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Part II Analytic Sections

(covering the years 1994 – 1999)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Nauru ratified the CRC on 27th June 1993, 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:

International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

Nauru 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:

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

Nauru acceded to the CEDAW . 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:

Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development

Nauru 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:

Basic Agreement between World Health Organization & Nauru

An agreement was signed between WHO and Nauru on July 31st 1995, in Nauru involving Administrative and Technical Advisory Cooperation.

6 Progress toward goals and targets

Progress towards all the goals and targets set for EFA are generally mixed. Some have been achieved while others are still in the process of realisation. Others have simply been purely unachievable with the current conditions that schools and the country at large are experiencing.

The goals set out in part one of this report have been condensed to allow a general commentary that gives a holistic view of the progress.

6.1 Early Childhood Education

Target: To provide up to two years of Early Childhood Education facilitating growth in all areas of the child’s development. To support and include the family and wider community, and review and strengthen the professional performance of teachers and the curriculum in the Early Childhood area.

The target has been reached with the early childhood sector receiving 18.7% of the education budget in the 1998/99 financial year and four centres established, each of which is still building up its current resources and equipment.

There has not been any official review on teacher performance to date as hoped for. However, teachers have been observed closely throughout and there is still a lot of room for improvement. Preparations are under way for the Department of Education to undertake a teacher evaluation at all levels before the end of the year.

There have been ongoing training workshops organised for all early childhood teachers at various times of the year ensuring teachers are kept up to date with the trends. Teachers are encouraged to upgrade their qualifications or take relevant non-accredited courses to help them improve their performance.

A formal review of the curriculum is in progress. The BELS team from the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific has been supportive with the literacy programme in the infant school.

The number of enrolments in early childhood development programmes over periods 1991 and 1998 increased by about 17% though the population of children 3 – 5 years of age was more or less static. Even though the number of males in years, 1991 and 1998 is slightly greater than that of females, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is greater for females in both years by 10% and 9.2% respectively. This means that males are showing slight improvement in pre-school attendance as the years go on.

As at 1998, the GER for national enrolment for early childhood education was 75.4%, which is 12.7 higher than that of 1991.

Enrolment in early childhood development programmes 3 – 5 years

1991 Table 4

 

Enrolment

 

Official age-

 

GER (Gross

 

Gender Parity

 

Total

 

Pre-schools

 

Others

 

Pop ( 3-5 years)

 

Enrolment Ratio)

 

Index

 

NATIONAL

 

TOTAL (MF)

 

447

 

447

 

713

 

62.7

 

1.2

 

(The whole

 

Male (M)

 

211

 

211

 

365

 

57.8

country)  

Female (F)

 

236

 

236

 

348

 

67.8

 

1998 Table 5

 

Enrolment

 

Official age

 

GER (Gross

 

Gender Parity

 

Total

 

Pre-schools

 

Others

 

Pop(3-5years)

 

Enrolment(ratio)

 

 

 

NATIONAL

 

TOTAL (MF)

 

538

 

538

 

714

 

75.4

 

1.1

 

(The whole

Male (M)

 

261

 

261

 

368

 

70.9

country) Female (F)

 

277

 

277

 

346

 

80.1

Source: Department of Education - Statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross enrolment by gender - 1991

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 71998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 8

Source: Department of Education

Percentage of primary grade 1 pupils who have attended some form of ECD

In 1998 the 100% target was almost achieved.

6.2 Primary

Work is still in progress to have a revised set national education policy.

There has been some progress towards achieving a single teaching service to include those employed in the private school as part of one teaching force. Negotiations between the government and the church school have been going on and an understanding and agreement will be reached in the very near future.

Common curricula have been achieved for all schools. However, the review of the primary curriculum is still going on and is expected to be completed before the end of the year 2000.

There is now a national Nauruan assessment and award scheme. There is a common assessment done at all levels of the primary sector. To mark the end of successful primary education, students at Year 6 level sit for the Nauru Primary Certificate.

Rebuilding of the new Denig Primary School was started in 1998, a delay of 2 years due to lack of funding.

Teachers’ salaries have remained static and little help has been able to be provided to schools in the way of material resources.

However, schools have been painted and the level of maintenance lifted.

Pupil teacher ratio 1998

Table 9

Total enrolment Total number of teachers
Total Public Private 1 Total Public Private 1
Total Enrolment 1,673 1,401 272 Total Teachers 59

12

 

Pupil-teacher

ratios

Total Public 23.7 Private 22.6

Source Department of Education

There are also 11 teacher trainees in schools, which again lowers the teacher ratio numbers

6.3 Learning Achievement and Outcomes

The attempt to put checkpoints at various levels of the school system to determine students’ achievement levels has been realised to a certain degree. There is an achievement checkpoint at Year 6 with a national examination and assessment for the award of the Nauru Primary Certificate. The certificate programme is national and now includes all schools on Nauru.

The students’ appraisal system that was hoped for is progressively being applied in schools. Students are being rewarded and acknowledged for their achievements. Some students win scholarships through contesting public examinations.

Even though promotion to the next Year level is automatic, in most cases, as long as one achieves a 75% attendance irrespective of ones academic performance, it is evident that students are trying harder to ensure they pass their mid or final year examinations.

The academic standard in all schools is still improving and will take some time to reach the level that was hoped for, that is, to be internationally comparable.

6.4 Adult literacy rate

The general hope to have all students literate in English and Nauruan is difficult to achieve with languages. English is being taught at school while Nauruan is not formally taught at primary but spoken widely. Nauruan will take time as the work of preparing the written form of it is slow. Nauruan has two known scripts and decisions have to be made about which script is to be official and thus can be used in schools. The majority of students who pass out of school will have a reasonable level of litecary particularly in English. Although illiteracy is not a problem for Nauru it is the level of literacy that is a concern.

In 1995 PILS testing was introduced into the schools but the hoped for book flooding did not eventuate. A community programme of literacy awareness was started in 1998 with the assistance of the Bels programme. By 1997 there were some teachers trained in ESL. The target of a balance of male and female teachers and a full inspection system for literacy standards is well in the future and there is growing concern that the literacy level of the Nauruan community is well below the level hoped for.

The Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific with its BELS programme is doing well to prepare teachers and students with new methods of teaching and learning to read, write and speak well. This good work being done in schools will make a positive effect on the secondary schools and later the adult , in time.

6.5 Educational Training skills

No data available

6.5.1 To provide vocational courses for students and adults.

There is great difficulty in introducing vocational courses in Nauru owing to lack of finance, space and effective personnel. A limited Technical Studies course was introduced in 1995 but lapsed on account of the equipment and personnel difficulty, as did vocational courses introduced in 1996. A hospitality course was introduced in 1996, two years before originally planned and a shirt-making course is still on track for 1999.

6.5.2 To assess the needs of, and provide the hardware and courses for information technology.

In 1995 a computer network was provided for the University of the South Pacific and the Vocational Centre. Hoped for technology assistance for other schools was not possible owing to lack of finance in the intervening years but a full Information Technology Course is presented at secondary school for Year 12 PSSC.

6.6 Education for better living

6.6.1. To foster and preserve pride in the Nauruan Cultural heritage.

No progress was made in this area at all. This must be addressed in the future as it is a major concern to the Nauruan community that pride and heritage is being lost.

6.6.2 To ensure that all students are equipped for the world beyond school.

In 1995 the traditional arts and crafts courses were reintroduced to all students but the initiative ceased in 1997 owing to a lack of instructors. A Human Development course was mooted for 1997 but failed to eventuate but Elementary First Aid and Life Saving courses, which were planned to start in 1998, actually began in the year 12 age group in 1996

6.6.3 To develop health awareness and identify problems at an early age.

The plan to liaise with the Health Department in 1995 to establish the current needs and regular visits was delayed to 1998 so that none of the planned health advantages of regular dental visits, a health curriculum and an immunisation programme eventuated. However the Health, Youth and Sports sector is now working with the WHO and has committed Nauru to becoming a Healthy Island by the year 2001.

6.6.4 To provide a feasible programme of extra-curricular studies.

This target has been reached with an after school activities programme being established in 1995, the coordination of all educational projects and workshops in 1997. A regular media timeslot for education came in to being also in 1997 and a network of community resource people established in 1998. Cultural exchanges with other countries aimed for in 1999 have not eventuated.

As well, UNESCO Apia’s two year youth programme which began with the training of a core group of four young people from each of thirteen Pacific Island countries resulted in a National Youth forum and other activities, which have contributed to education for better living for youth.

7 Effectiveness of EFA Strategy, Plan and Programmes

In hindsight some of the material strategies and plans were unrealistic and ambitious given the deteriorating effects of the economy in Nauru with the advent of phosphate mining the source of Nauru’s income, wealth and economic activity entering its final few years. Finance has become a problem and consequently there is a need for Government expenditure to be reduced. When this happens the schools, health and police sectors become immediately disadvantaged.

It is the wish of the people of Nauru to have the disabled children needs for care and education met.

The department is committed to this course and is putting together a programme and organising facilities to house and support these activities.

A centre for caring and learning for the disabled will be established. Everyone’s support in this regard in called for.

The Government would like to see educational standards rise. It has identified target areas that would be starting points for development activities.

Early Childhood Education. This is where literacy and numeracy need to be strengthened.

The department is committed to see the quality of teachers improved and the curriculum base improved at that level. The department has commenced work in this area and will be listing this as one of its priorities.

There will be a complete diagnosis of the system to identify other areas to be improved.

The department is still experiencing teacher shortage in most sectors of the school system but has taken temporary measures to ensure that pressure on schools is minimised. Class sizes have been increased and curriculum support to teachers has been intensified so that the load is bearable. Load sharing between staff and inter-schools is also an approach being employed at this time of crisis. This strategy is looking positive.

Schools and centres are commended for their endurance by putting up with the larger than desired class sizes. The pupil-teacher ratioo currently stands at 1:24 and possibly greater with the truancy. This increase in teacher-student ratio will only be temporary until recruitment is finalised. The desired teacher student ratio is 1:20.

This problem affects all sectors of the school system, particularly that of Nauru Secondary School. The department has not been able to replace the teachers who took terminal leave last year. The department did make every effort at the end of last year, and at the start of this year to secure appointments, but all approached turned down the offer except one, who is now here and teaching at Yaren Primary School.

It is admitted that it is difficult to get the better quality teachers on account of the service and salary conditions currently offered. The department is working on a proposal to other regional Education Ministries to have a common teacher pool established where all can draw and benefit from in times of crisis as the one we are currently experiencing. This teacher shortage is felt right around the region, even by close neighbours Australia and New Zealand. The department and the Chief Secretary’s Department [which is responsible for teacher recruitment] will work closely together to have this problem solved.

However, we have been fortunate to have some qualified teachers appointed locally and they have certainly eased the problem for the time being at least.

There are quite a large number of vacant positions in the department, those of teaching and some of ancillary nature. The department is aware that we do not have enough qualified locals to fill the vacant positions but we are looking elsewhere for temporary appointments while we train our teachers, or upgrade the qualification for those already certified so that they will meet the criteria required for those positions.

Some positions will be advertised soon which will allow those already in the system or those outside and qualified to apply for. Some of these positions are prominent and have been left vacant for some time. I hope that by doing this we could get more stability and continuity in schools. It also provides a clear career path for teachers and it gives an indication of mobility instead of stagnation.

It is now becoming more important and crucial to set up Nauru’s own teacher training centre as soon as possible. NPC has allocated MQ 98 (the old USP Centre) at Aiwo to be used as a teacher training centre. Repair work and renovations will commence as soon as materials are organised and confirmed.

It is difficult to attract enough students to train for secondary teaching, basically because most students do not have the confidence to work at that level. Also the entry requirement into secondary training is greater than that of primary, which our students struggle to attain. However, the department puts their trainees on bridging courses into secondary training. This is mainly done by students successfully completing certain compulsory units via USP extension.

It is a concern that a lot of teacher trainees in the infant schools in particular, are still classified as trainees even after they had attained their Pacific Pre-School Teachers Certificate (PPSTC) through extension at USP. This means that their official classification prevents them taking full control of a class. These teachers who have gained their PPSTC would be confirmed as locally trained Pre-school teachers and given full classroom responsibilities. They would, however, be required to continue upgrading their qualifications at the USP Extension Centre. Those who would like to move to primary level would be included as part of the first intake at the Nauru Teacher Training Centre. For those who have performed well in their PPSTC training and have good a record in school would be considered for overseas training in Fiji.

Cooperative Effort

The department has been successful in re-establishing Parents & Citizen’s Association in all the schools. Through its School Support Section the department maintains constant contact and liaison with schools and P&C groups. Some of the P&Cs are active and some have set up funds for school use for urgent requirements.

Some P&Cs have held a series of bazaars to raise money for their schools. This is very much welcomed. It is a good thing to see parents taking active part in the running and support of their schools instead of depending entirely on the Government. Some, it is pleasing to note, have donated capital items such as a photocopier and water pump.

The department is pleased to say that all our P&C Committees are active and are meeting at least once a month. The department appeals to everyone to show support and solidarity by attending at least a meeting of P&C of our district schools, or if possible make a generous donation, which would be much appreciated.

A national forum was held on issues facing Nauruan education - now and beyond 2000. Community involvement in the scholarship reviews, selection and planning activities was introduced.

Most of the school buildings are suffering from over forty years of usage, normal depreciation and weathering. Inspections have been conducted and a staged refurbishment programme has been drawn up with the assistance of the Department of Works and Community Services.

The water supply problem in all schools has been solved. Some schools have received new water tanks and others had their existing tanks repaired or serviced.

This continues to be a problem as all school supplies are imported and slowness of delivery and delays often result in shortages of supplies in classrooms.

The department committed to an ongoing programme under BELS.. The professional development workshops are being conducted by the Institute of Education of the University of the South Pacific. This programme is going well.

All funding for the workshops was externally provided via the Institute of Education at USP. The Department of Education provided the professional support and the coordination.

The Department also organised ongoing workshops on Early Childhood Education which were conducted locally. They were facilitated by the staff of the Institute of Education of USP. This type of workshop is fully funded by external sources.

Parents were also encouraged to attend the workshops.

More workshops will be organised for all teachers to ensure that they keep up with new trends. The workshops target all teachers as well as primary.

Curriculum Section

The curriculum for the primary level is currently undergoing review. The Scope and Sequences for all core subjects, which has been in use for the last couple of years, is being looked at by the department with all school level coordinators including those from Kayser College and Location Primary School who are now following the national curriculum. This major task is anticipated to take several months, possibly well into the latter part of next year to have a complete revamp of the entire primary curriculum.

An assessment and award structure has been developed and standardized literacy/numeracy

assessment occurred in February 1995 with the cooperation of the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment. The Nauru Primary Certificate examination was introduced in 1995.

The Science curriculum is the first subject to be reviewed and updated to a generally acceptable standard. Where possible concepts were adapted to the local situation and the contents made locally relevant and culturally suitable. All working papers have been sent to the Institute of Education at USP, Suva for editing and comment, after which the first draft will be printed and sent back for the department’s approval and piloting. Negotiations for funding this particular project have been finalised and secured from an external source.

Also as part of this project, the department was involved in a Science materials production workshop in Suva, Fiji. Professional funding and assistance were provided by Department of Education and UNESCO respectively.

A Science expert at the Institute of Education, USP has been invited by the department to visit later on in the year, subject to external funding being secured. His terms of reference are to conduct a familiarisation workshop of the new Nauru Science curriculum materials for primary schools.

The Social Studies curriculum is being prepared for review after Science is completed. Already a lot of progress has been made in updating the scope and sequence of the Social Studies curriculum. The coordination and writing of topics and themes for all schools to follow has made it possible for a standardised mid-year examination to be conducted.

Similarly, other subjects such as Health, Mathematics and English have been made common and thus nationalised for all schools to follow.

The programme is going well in all schools. Teachers and students are trying their best to promote healthy life style in schools and in the community.

Sporting activities and clean-up campaigns are some of the ongoing activities that children and sometimes parents get involved in.

It is becoming evident that there is an improvement in the attitude towards health issues.

Partnership with the ARM project group over the past couple of years has seen the department benefit from curriculum development in the Climate Change area of Science with text books produced and delivered for the senior primary and secondary levels.

As part of the development programme ARM donated two computers to the department for school utilisation for the purpose of analysis of real time data produced at the weather station at the Denigomodu station.

ARM will also be giving the department for secondary school utilisation, a meteorological station after the completion of the ARM Nauru 99 Field Campaign.

All Government departments are now committed to working together to support the education of our children. It is generally agreed that the hildren of this nation are the target and hope for future prosperity and all should make every effort in collaboration to ensure the best is afforded to them.

8 Main problems encountered and anticipated

Under the current economic condition it is becoming difficult to secure funds for education.

Nauru has had changes of government over the past five years. This drastic change has seen various departments combine, only to be desegregated after a relatively short period of time. It is rare that an individual stays in a position of responsibility long enough to be able to really gather the loose ends together and begin to make a difference in the way of ensuring that various policies and procedures are carried out.

If an individual does well in a position he/she will be promoted and the process begins again, as there has not been time to establish solid basic procedures.

The sad lack of a solid data base and procedures for the gathering of data to assist the effectiveness of the educational goals and targets has been brought home by the requirements of this report. This again reflects on the changing personnel problem and the moving of departments sectionally as well as from building to building. Any data that has been collected would be well scattered through various government offices.

Personnel assistance has been requested from UNESCO to enable the setting up of a policy and procedure re data collection. This would enable the Education Department to have a cohesive data collection and collation system by the year 2000.

Nauru is going through a period of readjustment with the winding down of the phosphate mining industry and the consequent monetary restraints that have been forced on to the government. All budget levels have been drastically cut and there has been the consequent cutting back of the basic repairs, maintenance and resourcing of schools.

Additional pressure is placed on the government as all land on Nauru is privately owned, all government buildings are on leased land for which rent is paid. Land leases are presently up for the 99 year review and this could have dire economic results for the government as the population, some of whom have been retrenched, wish to earn money for their own livelihood.

Teachers are expected to take on more responsibility with the guidance and social problems of students today and this, coupled with the workload of the new curriculum requirements, places a large workload on the teaching fraternity which is going to accelerate. Nauru also has the problem of teacher retention and change and short staffing in schools puts additional stress on teachers who have to give up their preparation time in order that the young people have the teaching that they deserve.

Education ministers and officers are also stressed as the workforce that is dwindling on account of economic restraints has to cope with the extra requirements that appear to be generated by the age of technology.

Nauru has the problem of not being able to attract enough teachers to Nauru, and also having to use staff who are untrained. Expatriate teachers, although obviously welcomed, do cause problems in that they bring their own curriculum ideas with them and consequently schools are inclined to have a ‘multi-faceted’ curriculum incorporating the various ideas and methods which are brought by visiting teachers.

There is no accommodation for teachers on Nauru and the expectations of some teachers who arrive to spend time in schools is such that they do not stay for any length of time.

Communication is difficult in Nauru. All activities associated with schools are activated from the Education Department and the old telephone system and consequent lack of reliable communication causes many problems. Nauru is a small country but the lack of any form of public transport makes moving from one part of the island to the other extremely difficult, if not impossible without the good will of the population. Nauru owns and runs its own airline, which is now economically sound, and has regular flights to Nadi and Brisbane. There are times when airline constraints causes delay.

Nauru, in common with every country, never has enough resources. The changing curriculum requires a greater range of resources and the technological age requires schools to be resourced in computer technology, an expensive exercise which cannot be covered by the education budget. In addition to the resourcing is the finance required for the maintenance and replacement of equipment.

Life expectancy in Nauru is the lowest in the Pacific Islands. The young are lost through accidents, mainly accidents caused by drinking and driving. In the middle-aged range group circulatory disease is the biggest threat, not helped by the high incidence of smoking, drinking, diabetes and obesity. In all it is estimated that 1747 years of productive life is lost through preventable death per year in Nauru. The government has put the "Healthy Island’ project in to place but it will be at least a generation before the Nauruan population begin to "think" a healthy lifestyle.

Parental and community support is not good for schools in Nauru. Teachers are expected to teach, parent and guide, along with their other duties, and the department is expected to work miracles.

9 Public Awareness, Political Will and National Capacities

There was no public awareness campaign specifically on Nauru concerning Education for All as being such a small nation and population everyone is always aware of everything that is happening.

There is strong government support for education in general, more-so now that the government is conscious of the importance of education as part of the process towards creating a well-trained, capable workforce. The political support for all educational initiatives has been consistent throughout.

The community on Nauru has recently taken more interest in the affairs of schools and the education of their children. As a result of this more parents are becoming actively involved in Parent-Teacher Associations and the progress of the school.

Interest groups in the community are also actively involved in the promotion of their own activities which are of benefit to the education of the youth. They do their own advertising of public notices of interest over radio, by television and the local news bulletin.

Church groups are also very active in promoting education and a better way of life through their religious teachings.

10 General assessment of the progress

Good progress is being made in achieving the aims of Education for All. Assistance from contributing agencies, including AUSAID, UNESCO, World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, and other small donors has contributed positively to this good progress.

Problems are being addressed regarding the lack or resources, qualified teaching staff, lack of facilities, and in particular the lack of land space. Progress will be slow while the nation of Nauru is in recession and reform measures are applied which are very restricting.

The Government will assist with the improvement of the training and qualification of primary and pre-school by the establishment of a new Teacher Training Center by the year 2000.

The Curriculum Review Task Force is progressing well with the review of the science curriculum and is on target to complete the evaluation of the other subjects.

The Nauru Vocational Training Center has already started to introduce new courses for improving education training and skills and, in particular, courses that have been introduced recently aim to improve the business skills of young people. These courses include small business and secretarial courses, computer literacy courses and hospitality courses.

Overall, good genuine progress has been made with support from donors and agencies.


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