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By Lisa Williams

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (January 13, 1999 - Cook Islands News)---The Cook Islands is lagging behind many countries in the region in relative terms of Gross National Product (GNP) dollars for education, according to a 1998 book called El Barometer.

In its section on 11 Pacific countries, only Samoa and the Solomon Islands spend less than the Cook Islands on education as a percentage of the GNP.

Union Group

Figures published by the World Trade Union group, Education International, in their 1998 book on Human and Trade Union rights in the Education Sector, presented the Cook Islands situation compared to other countries in the Asia/Pacific region.

A detailed summary of some figures for Education in the Pacific countries is given below.

While the Cooks spending on Education as a percentage of the Gross National Product is higher than in Samoa and the Solomon Islands, Samoa’s government spends 22 percent of its budget on Education while the Cook Islands government expenditure is only 14.4 percent.

The Cooks expenditure on education is below the average of the 11 countries studied.

Education International is a world trade union organization for the education sector. It is the biggest International Trade Secretariat worldwide, with 23 million members from 284 member organizations in 149 countries and territories -- including the Cook Islands in the Asia/Pacific region.

The release of El Barometer coincides with 1998 being the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the ILO Convention 1987 on Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize.

The Cook Islands' summary is a page long description of Education and Trade Union rights as well as Child Labor laws.


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