WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 12) - The European Union has agreed to provide over US$9 million to fund a basic education project covering the 14 Pacific Island countries who are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the African, Pacific and Caribbean group.

Those countries include Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tnga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The decision has been welcomed by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Noel Levi, who is also the Regional Authorizing Officer for European Development Fund multilateral assistance to the region.

Mr Levi says the uneven quality of education in the region is a serious concern and too many young people are leaving school without adequate skills to further their education of find a job.

He says the EU-funded project aims to improve the quality of basic education in the region by encouraging better planning and delivery of education.

The project is titled the Pacific Regional Initiatives for the Delivery of Basic Education or PRIDE.

NZAID has also contributed over US$3 million to the initiative, which will be implemented by the regional centers of the University of the South Pacific.

The financing agreement will be signed in early 2004 with the funding to run for five years.

November 13, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:


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