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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 31) – Tonga’s King George Tupou V has called for reform of the country’s education.

In his speech from the throne today, opening the first session of Parliament since the destructive riot of November 16th last year, the King said there is a need for compulsory education to begin earlier to include five year olds, and to continue through until students are 18.

The Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, says the King believes it is important, given the changing times, for all Tongans to have a full secondary education, or at least time in a technical or vocational institution.

Dr Sevele says it is a revolutionary call that is achieveable even though it will be costly.

"But I think there is room for maximising the training opportunities we now have. That’s the first thing. And sure, education is going to cost money, but if we want a future, a future that is based on knowledge and skills, this is the only way to go."

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