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6.2.4 Net Enrolment Ratio (NER)

In 1997 the Net Enrolment Ratio for Cook Islands primary schools was 98.3 % i.e. 98.3 % of 5-10 year old were enrolled in Grade 1 – 6. However an additional 1.3 % of 5 to 10 year old children were enrolled at secondary school level and another 0.3 % enrolled in preschool bringing the total enrolment of this age group to 99.9%. High overall NER values were recorded in all 3 regions. The NER Gender Parity Index of 1.0 for the Cook Islands reaffirms equal access to education for both sexes. The female NER of 93.1 % in the Northern Group appears to be low but a further 3.5 % of 5 – 10 year females are enrolled at secondary level leaving only 7 girls (3.4 %) unaccounted.

The net enrolment ratio for basic education (G1 – 10) was 96.8 % with the female ratio (97.6) slightly exceeding the male ratio (96.0). However there are other 5 – 14 year old children enrolled in pre-schools or in Grades 11 – 13 who do not show up in this data. In fact 98.6% of all 5 – 14 year olds are enrolled in formal education and only 1.4% or less than 60 are not attending an official school.

6.2.5 Special Education

An aim of the Education Sector Action Plan was the provision of special needs units from 1993 onwards. A Hearing Impairment program has resulted from the Education Development Project and special needs units are located at Avarua School and the Ngaei Tou Memorial Centre. Community initiatives have also resulted in the Cook Islands Learning Disability program.

Rarotonga school age students may enrol at the Te Apii Apiianga Po-roro (Special Education Class) located at Avarua School. As the students develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they are progressively phased into the mainstream classes. The class had 12 students in 1998 and one teacher trained in special education. The teacher is also expected to visit home-based special needs students. Another staff member at Avarua School has been trained in Hearing Impairment through the Education Development Project and is to establish a program to identify and cater for the needs of hearing impaired students throughout the Cook Islands. A special education programme is also conducted in Amuri School on the island of Aitutaki.

The Ngaei Tou Memorial Centre is operated by the Disabled Persons Society and caters for preschool and adult special needs people. One staff member is paid by the Ministry of Education. In 1996 the centre catered for 6 attending pre-schoolers, 6 home-based pre-schoolers and 10 adults.

Source : Ministry of Education

The effort of one parent, who personally implemented a program to help her dyslexic child, has since evolved into the Cook Islands Learning Disability Program. With the assistance of PPSEAWA, a volunteer was sent overseas to study the Bannatyne System which is now used to assist school children with serious learning disabilities. At present, the program caters for about 40 students in 7 primary schools on Rarotonga and is conducted by 2 full time volunteers and 5 part time volunteers. The volunteers have also begun training courses for teachers.

Source : Jane Lamb, CI Learning Disability Volunteer, August 1999

6.2.6 Public Current Expenditure on Primary Education

An aim of the Education Sector Action Plan was to increase the early childhood and primary school share of the total education budget to 45 % by 1996 and to 50 % by 2001. Government’s commitment to increased funding for basic education was reaffirmed in 1997 when Cabinet endorsed the "Human Resource Development Policy Framework" which stated that "primary and secondary schooling to Lower Form 5 are to receive priority funding, and a greater proportion of the education budget".

The combined early childhood / primary school share of the education budget was 38 % in 1990. From 1991 to 1994 it ranged from 31 % to 34 %. Recent data does not include expenditure on post secondary education therefore no direct comparison can be made between previous and recent percentage shares. However an analysis of the available data indicates that the goal has not been achieved and that in fact there has been a decline in preschool-primary level expenditure since 1990. Although there is political commitment to increase proportional funding for the earlier years of education, the reality has been an overall decrease.

Year

Public current expenditure on primary education

Total public current expenditure on education

Total enrolment in primary education

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Total Population

(mid year)

1990

2,723,400 (1)

7,732,000 (1)

2,442

107,117,000

17,000

1991

2,307,600

7,419,000

2,526

120,781,000

18,200

1992

2,447,000

8,372,000

2,564

134,069,000

19,000

1993

2,732,400

10,666,000

2,708

148,999,000

19,700

1994

2,742,400

8,249,000

2,750

161,206,000

19,500

(1) 15 month financial year

(2) 1991 and 1993 expenditures are budget estimates

(3) 1992 and 1994 expenditures are actual expenditures

Year

Public current exp. on primary ed. as % of total public current exp. on ed.

Public current exp. on primary ed. as % of GDP

Public current exp. on primary ed. per pupil as % of GDP per capita

1990

35.2

2.0 (1)

14.2 (1)

1991

31.1

1.9

13.8

1992

29.2

1.8

13.5

1993

25.6

1.8

13.3

1994

33.2

1.7

12.1

(1) Corrected from 15 months to 12 months

Sources :

GDP, Total Education Expenditure and Population : "Cook Islands Annual Statistical Bulletin", Statistics Office, MFEM, June 1999

Primary Expenditure : "Estimates of the Expenditure of the Government of the Cook Islands"1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Enrolment : "1998 Education Statistics Digest", Ministry of Education, 1998

Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public current expenditure on primary education as a percentage of GDP declined from 2.0 % in 1990 to 1.7 % in 1994. A 0.1 % decrease was recorded in 3 of the 4 years. During this period GDP increased by 50 % while primary education expenditure increased by 26 %.

No official data on primary education expenditure is available from 1995 onwards. Both GDP and total public current expenditure on education decreased after 1994 (refer to Section 5.1) with GDP decreasing 10.5 % by 1997 and education expenditure decreasing 33.1 % in the same period.

b) Expenditure per pupil as a percentage of GDP per capita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as a percentage of GDP per capita decreased from 14.2 % in 1990 to 12.1 % in 1994. A decrease was recorded every year with the magnitude ranging from 0.2 % to 0.8 % .

The data indicates that between 1990 and 1994 a diminishing share of the value of the total domestic production of goods and services had been devoted to primary education. Although data on primary education expenditure is not available after 1994 it is highly likely that the decline continued until 1996 given that the total education expenditure rate of decrease was greater than the GDP rate of decrease and that the school roll continued to increase until 1996. A change in the downward trend is likely in 1997 when there was an increase in the total education budget coupled with a decrease in the school roll.

c) Expenditure as a Percentage of Total Public Expenditure on Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public current expenditure on primary education as a percentage of total public expenditure on education decreased from 35.2 % in 1990 to 25.6 % in 1993. An increase to 33.2 % was budgeted for the 1994/95 financial year but no actual expenditure data is available to verify that this was achieved.

The budget estimates for 1994 equate to anticipated expenditure of $ 997 per primary school student throughout the Cook Islands. A cost analysis conducted by the Ministry of Education estimated that the primary school share of the 1997/1998 education budget (which excludes post secondary education) was $ 2, 672, 945. This equates to $ 927 per primary school student, which is $ 70 or 7% less than the estimate for 1994.

6.2.6 Primary School Teachers Academic Qualifications

Improved teacher performance is one of the goals of the Education Sector Action Plan However the low number (53%) of primary school teachers claiming to hold the minimum academic qualification is a constraint for the future improvement of teaching and learning in the Cook Islands.

The minimum academic qualification in this report is taken as a pass (50 – 100 %) in at least one New Zealand School Certificate (NZSC) subject. This level was personally communicated to the EFA Coordinator in July 1999 by the Secretary of Education, Eric Ponia.

The data is derived from the Ministry of Education’s 1998 Education Management Information System with the raw data being self-reports from teachers rather than verified documentation held by the Ministry.

1998

Number of primary school teachers

Percentage of primary school teachers

Gender Parity Index

Total

With academic qualification

Certified to teach

With academic qualification (1)

Certified to teach (2)

(1)

(2)

NATIONAL

TOTAL

140

74

130

52.9

92.9

1.2

1.1

Male

18

8

15

44.4

83.3

Female

122

66

115

54.1

94.3

Northern Group

TOTAL

22

9

20

40.9

90.9

3.0

1.1

Male

6

1

5

16.7

83.3

Female

16

8

15

50.0

93.8

Southern Group

TOTAL

45

23

42

51.1

93.3

1.0

1.1

Male

6

3

5

50.0

83.3

Female

39

20

37

51.3

94.9

Rarotonga

TOTAL

73

42

68

57.5

93.2

0.9

1.1

Male

6

4

5

66.7

83.3

Female

67

38

63

56.7

94.0

Source : 1998 Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education

Only 53 % of primary school teachers in 1998 reported that they have academic qualifications equal to or higher than one pass in NZSC. The Gender Parity Index of 1.2 indicates that relatively more females than males have the required minimum qualification. However the total number of male primary school teachers is only 18 (13 % of the primary school cadre) and a change in status of only 2 males would result in parity.

The regional data (Rarotonga 58%, Southern Group 51% and Northern Group 41%) indicate that percentage minimum academic qualifications decrease with isolation from Rarotonga. 13 of the 21 private primary school teachers (62 %) reported having attained the minimum academic qualification. However a change in status of only 2 private school teachers would result in parity with government school teachers.

6.2.7 Primary School Teachers Teaching Qualifications

Improved teacher performance is one of the goals of the Education Sector Action Plan The high number (93%) of primary school teachers claiming to hold a relevant teaching certificate provides a relatively sound foundation for the further improvement of teaching and learning in the Cook Islands.

The Education Act specifies that teachers in the Cook Islands must be registered. To be registered, a person must hold a recognised trained teachers certificate, a relevant degree or diploma or have completed an initial course of teacher training (i.e. a teacher pre-service course). The minimum level of teacher training in this report is therefore taken as a Teachers Training College Certificate. The data is derived from the Ministry of Education’s Education Management Information System with the raw data being self-reports from teachers rather than verified documentation held by the Ministry.

The vast majority of primary teachers in 1998 reported that they had a teaching qualification equivalent to, or higher than, a Teachers College Certificate. The national average was 93 % with no significant regional variation. The gender parity index of 1.1 indicated that females were more qualified than males but the low number of males (18) precludes any firm conclusion that the difference is statistically significant. The high percentage of trained primary teachers is an outcome of the Cook Islands Teachers Training College which has run primary teacher pre-service courses for the most part of the last 40 years.

6.2.9 Inservice Training for Basic Education Teachers

The Education Sector Action Plan aimed to improve teacher performance through providing inservice training for 200 teachers by 1995. This goal was achieved by 1996 and further training over and above the original plan has been provided.

The Ministry of Education's Curriculum Development Unit has, for over 40 years, regularly provided teachers with relevant inservice training opportunities. Since 1996 the frequency and range of inservice courses have increased dramatically mainly due to the implementation of the Education Development Project. Inservice courses are also facilitated through the BELS programme (UNDP, UNFP, UNICEF, AusAID), the Awakening or Te Araanga programme (AusAID), the TESP project (NZODA) and the Inclusive Education project (NZODA). In 1997/98 alone workshops were planned for 149 teachers in Social Science, 8 in Agriculture, 8 in Tourism/Hospitality, 35 in English, 24 in Science, 20 in Mathematics, 6 in Life Skills, 35 in Early Childhood and 80 teachers in Inclusive Education. In addition, advisers conduct in-school courses to meet the specific needs of teachers in the school. The Senior Curriculum Advisor (Gill Vaiimene, personal communication) estimates that an average of about 200 teachers (67% of all teachers) have received some form of inservice training each year and in 1999 up to 80% of teachers will receive further training. Improved teacher performance has been reported as a consequence of the Inclusive Education course being delivered by the Wellington College of Education (NZ). However no definitive conclusion on whether overall teacher performance has improved since 1990 can be made as no system has been put in place to analyse and interpret the data available.

6.2.9 Inservice Training for Principals

The Education Sector Action Plan aimed to improve the quality of education through providing inservice training for 20 Principals by 1994. This goal was achieved in 1995 and further training over and above the original plan has been provided.

A 3 day workshop was held for 23 Principals and 4 Deputy Principals in August 1995 as part of the ADB Technical Assistance Institutional Strengthening of the Ministry of Education. Topics included school financial management, working with school committees and communities, and performance data collection and documentation. Primary and Secondary School Handbooks were also produced and distributed.

In 1997 the Ministry of Education conducted workshops for all Principals in the Cook Islands. The workshop covered school management, assessment and information processing. A program to develop quality management systems in Cook Islands schools was initiated in 1995 by the Ministry's Directorate of Audit and Quality Assurance. The Directorate has regularly provided all schools with guidelines, sample policies and in-school workshops and senior colleges have also received additional assistance from a Professional Development Facilitator employed under the TESP project. A positive outcome of the program is the accreditation of 7 of the 8 senior secondary colleges in the Cook Islands by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Quality management system development has been slower at the primary school and junior high school level especially in the outer islands. To improve school management at this level, the Ministry of Education has developed a project proposal for consideration by an aid agency. The proposal includes tertiary level management studies, school management advisors from New Zealand, distance education and school twinning.

6.2.11 Primary School Pupil / Teacher Ratio

The Adjustment Strategies advocated by the Education Sector Action Plan included the containment of unit costs through improved use of teachers. The increase in the primary student / teacher ratio in 1997 to 20.7 represents a move towards reduced unit costs. However this was a one off increase and the ratio decreased in both 1998 and 1999.

1998

Total primary enrolment

Total number of teachers

Pupil-teacher ratios

Total

Public

Private

Total

Public

Private

Total

Public

Private

NATIONAL

2,711

2,302

409

140

119

21

19.4

19.3

19.5

Northern Gp

319

319

0

22

22

0

14.5

14.5

-

Southern Gp

896

804

92

45

40

5

19.9

20.1

18.4

Rarotonga

1,496

1,179

317

73

57

16

20.5

20.7

19.8

Source : 1998 Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education

The number of primary teachers includes all classroom teachers, all teachers with positions of responsibility and all principals, but excludes all other non-teaching ancillary staff and volunteers. Only 5 primary school principals are designated as full time non-teaching principals but in reality, even these 5 principals spend a significant amount of time in the classroom when teachers are absent due to illness, bereavements, workshops or sports events. Other teachers also double up classes to cover teacher absences.

The primary school pupil / teacher ratio in 1998 was 19.4 . There was no significant difference between government schools and private schools. The only significant difference was the extremely low pupil / teacher ratio of 14.5 in the Northern Group but this was a temporary aberration resulting from the devastation of Manihiki by a cyclone in November 1997. Mass emigration resulted in a 77 % decrease in the total school roll on the island. Families are gradually returning to Manihiki which will result in an increasing pupil / teacher ratio.

Primary student / teacher ratios 1996 - 1999

YEAR

1996

1997

1998

1999

Primary students

2956

2882

2711

2594

Primary teachers

171

139

140

140

RATIO

17.3

20.7

19.4

18.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, 1996-1999

The primary school student to teacher ratio increased significantly following the economic crisis in 1996. The direct cause was an 18.7 % decrease in the number of primary teachers as part of the public sector down-sizing. During the same period the primary school enrolment decreased by only 2.5 %. Since that time the primary school roll has continued to decrease but the number of teachers has essentially remained the same thereby resulting in an increase in the student to teacher ratio. By international standards, the Cook Islands has an extremely low pupil to teacher ratio.

6.2.12 Repetition Rates

An aim of the Education Sector Action Plan was the achievement of minimum grade repetition rates from 1993 onwards. The data available only provides the status for 1997. The high Grade 1 repetition rate of 30% is a major area of concern and impacts adversely on promotion rates, survival rates and education system efficiency.

G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10
1997 M+F

733

433

442

444

445

385

329

343

335

298

Roll F

330

191

212

215

220

189

175

175

164

138

M

403

242

230

229

225

196

154

168

171

160

1998 M+F

686

416

381

414

407

407

355

304

301

284

Roll F

339

196

167

195

187

206

162

157

151

145

M

347

220

214

219

220

201

193

147

150

139

1998 M+F

220

2

2

2

2

5

0

3

0

0

Repeaters F

99

1

1

1

1

2

0

1

0

0

M

121

1

1

1

1

3

0

2

0

0

 

1997 /

1998

G1

G2

G3

G4

G5

G6

G7

G8

G9

G10

Grades

1 to 5

Parity Index

TOTAL

30.0%

0.5%

0.5%

0.5%

0.4%

1.3%

0.0%

0.9%

0.0%

0.0%

9.1%

0.9

Male

30.0%

0.4%

0.4%

0.4%

0.4%

1.5%

0.0%

1.2%

0.0%

0.0%

9.4%

Female

30.0%

0.5%

0.5%

0.5%

0.5%

1.1%

0.0%

0.6%

0.0%

0.0%

8.8%

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, 1997-1998

Repetition is only a real concern at the Grade 1 level. The major problem is that many Principals incorrectly believe that the Cook Islands "New Entrant" program is a one year course that is followed by a further year in Grade 1. Many students therefore spend up to 2 years in "New Entrants"/Grade 1. However the New Entrant program is officially regarded as being part of the Grade 1 level and it is expected that students should take only one year to complete the combined "New Entrants"/Grade 1 program. The Ministry of Education is aware of the problem and has initiated steps to minimise repetition at this level.

6.2.12 Promotion Rates

 

G1

G2

G3

G4

G5

G6

G7

G8

G9

G10

Ave G1-5

56.5%

87.5%

93.2%

91.2%

90.3%

92.2%

91.5%

87.8%

84.8%

100.0%

80.6%

 

Source : Education Management Information System, Ministry of Education, 1997-1998

A feature of the Cook Islands basic education system is the automatic promotion of students at the end of each academic year, except in rare cases where students with significant learning difficulties are kept back. Therefore the low repetition rates and high promotion rates from Grade 2 to Grade 10 cannot be linked to the attainment of any specified or uniform achievement standard.

Average pupil-flow rates up to grade 5

 


 

 

 

 

 

 




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