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PART II ANALYTIC SECTION

6.0 PROGRESS TOWARDS GOALS AND TARGETS (1990 - 1999)

Introduction

Through the commitments the Government has made to international conventions and declarations, in particular those outlined below, the Government has also recognized the following national goals in relation to education.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Tonga ratified the CRC on 3rd October 1995, 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.

International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

Tonga 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.

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

Tonga 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:

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.

Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development

Tonga 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;

Main EFA events and actions since 1990

The official reviews of segments of the education system such as early childhood education, curriculum, teacher education and post-secondary education were some of the initiatives in the past four years which were aimed at enhancing the process of EFA as an on-going government commitment to the nation. At a more public level, the past years have witnessed regular consultations between the senior officers of the Ministry and the teachers, particularly head-teachers. A series of school-based training workshops for teachers, some conducted as part of the BELS programme activities, have also featured prominently during this period. A key component of BELS that deals with the topic of community support for education has to date trained almost 90% of the parents and almost 100% of teachers.

In brief, the type of EFA-related events that took place in the decade:

(a) Reviews and Formulation of Projects

Areas covered: early childhood education, teacher education, curriculum development for primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, projects for upgrading school facilities and buildings, communication and staff development, transport and on going staff training.

Other areas included: clarification and promotion of a bilingual policy for schools; specific guidelines for Language Education developed by CDU; and in-service courses conducted to promote bilingual programmes in schools.

Some of the major activities during the decade:

setting up of libraries (Elpam materials from Australia)

activities to mark International Literacy Day every September

Book Flood Project/School Journals

school management

Multi-class teaching

development of reading materials in the vernacular

Mobile Library Service

story reaching/story telling at home

Tonga had already achieved UPE well before Jomtien. Its goals with regards to EFA since 1990 are therefore geared more towards qualitative improvements in the professional areas such as teacher education, curriculum, assessment and the post-secondary developments covering the newly introduced national Form 7 under the umbrella of CDTC in 1991-1998.

The other goals focus on improvements in the physical facilities and teaching-learning resources at the school level, including provision of better housing for teachers, especially in outer islands.

6.1 Early Childhood Education

Of the six identified target dimensions for EFA, this particular dimension became the Government's concern during the decade due to pressure from the Tonga Pre-School Association, community groups and parents. However to provide policy-makers and senior government officers with sufficient data on which to base their decisions in relation to early childhood education a study was commissioned in 1995 to provide information on existing provisions in the centres and their quality. Also as part of the review recommendations for future developments and likely areas where Government could best assist in bringing quality to this level of education, were to be made.

The review was conducted by Ms P Cubey of the New Zealand Volunteer Services Abroad (VSA) and Ms Wendy Koloi as Tonga Ministry of Education Counterpart. This was a component of the New Zealand Overseas Development Assistance (NZODA) for the Tonga Education Section. The review covered 30 centres with a total of 1011 children and 68 teachers with varying qualifications and levels of professional skills. The immediate need from the review was for Government through the Ministry of Education to train teachers and upgrade the quality of existing centres.

Although the gross enrolment ratio in early childhood development programme in 1999 is low the increase in the number of early childhood centres from 20 - 45 indicates that this is the beginning of this type of programme within Tonga. The Government is well aware of the importance of this programme for laying down the foundation for primary education but due to limited resources it can do no more than give its full moral support at this stage. Also under the current Education Act, Compulsory Age begins at 6.

The Tonga Pre-School Association has contributed a lot. The Association has played a significant role in fostering and understanding of the importance of early childhood education and also it strengthens the links between the schools, the families and the communities.

The review conducted in 1995 revealed the urgent need for training of teachers. The plan already in the pipe-line was for the Institute of Education to set up an Early Childhood Department with two lecturers to organise and monitor the training of early childhood teachers. The mode of training would be centre-based and college based.

One strong factor that has perhaps slowed down the development of early childhood centres is the availability of trained teachers. Most of the teachers work on a voluntary basis and are also untrained because they cannot afford the course offered by the USP extension services. Also most parents still believe that young children learn best through interactions with adults in their environment.

Some centres especially in the urban areas charge very high fees and it is mostly children of working parents are who are able to attend. In the village centres they rely heavily on parents to provide resources, general cleaning of the place, pay for electricity and water and pay the teachers' allowance also. This is done through fund raising and church festivals.

Thus formal parental participation programme (Community Support for Education) through the BELS programme was the new dimension of seeing parents as partners in children’s early learning at these basic levels. The new dimension calls for parents participation and involvement in what is happening inside the classrooms as well as the learning processes that take place at home and outside the school hours.

The CSFE component of BELS, collectively, not only reminds parents of their roles and responsibilities in matters of a childs' health and welfare but also introduces ideas seen as positive from an educational point of view like emergent reading skills at home, improving reading and writing skills at home, stimulating intellectual pursuits at home etc.

However parents must be convinced that their traditional patterns of child-rearing and cultural values are the processes to be stabilised in their own natural way before great parental involvement in emergent literacy is involved. This is included in strengthening links between the families that is part of the CSFE component.

It is better coordinated through the strategies of training classroom teachers with their groups of parents as follow:-

ECE/pre-school and the children's parents

Classes 1 + 2 with the parents

Classes 3 + 4 with the parents

Classes 5 + 6 with the parents

The teachers are trained to refine the roles of parents at each specific level of basic education. This is a strategy that will improve the quality of learning at basic level from early childhood education to upper primary level.

The Pre-School Association is to be commended for its untiring efforts in the last twenty four years. It has played a significant role in fostering and understanding of the importance of early childhood education. It has also strengthened the links between the schools, the families and the communities.

The number of pre-schools has increased from 20 in 1990, 33 in 1995 (30 registered, 3 unregistered) and 45 in 1999, an increase of 55%.

6.2 Primary

The Ministry has been practising for years, admission of five year olds to the formal school system. This reflects the Ministry's long-term objective in strengthening of the educational foundation. This is in line with the Government's policy to improve the quality and relevance of primary education.

The legal framework of compulsory education in the primary level has contributed to the achievement of universal primary education and quality is now the ultimate goal.

The schools are within good walking distance of the child’s place of residence. On every inhabited island there is a school.

During the decade a few more schools were established due to pressure from the parents for accessibility and safety.

Enrolment at this level has stabilised more or less during the decade with marginal variations only.

Table 5

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

16,522

16,522

16,655

16,658

16,793

16,540

16,857

16,648

16,749

16,683

Source: Annual Reports, Attendance Officer’s Records

6.2.1 Primary Participation Rates

Table 6

Male

Female

Attending

Not

Attending

Participation

rate

Attending

Not

Attending

Participation

rate

6-9

5066

129

97.5%

4,381

104

97.7

10-14

6137

295

95.4%

5783

197

96.6

15-19

3576

1981

64.6%

3700

1536

70.7

The participation rate of males and females in the 6-9 age group are both at 98%. The 10-14 age group shows that the girls participation rate is slightly higher than the boys. The trend over the years is that more boys repeat in the Class 6 level.

6.2.2. Teacher / Pupil Ratio

The teacher pupil ratio for the decade since 1980 for both government and non-government organisations.

Table 7

 

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

No of Pupils

16,522

16,655

16,658

16,730

16,540

16,652

16,857

16,648

16,749

16,683

No of Teachers

689

714

784

754

701

784

804

792

746

740

Teacher/Pupil

Ratio

1.24

1.23

1.23

1.22

1.23

1.21

1.21

1.21

1.20

1.22

The teacher-pupil ratio is generous because of the number of composite and multi-class teacher schools in the rural and outer islands.

For 1997 in comparison the Public and Private pupil/teacher ratio by district was as follows:

Table 8

Central

1:26

1:11

Western

1:20

1:12

Eastern

1:23

1:17

Vava’u

1:19

No private school

Ha’apai

1:18

1:9

Source: Annual Report

School enrolment from 1993-1997 by Sex

Table 9

Year

Male

Female

Total

 

1993

8764

7975

16739

115 schools

1994

8794

7746

16540

115 schools

1995

8856

7796

16652

116 schools

1996

9027

7830

16857

116 schools

1997

8970

7678

16648

116 schools

Source: Annual Report

As shown above, there are more males than females.

6.2.3 Repeaters and Drop-outs

The boys have for years appeared to repeat in greater numbers than girls. In 1993 the percentage of boys repeating was 54%. In 1997, although the number of repeaters has dropped, still there were more boys than girls.

At class 6 all children are given two years or more if needed to sit the Secondary Entrance Examination. The system has to provide extra teachers and resources to cater for the additional number of repeaters.

One of the basic goals at this level is to eliminate repeating at Class 1 to Class 6 and to work toward making the system more proficient and effective in assisting all children to master the tools of the educational process within the six years of compulsory schooling.

The percentage of repeaters at Class 6 is not necessarily an indication of the proficiency of the students but rather of the rising aspirations of parents and the level of competition for places in the best secondary schools.

Table 10

Enrolment by district/by controlling authority 1993 and 1997

District

Government School

Church Organisations

 

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

 

1993

1997

1993

1997

1993

1997

1993

1997

1993

1997

1993

1997

Central

2429

2446

2289

2203

4718

4649

286

361

318

339

604

700

Eastern

1728

1810

1586

1525

331

3335

46

43

49

26

95

69

Western

996

1029

869

844

1865

1873

213

176

181

19

394

295

Eua

473

409

409

389

882

836

           

Ha’apai

729

771

641

641

1370

1412

64

57

47

58

111

115

Vava’u

1573

1595

1383

1337

2956

2932

21

 

18

 

39

 

NTT

133

156

123

131

256

287

           

NF

62

79

72

66

135

145

           

Total

8124

8333

732

7136

15496

15469

630

637

613

542

1243

1179

Source: Annual Report

It can be seen from Table 10, that Tongatapu educated the largest percentage of the primary school population at 65.6%, followed by Vava’u with 17.6% and Ha’apai 9.2%, Eua with 5% and the two Niuas with 2.6% in 1997, a decrease of 0.5% from 1993.

The schools in the Central District of Tongatapu are considered to be always at an advantage – they have access to the activities and facilities of the capital, and they regularly benefit from the professional advice of supervising teachers and other officers.

It is clear that Government is committed not only to maintaining the level of provision and standards already reached at the primary level, but also to moving ahead in effecting further qualitative improvements in training facilities, resources and staff quarters in the outer islands. The Headquarters of the Primary Division in Ha’apai and Vava’u have four officers each to administer and provide professional advice to teachers. One officer is posted to the two Niua’s where he spends approximately six weeks on one island then another six weeks on the other. Another education officer is posted in Eua to provide professional advice to teachers.

In 1996 there were ten staff quarters donated by the Australian Government for Ha’apai schools.

The New Zealand Government donated funds for staff quarters at the two Niuas and additional classrooms and toilet facilities in Eua in collaboration with the PTAs.

Japan, under its Grassroots Assistance Programme, also provided funding for the provision of additional facilities in Vava’u.

Cyclone Hina in 1997 destroyed some of the school buildings and materials. Under the Reconstruction Schools Project jointly funded by Tonga Government, New Zealand and Australian governments, the 21 schools that were badly damaged were either upgraded or had new facilities provided.

The Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) also contributed to capital development in a number of schools by building classrooms, toilet facilities, school libraries, staff houses and teaching materials. The PTA should be commended for their efforts towards the provision of quality education for their children.

The last national census taken in 1996 confirmed the effectiveness of compulsory education regarding school attendance and participation rates by age group and sex.

A. Survival Rate to Grade 6

The overall survival rate to Grade 6 is good. The female survival rate decreases after Grade 4. The co-efficient of efficiency is high due to wastage in repetition (class 1, class 6) and drop outs.

Percentage of Pupils having reached Grade 6 (SEE Examination)

The majority of the class 6 pupils who sat the Secondary Entrance Examination in 1997 were those who entered class 1 in 1992 plus the repeaters. The table below shows the number of pupils from each district and the number and percentage of candidates achieving over 200 aggregate for the four subjects. The overall performance of students improved from 28% in 1989 to 30% in 1994 and in 1997 it went up to 33.3% as shown.

Table 11

 

District

No

Candidate

No achieving Pass mark

271 to THS

 

%

No achieving

200+ Aggregate

 

%

Central

969

64

6.6

435

44.89

Eastern

791

16

2.0

224

28.3

Western

421

9

2.1

111

26.4

'Eua

176

1

0.6

32

18.2

Haapai

327

10

3.1

99

30.3

Vavau

678

6

0.9

229

33.8

Nuatoputapu

51

0

0

10

19.6

Nuafoou

24

0

0

3

12.5

Total

3437

106

3.08

1143

33.26

Source: Annual Report

Teachers Qualification

The teachers' qualifications have greatly improved over the years since the beginning of the diploma programme. The number of untrained teachers by 1994 was decreasing and the number with academic qualifications (Diploma, class 1, 2 & 3 Teachers Certificate) was increasing.

By 1997 there were no more untrained teachers working under the Government School system as shown below.

Table 12 Teachers Qualifications

     

Government

Non Government

 

1990

1994

1997

1997

Graduate

2

2

4

1

Diploma

49

174

277

11

Class 1

213

244

231

2

Class 2

111

81

69

6

Class 3

212

194

119

23

TUT

15

2

25

2

UT

87

4

0

22

Source: Annual Report

The two areas of curriculum and teacher education have received special attention by the education authorities in 1990 - 1996. A comprehensive review of the Training College was commissioned in 1993. The Review team reported that Teacher Education in the Kingdom was generally in a 'healthy state' and noted that the country had made great progress in training its own teaching force (to a truly professional standard). While some of the specific recommendations of the Review Team are being implemented gradually, the improved quality of students seeking admission into the new Diploma programme necessitated immediate adjustments to the admission criteria. Under the revised arrangements, students with Form 7 (or equivalent qualifications) and locally trained teachers who enter the programme have one year credited towards the three-year diploma and therefore are required to undertake just two years of training. The introduction of the national Form 7 programme in 1991 has upgraded the quality of intake into the pre-service programme.

More teachers have gone through the upgrading teacher training diploma programme. They come out as better qualified, efficient and competent teachers. The standard of teaching has improved over the years. The learning outcomes seen in the childrens work are promising. The basic learning skills and basic learning content have both been achieved.

The CDU has focussed on Language Education and Number in terms of policy clarification and development of curriculum materials. It defined its policy on languages as that encompassing bilingualism:

Tongan society has long benefited by using two national languages which complement each other. While each language satisfies specific needs, they combine to fulfil the common purposes of language in Tonga. Therefore, Tongan and English are compulsory subjects throughout all years of primary and secondary school. While Tongan is more important in early primary years, English becomes of equal emphasis by the time the child reaches class 4. This ensures that the policy of bilingualism can achieve its purposes. (English and Tongan Syllabus. Classes 1-6, CDU, 1994)

Source: English and Tongan Syllabus. Classes 1-6, CDU, 1994

Number of Primary School Teachers 1993 - 1997

Table 13

Year

Education System

Male

Female

Total

1993

Government

Church

242

17

459

36

701

53

1994

Government

Church

218

14

429

40

647

54

1995

"

235

8

496

45

731

53

1996

"

246

10

498

50

744

60

1997

"

223

14

502

53

725

67

Source : Annual Report

It can be seen that the number of teachers have increased since the beginning of the decade more teachers have been trained under the Teachers College Diploma Programme. There are more female teachers than male.



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