|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
PART 3: PROSPECTS
11.0 POLICY DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE - WAY FORWARD
It is clear that developments in the next decade will be based not only on the priorities identified by Government, but also on the basis of current developments in education, that is, there is a necessity to build on the strengths of the system, whilst at the same time, addressing the issues and concerns. Through the Human Resource Development (HRD) project currently undertaken by the Government of Tonga, the Ministry of Education was able, in 1996, to establish its own Strategic Plan to serve as a guideline for Education towards the 21st Century.
With reference to the need areas and effectiveness of EFA provisions identified in this Report, the Government's future plans will include these needs:
a commitment to further increase access to ECE in the country;
provision of universal access to quality basic education, in close partnership with NGOs and the community
reduction of the percentage of children deemed to be at risk in their future learning through multiple intervention strategies: upgrading teachers' competencies, revision of curricula, provisions of resources to schools (quality books), and professional support services to schools and teachers (strengthening project funded by New Zealand to be continued);
continue collaboration with NGOs in supporting continuing education for adults covering literacy and general life-skills areas;
further develop all forms of training and
acknowledge the need for providing children and adults with cultural imperatives and supporting family units within the cultural setting of the Tongan society.
That by the year 2010, Tonga will have achieved the following:
a. Provision of universal access to quality basic education from Class 1 to Form 6 which means that Government and non-Government schools have equal access to teachers, classroom buildings, facilities and resource materials, and that equity of outcome is achieved at primary, secondary and post-secondary level in terms of gender balance, distribution of resources to the other outer islands and rural areas, educational attainment, bilingual confidence, computer literacy, the rights to an opinion, stable family life and clean and healthy environment.
b. The Ministry is completely structured to meet the needs of the 21st century and the education act with its supportive regulations and policies reflects the changes.
c. A well coordinated physical application programme is established and incorporated into the formal school curriculum.
d. Cultural imperatives are developed and in place.
e. The minimum compulsory leaving age raised to 17 or Form 6 level;
f. A National Qualification Board established and national qualifications regionally and internationally recognized;
g. Formal pre-school programmes for early childhood education implemented
h. All forms of training are further developed and
i. Effective communication links and partnerships established with all deliverers of educational services in Tonga;
j. Technical and Vocational education and training be further expanded and developed;
k. More educational programmes offered through Distance Education;
l. Continued in-service education and professional development of teachers in conjunction with the Teachers College and Officers;
m. Information Technology to be formally integrated into the school curricula;
n. A National University be established for Tonga
From this organisational vision flows the Ministry's mission statement for the next decade -
"To provide and sustain life long relevant and quality education for all Tongans".
To achieve this mission the following strategies are proposed:
a. to improve the effectiveness and expand the quality of basic education which includes improvements in access equity of input and output, establishment of counselling and provisions of services for children, with special needs, curriculum development, legislation, regulations, and policies, communication networks and linkages, teacher quality and competence, physical resources, material resources etc.
b. to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management and administration of Education
c. to provide, upgrade, and acquire resources and facilities for the successful achievements of a and b above.
d. to improve communication and dialogue with other partners in the education process, such as non-government systems, school communities, parents and employers
e. to support and encourage teachers during the implementation of all programmes
f. to develop programmes in higher education as well as in technical and vocational areas
g. To promote basic research to illuminate policies for educational planning, management and administration purposes.
Some of the desired outcomes from the strategic goals are:
a. equity of access to educational services and educational achievement for both sexes, rural and urban areas and outer islands and for all social and economic groups at all levels of education
b. reduction of the repetition rate to nil or less than 5% of total enrolment
c. adequate and quality facilities and resources in all schools, government and non-government at all levels
d. quality curricula used in all schools
e. both governments and private sectors organisations are staffed by appropriately educated and trained, competent and dedicated personnel
f. effective communication links and partnerships established with all deliveries of educational services in Tonga
g. literacy and numeracy achievements high with less than 5% of students still at risk by Class 4
h. All children live in a stable, loving, supporting, family unit
i. strong and active community support for education
j. formal and informal linkages established with partner institutions abroad
k. national population equally competent in Tongan and English
l. Full retention rate to Form 6 level
m. qualifications internationally accredited and recognized
n. All schools and all levels staffed by qualified, competent and dedicated teachers
o. Equal access and equity in types and levels of employment for all sections of the community and for both sexes and that adequate employment opportunities exist to allow for wider choices
p. That the majority of Tongans have had some form of post-compulsory or tertiary education
q. General population aware of environmental conservation and protection issues and are actively engaged in activities designed to enhance and nurture the environment.
Each division of the Ministry, in accordance with its allocated functions will, in its set annual programmes, strive to meet these desired outcomes from the strategic goals.