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6.3 Learning Achievement

Through pre-service and extensive in-service, (the latter receiving a boost through BELS), primary teachers have been upgrading their skills in classroom assessment. The children continue to participate in the annual examination and the results show that the majority have achieved the basic skills of learning. In particular all teachers have now been exposed to the concept of criterion reference test in a practical way through the BELS PILL tests in numeracy and literacy. Regular workshops on assessment have helped teachers to be able to interpret the children’s performance and also inform parents.

Also special school management projects and the component of the BELS Project have assisted to increase children’s learning in the new curriculum English and Maths. The attempt made by the Ministry to provide books to schools has greatly helped the children to be able to read. Teachers have almost reached the required professional standards through on-going training conducted by professional advisers and outside consultants and also the on-going pre-service training programmes offered by the Training College towards Diplomas of Education.

Tonga has an integrated network of institutions collectively serving the objectives of providing post-secondary training programmes in areas that are important to the development of the country - technical skills, health, tourism, agriculture etc (DP 7). These institutions include the CDTC, DERC, TTC and the TMPI. The Ministry of Education, through CDTC also coordinates the national policies and programmes for culture, youth and sports. CDTC has also been assigned responsibility for promoting the non-formal education sector as well.

Working closely with outside advisers and institutions, the Centre has successfully launched a number of courses in response to local demands and expectations, e.g.income-generating projects: small business management and skills training in specific projects, leadership training, networking and coordination, and activities run by the National Youth Congress (NYC).

6.4 Adults / Literacy

Tonga's population is comparatively young with 40% at less than 15 years and 23% in the 15-24 age group hence the concentrated effort of the Government in providing the educational services in the primary, secondary and post secondary.

In the 1996 Census Report, out of the total population of 97,784 only 1,173 were illiterate.

Table 14

Age Group

Total

Illiterate

 

6-9

9680

464

1:20

10-14

12,412

69

1:69

15-19

10.793

58

1:186

20-24

8.595

79

1:108

25-34

13.327

107

1:124

35-49

11,829

130

1:90

50+

13,562

266

1:50

Total

 

1,173

 

Source: 1996 Census

6.4.1 Adult Literacy Rate

Based on the 1996 Census figures data shown in the Table below provides overall information on literacy in Tonga.

Table 15

Age group

Total

English & Tongan

English only

Tongan only

Illiterate

Not Stated

6-9

9680

3574

174

5466

464

2

10-14

12,462

11,062

78

1,202

69

1

15-19

10,793

9,969

43

721

58

2

20-24

8,595

7,740

16

759

79

1

25-34

13,327

11,400

282

1,791

107

1

35-49

11,829

8,519

41

3139

130

0

50

13,562

6,147

94

7055

266

0

Total

80,198

58,411

474

20,133

1173

7

In the 15+ age group the literacy rate is 76%

Source: 1996 Census

6.4.1.1 Literacy Gender Parity

Again based on the 1996 Census the data on the Table Shown below shows that there were no significant differences in the literacy rates for males and females. The literacy rates for males was 98.4% compared to 98.7% for females.

There were slightly more males than females who were literate in both English and Tongan and slightly more females than males literate in English only and more males than females literate in Tongan only.

 

 

Male No

%

Female No

%

Persons No

%

Literate

39,794

98.4

39,224

98.7

49,018

98.5

English and Tongan

 

29,335

72.5

29,076

73.1

58,418

72.8

English only

225

0.6

249

0.6

474

0.6

Tongan only

10,234

25.3

9,899

24.9

20,133

25.1

Illiterate

650

1.6

523

1.3

1,173

1.5

Not Reported

5

0.0

2

0.0

7

0.0

Total

40.449

100.0

39,749

100

80,198

100.0

Table 16: Source: Census Report - 1996

6.5 Educational Training Skills

Training to impart knowledge skills and attitudes that are necessary for the individuals everyday lives, their work and in order to improve their quality of life really begins in primary. This is further enhanced as they cover the different programmes of study in the secondary schools e.g. Industrial Arts, Home Economics, Health etc and likewise in the next stage of formal/non formal activities provided by Government/non government and private sectors.

CDTC Enrolment in 1997 by Programme

Table 17

Sex

Average Age

Education Standard

Total

Number Passed

M

F

20/30

30/40

40/50

THL

TSC

PSSC

F7

 

 

 

Accounting Diploma

 

11

 

15

 

9

 

9

 

8

 

3

 

6

 

6

 

1

 

26

 

16

Accounting Certificate

 

34


36


33

 

23

 

4

 

6

 

27

 

34

3

 

70

 

43

Agriculture Diploma

 

10

 

1

 

11

 

 

 

0

 

0

 

3

 

8

 

0

 

11

 

9

Tourism Hospitality Ordinary Certificate

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

9

THL Tonga High Leaving

TSC Tonga School Certificate Source: Annual Report 1997

PSSC Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate

F7 Bursary

The participants were school leavers, civil servants and 42 from Boards and private sectors. The female participation rate is high and the overall passing rate is 63%. The centre (CDTC) established by government for the expansion of training and widening of educational opportunities benefited from a one million dollar project funded by Australia. The centre was able to carry out more training programmes towards diploma certificates in accounting and agriculture and other trade areas.

A sample of other courses that have been offered over the years at basic level includes:

Plumbing

Carpentry and Joinery

Garage supervisors in private sector

Basic computer skills

The Tonga Institute of Technology (TIOE) under the umbrella of CDTC continued to offer courses on general engineering, automotive mechanic at basic and intermediate level.

Sample of other courses:

Mechanical engineering and instructor training

Automotive engineering and instructor training

Marine engineering

Industrial Welding and Instructor training

Practical Seamen’s training

Catering courses

Industrial Arts courses

Electrical Electronics

Panel and Paint

Plumbing etc.

The CDTC is expanding rapidly and is the major provider of skills training and the focus for community development in Tonga. Some of its promoting development activities have been:

Village farmers training and meetings

Women in development and meetings

Youth group training and meetings

Boy Scout training and meetings

World Food Day Programmes for Tonga

In addition to training in essential skills provided by Community Development Centre (CDTC) and its network of institutions, the Catholic Education System administers four technical institutes which also provide training for school leavers and inservice training in these areas:

Business, typing skills and Secretarial work

Personnel in-service training for upgrading of knowledge and skills e.g. Life Skills

Training of cooks and trainees for the hospitality and tourism industry, Fashion and Design

Basic training for Form 4 school leavers in the areas of carpentry, automotive, painting, welding, etc.

The Free Wesleyan Education system also offers post-secondary training for school leavers and adults on farming concepts to diploma level.

Universities:

USP (extension services) offers formal programmes to school leavers and adults up to Master’s Degree level and non formal programmes through the distance education mode.

‘Atenisi Institute offers training in the Arts and Sciences up to the Master’s Degree level.

University of the Nations offers training in:

Christian Studies

Youth Leadership

Life Skills programmes including carpentry and community development

6.6 Education for Better Living

Education has now clearly become a life long process with people learning at any age and at any place as needs and opportunities arise.

The Government continued to invest in the two social services, education and health, to provide subsidized services to the people through the use of the media (radio, television and newspapers) for community based activities, public awareness programmes and also to increase responsiveness to the dangers of smoking and obesity; disaster preparedness; HIV AIDS; benefits of breast-feeding etc. For example in 1996 Ministry of Health put out 445 radio programmes, 34 television programmes, 51 spots and pamphlets. The Churches were also putting out programmes through the media Sunday services songs, testmonials etc.

Youth and Church groups have regular programmes on the main street. Churches also conduct Bible Study Groups for women. Some of them have indicated that this is a good learning experience for them as it has helped them to read better. Also the broadcast to schools are educating the public also.

Courses offered by both Government departments and the private sectors include:

Civil Service Training Centre –

upgrading training for civil servants and employees of the private sector mainly in administration, management and supervisory skills

Langafonua a Fafine Tonga, the Tonga Development Bank and Agriculture also provides:

Basic training for women in improving quality of life, leadership and other such specific skills

Training in small business development

The National Youth Congress also provides training for youth on:

Culture

AIDS

Population Education Awareness

Works- Disaster preparedness

Lands & Survey Natural Resources – Environmental Awareness

FWC offers courses such as:

Theological training to degree level

Upgrading of pastoral ministers work

Evangelical work

Christian education

In addition, UNESCO Apia's two year Youth programme which began with the training of a core group of 4 young people from each of the 13 Pacific Island Countries resulted in a National Youth Forum and other activities which have contributed to education for better living for youth.

Targets for better living in: Education Education for All by Year 2000

Health Health for All by Year 2000

Church Christianity for All by Year 2000

The centre also organized short courses in conjunction with other governments sectors or NGOs for youth groups and women’s development groups on small projects.

Other training services available are provided by non-government organisations especially Churches for Youth and Women on areas like Bible Studies, singing competitions, drama etc.

Other government ministries e.g. Agriculture, Works, Health are also reaching out to the public with rural development programmes, awareness programmes on farming techniques, fishing gardening, HIV Aids responsiveness and disaster preparedness.

There is also extensive use of the media for drama, sports, and health awareness programmes. Television and radio also have educational programmes for children, youth and adults.

Newspapers also inform the public on political, educational, environmental and health issues.

The CDU also publishes a Newsletter to inform officers and teachers of news as well as the latest developments in curriculum in various subjects. The NGOs, especially the Churches, provide additional coverage of educational matters through their publications from time to time.

Other activities:

(i) monthly meeting of Officers, Head-teachers, with the Director in Tongatapu only. Through these meetings the Officers and Head-teachers discuss Literacy and numeracy matters and how to effectively monitor these programmes.

(ii) CDTC continues to facilitate community developmental activities such as village farm training, women’s development programmes, youth groups training and World Food Day Programme for Tonga.

The Ministry of Education ensures that the population is provided with a standard balanced and quality programme of education as well as the appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes it needs towards achieving the objectives of Tonga’s development planning and individual satisfaction and benefit.

With the achievement of universal primary and secondary education, the development of post-secondary education is being given priority attention, particularly skill straining in areas which are urgently needed to generate employment opportunities and achieve sustainable economic growth.

7. EFFECTIVENESS OF THE EFA STRATEGY PLAN AND PROGRAMMES

Tonga has established a strong base for basic education through making primary education compulsory.

Having attained universal primary education, the continuing need has been to attend to the overall quality of primary education. Measures were also taken to ensure continuity from primary to Secondary and to post-secondary education through provisions of quality programmes, and upgrading of resources and facilities. These will also enhance equal access to resources for higher achievement levels.

The development of the language curriculum materials and Maths for Primary was funded by Australia. For the Secondary school level, Australia also funded the development of Maths and Science. New Zealand funded the development of English for Forms 1, 4 & 5. Other subjects covered were Music, Geography, History, Social Science and Health.

The immediate requirements is to continue to upgrade the level of scholars and the teaching force at the early childhood level and primary levels to match the enhanced capacity at the senior officers level.

It is realised that it is difficult for Tonga to take up some of the very urgent but expensive projects on its own. Tonga will continue to seek outside funding. As such Tonga, like other Pacific countries relies heavily on funded projects.

8.0 MAIN PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED AND ANTICIPATED

The Ministry correctly anticipated a number of constraints that had to be faced in its attempts at bringing about qualitative improvements in basic education. These constraints appeared in official documents like the Development Plan and Annual Reports. The main ones addressed were limited resources, budget cuts, personnel change especially in key positions, transport and communication technologies, shortage of teachers due to resignation, retirement or migration, teachers untimely transfers, integrating of externally assisted programmes to fit in with the on-going programmes. Sometimes trainers and teachers look at a new project as extra work.

The period has witnessed delays in getting some of the planned activities implemented especially in the areas of school buildings, classroom facilities and in resources to supplement curriculum materials and quality books for reading.

The island schools are scattered and getting information to and from is sometimes a problem. Another hindrance is training of teachers in the outer islands. Sometimes work falls behind schedule due to one person being responsible for so many tasks.

9.0 PUBLIC AWARENESS, POLITICAL WILL AND NATIONAL CAPACITIES

As responsibilities for education are shared by government and other church organisations, that collaboration has been strengthened and established over the years. This has promoted a strong public awareness of the country's educational need.

Concerted efforts and sound planning over the years have provided the Kingdom with adequate human resources for effective management and leadership in education.

10.0 GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PROGRESS

Tonga has addressed its comprehensive strategy for making significant improvements in the quality of basic education in the next few years. It covers the key dimensions of education such as teacher education, curriculum, assessment, advisory services to teachers, enhancing community support for education, upgrading the physical facilities and resources in school.

There is close co-operation between the Government and non-Government organisations. The external assistance to the national effort is strong and consistent and this boosts its capacity to meet its educational needs substantially.

Training of teachers has reached a stage that all untrained teachers have gone through the training process.




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