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6.2 Primary Education

Target: To provide three years of Junior and three years of Senior primary Schooling.

The gross intake rate into primary grade 1 students has been maintained at 100% from 1990-1998 for both males and females.

All students at Primary school have access to primary education and are eligible for entrance. Niue does not have any students who are overaged or under aged at the primary education level on account of the promotion system in each year from Year 1 to Year 3. The new enrolees are put in their official age group and not placed as a Year 1 student.

At primary level children work in a wide variety of learning situations. They are usually based in one classroom (which may be ‘open plan’ space housing two or more classes) but join with other classes for some activities.

It has become increasingly important that the primary school prepares students to cope with a wide variety of information and to be able to adapt to the change. Students also need to continue learning throughout their life times.

New entrants in Grade 1 as a percentage of the school age population

Table 4

Year

New entrants

of all

ages

School entrance

age population

AIR

Apparent intake rate

NIR

Net intake rate

1991

59

59

100%

100%

1992

75

75

100%

100%

1993

65

65

100%

100%

1994

84

84

100%

100%

1995

66

66

100%

100%

1996

40

40

100%

100%

1997

39

39

100%

100%

1998

41

41

100%

100%

Sources : Enrolment – Department of Education ; Population – Department of Justice

The chart above shows the apparent intake rate in primary education as 100%. The automatic promotion system remains in place until Year 3 when the students progress is reviewed and decisions made about their level of education in Year 4.

The net intake rate into primary grade 1 students has been maintained at 100% from 1990-1998 for both males and females.

Graph 2

S ource: Department of Education

All students are monitored carefully as they progress from year 1 to year 3 according to academic ability, social readiness and their age before promotion is considered and before they move on to the next level. Promotion is automatic from year to year.

Graph 3

A gross enrolment ratio of 100 has been maintained from 1990 to 1998.

Source: Department of Education

Table 5

1998

Total enrolment (all ages)

Roll of official primary school age

Official school-

Total

Public

Private 1

Total

Public

Private

age population

TOTAL (MF)

282

282

0

282

282

0

282

Male (M)

160

160

0

160

160

0

160

Female (F)

122

122

0

122

122

0

122

Source: Department of Education

Table 6

GER (Gross

NER (Net

Gender Parity Index

enrolment ratio)

enrolment ratio

GER

NER

TOTAL (MF)

100.0

100.0

1.0

1.0

Source: Department of Education

The chart above shows the apparent intake rate in primary education as 100%. The automatic promotion system remains in place until Year 3 when the students progress is reviewed and decisions made with regard to their level of education in Year 4.

All primary school schildren are enrolled in Grade 1 at the age of 5. The NER at the primary level in Niue primary School has been maintained at 100% from 1991 to 1998. In 1998 the four term year was introduced and enrolment to primary school in now four times yearly in comparison to three times a year.

  1. as a percentage of GNP
  2. as a percentage of GNP per capita

No data is available on GNP

Table 7 Source : Treasury Department

Public current

Total public current

Total enrolment

Total

Public current exp. on

Year

expenditure on

expenditure

in primary

Population

primary ed. as % of total

primary education

on education

education

public current exp. on ed.

1990

350,698

1,241,416

439

28.2

1991

421,274

1,454,000

426

2,239

29.0

1992

339,100

1,192,800

447

28.4

1993

296,655

1,089,500

401

27.2

1994

291,000

1,165,200

427

2,300

25.0

1995

279,727

1,153,442

393

24.3

1996

276,235

1,181,506

367

23.4

1997

268,721

1,117,867

335

2,082

24.0

1998

288,774

1,190,386

336

24.3

Public expenditure in primary education as a percentage of total public expenditure in education decreased from 1991 to 1996 and has increased marginally in 1997 and 1998. A slight increase in the public expenditure on public education in 1991 was due to pay packages offered to teachers over 51 years of age to take compulsory redundancy. Investment in primary education generally continues to decrease each year. The budget allocation is only sufficient to maintain the day to day existence of the schools and not to initiate projects for the new changes in education. There was a slight increase in the expenditure in primary education in 1998 to cater for the curriculum unit and the early Childhood Education.

All of Niue’s primary teaching staff have the required academic qualification

Table 8

Primary Staffing Reaching required qualifications

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

1991

18

4

14

18

4

14

1998

12

12

12

12

Source: Department of Education

Graph 4

Source: Department of Education

The concern is the lack of male teachers and the consequent male role model

The minimum academic qualification for primary school teachers is New Zealand University Entrance or equivalent. All teachers in the primary and secondary schools meet the minimum academic qualifications required by Niue to practise in schools.

The intention of the government is for primary school teachers to qualify with a degree in education (Bachelor of Education) as a minimum qualification in teaching by the year 2000/2001. The current teaching staff is encouraged to study toward a B.Ed degree

University graduates need to be certificated as secondary school teachers to alleviate the problems that occur when they begin working. Family commitments also contribute to difficulty in returning to training.

From 1999 students who are teacher training have been given the opportunity to complete all the training necessary to enable them to teach in both the primary and

The Department of Education initiated a scheme in 1997 to attach a trainee in the primary school before enrolment in a College of Education institute to be trained as a primary school teacher. The program for the trainee was agreed with the department to assist in the primary school for three days, and two days to study at the local University of the South Pacific (USP) Center. The trainee is given a study allowance from the education’s recurrent budget.

The Government reimburses the fees of students who pass the courses

Interpretation:

All primary teachers are certified to teach. All were trained in a recognized Teachers’ College and have the necessary pedagogical skills required by the education authorities to teach, and use the available instructional materials in an effective manner. It is the intention of the Department of Education to train all secondary teachers in the Primary College of Education before they continue to specialize in subject areas for the secondary school. They also need to be certificated as secondary school teachers. In the year 2000 we will have teachers in the primary level who will then attain a double qualification for the first time, that is, to qualify with a Teachers’ College Diploma with a degree (B.Ed), and a certificate in Teaching after two years registration.

Programmes for ongoing training and professional staff development for all teachers are in place and are consistent with the changes in curriculum to meet the needs of the students. The status of teachers has improved. Classroom programmes and learning environments continue to improve as teachers are exposed to further in service training.

Another initiative is to offer newly trained teachers the opportunity to specialize in Early Childhood Education development, teacher for special or disabled people, linguistics and any other areas in education.

In 1997 pre-service training for student teachers was offered before they begin at a College of Education for primary school level. This will continue into the year 2000 with one student being attached to a primary school before formal training takes place at a College of Education. This will continue to replenish the level of human resources input in terms of number of teachers trained.

Teachers are attached to schools in New Zealand to observe the new curriculum being taught and to network with teachers in different schools

Table 9

Total Primary

Teaching staff

Ratio

population

1991

447

18

24.8 - 1

1998

282

12

23.5 - 1

Source: Department of Education

Interpretation:

Pupil teacher ratio is generally considered to be at a satisfactory level by all stakeholders. In mid 1997 a pool of relieving teachers were identified from early redundancies and retired personnel’s to work in the primary school therefore maintaining the pupil / teacher ratio. The Extended Management Team (EMT) was introduced to help the Principal with the management of the schools in 1997 at the secondary school and was formalized in 1998. The primary school adapted the EMT system in 1998 and formalized in 1999. The extra duties are over and above normal teaching responsibilities of teachers. For future EMT other teachers will have the opportunity to apply for the extra duties with a bonus compensation at the end of the year, pending on output performance of each officer. This is renewed each year.

Interpretation:

Repetition rates in Niue are zero percent. This reflects the policy of automatic promotion. Once the child reaches Year Four he or she will progress each year to the next level until Year 12. Prior to 1997 several students were repeating Year 11 to re-sit school certificate level to gain a certain grade before they progress on to Year 12. In 1998 all students progress from one level to the next without repeating the class level. A student may repeat a subject at a lower level but remain with his or her own age group. The primary school caters for children in Years 1 to 6 and secondary provides for students in Years 7 to 12 and Year 13 students continue to study with the University of the South Pacific (USP) Center at the Foundation level.

There is no data available for this indicator

There is no data available for this indicator

6.3 Learning Achievements and Outcomes

The Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Levels Test was administered to students at the end of Year 4 and also at the end of Year 6 as from 1993 . Since the introduction of Basic Education and Life Skills Programmes

1998 PILS Literacy and Numeracy Tests

Table 10

Pupils of grade 4 (or another higher grade)

Enrolment in grade 4

who master basic learning competencies

(or in the

Reading/ Writing

Mathematics

Life skills/ others

A.C.S. 4

corresponding grade)

TOTAL (MF)

46

45

48

Male (M)

27

26

28

Female (F)

19

19

20

Source: Department of Education

Table 11

Percentage of pupils who master Achievement Gender Parity Index
basic learning competencies

Reading/ Writing

Mathematics

Reading/ Writing

Mathematics

TOTAL (MF)

95.8

93.8

1.0

1.0

Male (M)

96.4

92.9

Female (F)

95.0

95.0

Source : Department of Education

The Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Tests were administered at the end of Grade 4 of the primary schooling level. [There are, as well as school based internal assessments of children’s reading, writing and listening skills by individual teachers]. In the Niue situation, this is a national assessment and can be viewed as national standard. Since the 1993 test most pupils in Grade 4 have mastered the basic learning competencies.

No valid literacy test data is available on the literacy rate of 15 – 24 year olds.

The literacy rate among the 15-24 year olds is estimated to be near 100% due to the high level of participation and retention in the primary and secondary education. In 1998 the school leaving age was raised from 14 to 16 years of age. This helps the school age population to remain in Niue and also gives an opportune for students to attain higher levels in education.

6.4 Adults/Literacy

No valid literacy test data is available on the adult literacy rate.

Niue is assumed to have an adult literacy rate of almost 100%. The Census held in 1997 showed that 76% of Niueans had at least some secondary education, 10% had a Form 5 Certificate, 5% had University qualifications, 15% had some tertiary education and 5% had completed a degree or higher level of tertiary studies. In 1998 the school leaving age was raised from 14 to 16 years of age.

The Writer’s Association membership is mostly women. They write in both languages, the vernacular and English. Poetry and writing competitions were held to publish old stories, legends and myths. Public Speaking, drama, dance and cultural activities are encouraged and practiced in school and outside organizations. Adult writers are given the opportunities to read their writings to the public. More and more people in the public are now using the public library and the school libraries. More reading materials are now available in small shops and service stations. A Language Commission was selected by the Government to maintain and monitor the use of the language. A Linguistics Conference was held in 1999 in Niue to discuss the origin of the languages in the Pacific. Such a conference has made an impact on the locals and Niueans overseas of the important of the language to our culture. Translations and writing of stories in the vernacular for primary education have begun to increase in the late 1990s. The local Government and donor agencies have allocated funding to spend on materials for schools and non-formal education.

There is no data available to illustrate this indicator.

The literacy gender parity index of female to male is assumed to be almost identical. Males and females have the same access to literacy programs, either through school or non-formal school activities, e.g. the church groups,women’organizations, Youth groups, non-governmental organizations, business meetings and public organizations.

6.5 Educational Training Skills

Target: Expansion of provisions of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, with program effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral changes and impacts on health employment and productivity.

In order to improve the quality of life for young people and adults, certain activities are necessary to be in place. Trainers need to train trainers to teach whether in religious groups, educational institutes, social clubs and sports clubs. Through the church, youth and adult groups are very active. Parents are always keen to support and sometimes take part in the Youth activities. Programs such as fundraising, picnic trips, inter-village sports competitions was fostered. Young people are trained as leaders in the Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade, scout leaders, Sunday school leaders, Youth leaders and adult leaders. Several Governmental departments sponsor adult education on ‘Healthy Island Concepts’, HIV/AIDs programs, Family Planning, Climate Change, Greenhouse Effects, the Ozone layer, Rights of the Child Convention and Convention for Women.

6.6 Education for Better Living

Target: Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development, made available through all education channels including the mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication, and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral change.

Education was recognized in the past as top priority in the lives of the people in Niue. Parents wanted their children to have office jobs or ‘white collar’ positions in the public service. Working on land was seen as hard and a long struggle, physically and mentally, before harvesting the crop.

Niueans have learned to take any opportunity to seek a better life, like moving away from their own island to a different place. In the last two decades people have been migrating not only for economic reasons and education but also as a ‘step up’ to better living, as they perceive it. People who left the island thirty to forty years ago saw more opportunity in a New Zealand than if they continued to live on Niue.

In the last decade the emphasis is on the use of the mass media and modern channels of communication for educational purposes. Educational activities reinforce and complement formal schooling and out-of-school programs to reach the general public. Messages are broadcast through the radio and television to enhance learning in the classroom, reinforce local HIV/AIDs campaigns and to reach all people in the homes. The local newspapers and magazines convey educational messages.

Progress in education for better living since 1990 in Niue indicates the following:

Use of the electronic and print media for educational purposes:

The use of the radio and television to broadcast educational programs is scheduled during out-of-school time. Teachers need the contact time with students to be utilized with other class activities. Public announcements are made either through the radio or television.

The local newspaper was printed and owned by the Government but it is now operated by private contract.

A Government department manages the Museum and the Public Library.

The Department of Education has two school libraries. Schools, National Youth groups and church groups often stage dramas, dance and singing to convey educational messages. Christian dramasportray a life of moral excellence.

Several officers of the Broadcasting Corporation trained overseas in journalism and in the new technology utilizing computer programming for broadcasting, either through the radio or television. The quality of local news is very high and presentations in the vernacular and English are excellent.

The media is always alert to new happenings in schools, especially national days such as the Annual Athletics Day, cultural days, speech competitions, special displays or topics about climate change, the ozone layer, conservation and environmental issues, water day and other United Nations special celebration days. People always enjoy seeing young people in the news. This is a positive approach to encourage young people to participate more in the adult world of decision-making and future planning.

Through the media, better behavior patterns are noticed in the young people and women are becoming more confident in the work they do best. This also has led to better use of public services, good health practices and keen participation in social organizations. Most of the people on the island are fairly well educated and striving for better living, whether on Niue or anywhere in the world. The aim of the Government and the Department of Education is to educate its people, not only for Niue but also for the global world.

As well, UNESCO Apia’s two-year youth programs, 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 the EFA Strategy, Plan and Programmes

    The Education for All Strategy, has a sound foundation but is not seen as realistic to the people of Niue. It seems a little too ambitious in the training and upskilling of human resources development overseas. The Government and the people have a preference in adopting the New Zealand curriculum. While the process, review and development of curriculum is always part of a school’s activity the philosophical basis of education and the desired outcomes also need regular review. It has become increasingly important that schools prepare students to cope with a wide variety of complex information and to be flexible enough to adapt to ongoing change. Students also need to be willing to continue to learn throughout their lifetime.

    To implement the plans and programmes there is a need for resources to enable the curriculum to be taught effectively. Resources are fairly well utilised considering the remote situation of Niue and it’s isolation in relation to New Zealand where most of the resources are available.

    The results obtained are relatively satisfactory because Niue’s population has a high level of educational attainment, with three out of four residents having at least some secondary education. The percentage of males is higher (80%) than that of females (72%) These achievements have remained more or less constant since 1991 and reflect a substantial increase in the population of tertiary educated residents since 1986.

8.Main problems encountered and anticipated

The ministerial personnel has been changed since the last government election in early 1999. The expectation of the public of the new government is to see changes in the whole structure of the public service and the introduction of better wages.

There was a downsizing of the public service in 1991 where all teachers over the age of 50 years were made redundant. Further voluntary redundancy was offered in 1992. Families were affected and some had to leave to live overseas, others tried to work on the land and by fishing for a short time until they were contracted back to work in the public sector. Early retirement at the age of 50 years, rather than the official 55 years, has been offered to the public servants since 1993.

Teachers are expected to teach children how to read, write and do numeracy in addition to disciplining and teaching moral excellence. The workload of the new curriculum is far greater for both teachers and administrators. The community expects a lot of teachers to participate in community activities as well as contributing financially to various community projects.

Distance is not a major problem in the country and most of the roads were improved by tar sealing in the mid 1990s. However distance from other countries in the Pacific is a problem with few fast methods of travel and communication are very high for imported goods.

Communication breakdown could be a problem if policies are not followed. Niue has the luxury of excellent communication structures and lines.

secondary sector. Current teachers are also encouraged to study by correspondence for better qualifications.

This is a common problem, not only for literacy material but also replacement equipment e.g computers, photocopiers and other audiovisual equipment. The government cannot afford to replace equipment funded by outside agencies when deterioration occurs. The donor agencies need to have a supporting programme for continuation of maintaining equipment.

Every year the education budget decreases owing to the financial constraints of the country. Niue is financially dependent on New Zealand. Each year New Zealand is decreasing its budget by 10%. This shows across the board for all public services and corporations. This makes it difficult to initiate new projects for the schools and the upskilling of human resources is difficult because of insufficient funds.

9. Public awareness, political will and national capacities

    The public support and demand for basic education is very strong. Some parents still send their children to New Zealand to study at Form 7 level or for tertiary education, either through joint sponsorship with the Government or by fully privately funded means.

    The Government has committed itself by raising the school leaving age by two years, from 14 to 16, in order to keep people in school longer – and therefore in Niue. This, however, also provides students with higher education levels, which may not be available in Niue, resulting in students leaving for suitable job opportunities overseas.

10. General assessment of progress.

The main principles of the curriculum are based on the assumption that the individual student is at the centre of all teaching and learning. The curriculum outlines the need for education to be both relevant and responsive to the needs and abilities of all students so they are able to play a full part in the world in which they will live and work. It is a mark of success that Niue’s population has generally high literacy and numeracy skills.




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