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AVARUA, Cook Islands (August 16, 2000 – Cook Islands News)---The education system in the Cook Islands’ is undergoing major scrutiny by an Education Sector Review team, which will be holding public meetings later this month through October.

The team’s objectives are to review, identify and recommend options for change to the country’s education system.

The VicLink consultancy group from New Zealand is carrying out the review with a team consisting of two people from New Zealand and two Cook Islands counterparts.

A meeting of the team was scheduled yesterday with Education Minister, Jim Marurai, and the Cook Islands’ Management Reference Group (MRG).

That latter consists of representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Education Ministry, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), Public Service Commission, and two people from the private sector and community.

The review team will be reporting to the MRG.

According to an Education Ministry media release, the team is headed by Dr. Deborah Willis, with education psychologist Dr. Lex MacDonald from New Zealand, and local counterparts Professor Ron Crocombe and his wife Marjorie Crocombe (counting as one component of the team) and private consultant Teresa Manarangi-Trott.

It is the first time that the team has met as a group since the VicLink consultancy was given the go ahead.

The review team will be holding public meetings, arranging for private appointments and travel to the outer islands for contributions to the process.

The following is the proposed timetable for the team, whose expenses are fully funded by the New Zealand Official Development Aid program.

August 15-23 — assemble in Rarotonga and meet key personnel September 23-17 — consultations in the Northern Group islands September 18-29 — consultations in Rarotonga and the Southern Group October 15-27 — complete Rarotonga and South Group consultations

November — presentation of a Draft report.


Teresa Manarangi-Trott says the review team will be based at the Ministry of Education in Nikao.

Anyone wishing to contact them can do so through the ministry’s telephone number (29-357) or fax (28-357) or email ( 

The team welcomes any input from all sectors — government, private, community and all religious denominations — interested in education and the review process.

To help people interested in making submissions, some key questions are, regarding the education system: What works well? How effective is it? What are the main changes and achievements over the past ten years? How can we improve education and achievements in all forms -- inside and outside the schools now?

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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