TUVALU CALLS FOR EDUCATION FORUM AFTER POOR EXAM RESULTS

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By Tataua Pese

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 27, 2002 - Wansolwara Online-USP Journalism/Pasifik Nius)---Tuvalu's Department of Education has called for a national education forum before the end of the year following concerns over poor secondary school examination results.

This was disclosed at the Institute of Education advisory seminar and donors meeting at the University of the South Pacific, which ended Friday.

Representing Tuvalu was the head teacher in Funafuti Primary School, Mrs. Temukisa Hauma.

She said that in spite of donor assistance and the "valiant" support by the Tuvalu government for the Education for Life (EFL) initiative, there was general public dissatisfaction with the quality of education.

Poor secondary school results in external examinations at the end of 2001 only heightened concerns.

It had become a priority issue because, given Tuvalu's lack of a viable economic base, the proper development of its human resources was crucial for the country to achieve its economic goals, added Hauma.

The objective of the proposed forum was for all the stakeholders to have "open dialogue to air their concerns" and then decide on the best way forward for the country's education system, said Hauma.

One of the issues highlighted by Mrs. Hauma was the need to develop a national early childhood education curriculum.

"UNICEF has shown its continuing support for this activity and is currently under negotiation with government on this issue," she said.

Education is compulsory in Tuvalu, which has a population of 10,000.

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