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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)

Vanuatu ratified the CRC on 13 September 1990, 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)

Vanuatu also 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)

Vanuatu 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

Vanuatu was also 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:

6.1Expansion of Early childhood care and development activities

In Vanuatu the official age for pre-school education is 3-5 years of age. The pre-school education comes under the umbrella of the pre-school association. There is lack of statistical data on pre-school education regarding enrolment, teachers, facilities, finance and so forth. The Department of Education does not collect statistical data on pre-school but relies on the pre-school to collect data on that. Recently, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the pre-school association has collected some sample data on pre-school.

Total Number of Kindergarten Schools, Teachers and Children by Province in 1988

Province Total No. of Total No. of Total No. of
Kindergarten sch. Teachers Children M/F




























Source: Division of Policy and Planning, MOE, 1998

All preschools are operated and managed by communities and private individuals. In rural areas, communities run them while in the urban areas school committees and individuals run them. In rural areas, preschool education is free while in the urban areas the school fees charged vary from 3,000 to 50,000 vatu. Preschool education in the urban areas is expensive. Despite this high preschool fee, parents still commit themselves to send their children to school. In Vanuatu, the usual assumption is that all children who enter grade 1 in the primary schools have attended some form of preschooling.

Number and Percentage of New Entrants that attend some form of ECE Programme.



Province New entrants to

New entrants to

% New entrants
primary Grade 1

primary Grade 1

primary Grade 1

that attended ECD

that attended ECD
























Rural area




Urban area




Source: Indicator 2.

6.2 Primary Education

Universal Access and Completion of Primary Education

6.2.1: Apparent Intake rate in Primary Education by Gender in 1994 and 1998:

  1994 1998
MF   134.3
M   105.1
F   174.3

Source: Indicator 3 & 4

The total number of new entrants into grades 1 totals 18,246 consisting of 9,200 males and 9,046 females. Of this 10,984 enrolled in public schools while 7,262 enrolled in private schools.

Indicators 3-4 indicates that the highest number of new entrants is SHEFA with 1,678 consist of 886 males and 729 females. In this Province most new entrants into grade 1 enrolled in Public primary schools totalling 1,613 and 65 in private schools. Though MALAMPA province has the highest number of schools, SHEFA province still commands the highest access capacity. This is because most of the schools with high enrolments are in the urban area.

The total number of new entrants into Primary Grade 1 in the urban area is 986 comprising 513 males and 476 females as compared to 17,260 comprising 8,687 males and 8,573 females.

The apparent intake rate for 1998 shows the females doing better with 179.3% as compared to 105.1% for the males.

6.2.2 Net Intake Rate in Primary Education by Gender in 1994and 1998:

  1994 1998
MF   72.5
M   60.2
F   91.6

Source: Indicator 3 & 4

However the net intake rate for 1998 shows the females still doing better with 91.6% and 60.2% for males. This shows that many students entering Grade 1 are either underage, overage or repeating for another year because the total net intake rate is 72.5.

6.2.3 Trends in Total Enrolment by Gender in 1994 and 1998

  1994 1998
MF 30,472 34,366
M 16,089 17,978
F 14,383 16,388

Source: Indicator 5 & 6

The total enrolment in 1998 is 34,366 of which 17,978 are males and 16,388. The number of girls receiving education is almost equivalent to the number of males receiving education at the primary level with a difference of only 1,590.

The 1994 total enrolment is 30,472 as compared to the 1998 total enrolment. There was an increase of 3,894 students. The same increase applies to the male and female enrolments of 1,889 and 2,005 for females. The increase is due to Government expanding school facilities as well as establishing new ones.

6.2.4: Tends in GER by Gender in 1994 and 1998

  1994 1998
MF 95.3 97.3
M 95.8 N/A
F 94.7 N/A

N/A – Data not available

Source: Indicator 5 & 6

The total gross enrolment rate for 1998 is 97.3%. This is a reasonable achievement for the government considering its policy objective of achieving universal Primary education.

The gross enrolment rates increases slightly from the 1994 GER of 95.3% corresponding to the increase in total Primary School enrolment. The 1994 GER for males and females indicates a strong commitment of ensuring all citizens of Vanuatu receiving education at the Primary level.

6.2.5: Trends in Enrolment by Geographical Location and By Gender in 1994 and 1998

Year   1994       1998    
Province M F MF %F M F MF %F
Torba 588 587 1,175 49.9 767 742 1509 49.1
Sanma 2,942 2,449 5,391 45.4 23,407 3,043 6,450 47.2
Penama 2,547 2,273 4,820 47.1 2,847 2496 5343 46.7
Malampa 3,470 3,220 6,690 48.1 3,652 3444 7096 48.5
Shefa 3,644 3,332 6,976 47.7 4,368 4041 8409 48.0
Tafea 2,898 2,522 5,420 46.5 2,937 16388 34366 47.7
Total 16,089 14,383 39,472 47.2 17,978 2695 5636 47.7
Urban 2,454 2,191 4,645 47.2 2941 2695 5636 47.8
Rural 13,635 12,192 25,827 47.2 15037 13693 28730 47.7

Source: Indicator 5 & 6

Indicator 5 and 6 shows that SHEFA Province has the highest number of student enrolled, receiving education at the primary level totaling 8,409 with MALAPA Province with the second highest enrolment totaling 7,096. TORBA Province has the least enrolment totaling only 1,509. SHEFA Province has the highest enrolment because of the urban schools, which enrolled a lot of students. The main urban centre (Port Vila) which is situated on the Island of EFATE is part of the SHEFA province. MALAPA Province enrols the second highest student enrolment because it has the highest number of primary schools then the other Provinces. TORBA Province has the least number of schools, which resulted in the province enrolling the least number of students.

The trend in total enrolment of all the provinces indicates increases between 1994 and 1998. SHEFA and MALAPA Province also commanding the access capacity to enrol more students in 1994.The trend of the percentage of both females and males between 1994 and 1998 tend to indicate an almost static situation. In both the urban and rural areas, there was a slight increase in student enrolment between 1994 and 1998. In the urban areas as well as in the rural areas, the Government has in the years 1995-1997 with donor assistance has invested in putting up new building facilities renovating existing schools and establishing new ones.

6.2.6: Trends in Enrolment by Geographical Location and by Type of Institution

Year   1994   1998
Province Enrolment – Public & Private % Private Enrolment Public & Private % Private
Torba 1,175 2.9 1,509 2.2
Sanma 5,391 6.6 6,450 5.9
Penama 4,820 3.3 5,343 2.0
Malampa 6,690 4.6 7,096 4.1
Shefa 6,976 6.9 8,409 3.3
Tafea 5,420 5.0 5,559 1.9
Total 30,472 4.3 34,366 3.5
Urban 4,645 10.0 5,636 4.8
Rural 25,827 3.3 28,730 3.2

Source: Indicator 5 & 6

Indicators 5 and 6 shows that 90-96% of children going to school at primary level attend public schools. The trend between 1994 and 1998 shows a drop in school children attending private schools. In Vanuatu most parents prefer sending their children to public schools. In the urban areas, there was a decrease from 10% to 4.8% between 1994 and 1998 and in the rural areas, the trend appears to be static.

6.2.7: Trends of Enrolment by Geographical Location and By Gender

Province 1994       1998      
  Gross   Enrolment Ratio Gender Parity Index GER  

Gross enrolment ration

Gender Parity Index
Urban 108.6 109.4 107.8 1.0 119.3% 118.6% 120.0% 1.0
Rural 93.3 93.7% 92.7% 1.0 93.9% 93.6% 94.3% 1.0

Source: Indicator 5 & 6

The gross enrolment ration between 1994 and 1998 for urban areas indicate a ratio of 108.6% and 119.3% respectively. This corresponds with the following:

  1. Increase in school-age population growth;
  2. More children attending school; and
  3. More school facilities established.

In the rural areas, the GER shows a very static trend. The overall picture tends to provide a positive response for the urban areas where the total GER as well as gender dis-segregation male and female figures is over 100%. In the rural area, the overall picture is positive with a total GER and male /female dis-segregation figures is over 90%.

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