43

398

Rarotonga TOTAL

1,452

1,137

315

1,289

1,012

277

1,309

Male

772

617

155

685

548

137

679

Female

680

520

160

604

464

140

630

 

GER (Gross

NER (Net

Gender Parity Index

enrolment ratio)

enrolment ratio

GER

NER

NATIONAL TOTAL

111.4

98.3

1.0

1.0

Male

112.7

99.3

Female

109.8

97.2

Northern Gp TOTAL

107.6

97.3

0.9

0.9

Male

111.5

101.4

Female

103.5

93.1

Southern Gp TOTAL

113.8

98.4

1.0

1.1

Male

111.9

96.0

Female

116.1

101.3

Rarotonga TOTAL

110.9

98.5

0.9

1.0

Male

113.7

100.9

Female

107.9

95.9

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, March 1997

Census of Population and Dwellings 1996, Statistics Office, December 1996

In 1997 the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for Cook Islands primary schools was 111.4 % i.e. the Grade 1 – 6 roll exceeded the total population of 5 – 10 year old children by 11.4 %. Underage students (less than 5 years) and overage students (more than 10 years) account for the GER exceeding 100. The GER of 111.4 % is the sum of 5 – 10 year olds (98.3 %), underage students (6.8 %) and overage students (6.3 %).

All regions recorded GER values over 100 % for both males and females. The overall gender parity index of 1.0 indicates equal access to education for both sexes with the slightly lower female ratios in the Northern Group and Rarotonga generally balancing the higher female ratio in the Southern Group.

The gross enrolment ratio for basic education is 102.8 % with no significant difference between males and females.

 

 

 

Previous Page Next Page