Vanuatu government pledges commitment toward rural education
Vanuatu government pledges huge commitment towards meeting the education needs of a population that is 80% rural.
Education remains a tough challenge for the government of Vanuatu who must meet the needs of a population that is 80 percent rural.
Vanuatu's Minister of Education Bob Loughman, is taking part in this week's Pacific Forum Education Minister's Meeting in Rarotonga to discuss ideas that would help develop education in Vanuatu.
He told Indira Moala the government of Vanuatu has pledged a huge commitment this year towards improving education, particularly in rural areas.
HON BOB LOUGHMAN: Our teachers need more training and we will certainly develop training courses in order to upskill their skills to be able to deliver that training. We, in Vanuatu, have some limitations. Some of our schools are located in very remote areas. Communication is not too good. Maybe we can say that it is not an educational matter to deal with, but it is the overall responsibility of the government of the republic of Vanuatu.
INDIRA MOALA: In terms of the responsibility of the Vanuatu government you just mentioned, understandably resources in your Education budget are stretched in trying to cope with the fact that around sixty percent of your population are under 24-years old. And eighty percent of your population live a rural subsistence lifestyle. What is the Vanuatu government doing to meet the training and education needs of that large population who are rural and uneducated?
BL: I think this is a very good question. I must say, the government that is currently in power has pledged its emphasis on building its Human resources. That is the reason why the Vanuatu government, this year, has allocated the biggest budget to cater for our tertiary education. On the other note, the government has also invited the contribution from New Zealand and Australia in order to strengthen its capacity in delivering Early childhood education. [We are] currently undertaking that exercise with assistance from World Vision New Zealand in three provinces. With a view of extending to the other three provinces in the next three years. The effort that the government of Vanuatu is currently putting more emphasis on is on education. Not only on formal education but also on the non-formal education.
IM: In terms of informal education, Oxfam New Zealand has set up some training centres in the past in some rural areas, and this is helping to give some young people a second chance at education. Now, is it true that at these rural training centres they accept in kind, payment with kava, pigs or cows for school fees from those families that can't afford?
BL: Education system in Vanuatu is conducted by three different groups. Due to the limited resources that are available to the families, some of the rural families, yes they do accept payment in kind. And this is not a new matter, in as far as the vanuatu communities are concerned. They have been practising this - in the past, our forefathers used to practise this system, and it does work.
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