Aid will see reconstruction of schools in Ha'apai begin
Aid donated for the reconstruction of schools in cyclone-damaged Ha'apai, Tonga.
Tonga's Ministry of Education will soon begin rebuilding primary schools in Ha'apai after it was ravaged by Cyclone Ian in January.
The New Zealand government last week announced it would donate around US$4 million towards the reconstruction costs.
Indira Moala has been in Tonga and has this report.
The New Zealand prime minister's announcement was warmly received when he visited a primary school in Nuku'alofa last week.
Mr Key says he is proud to say New Zealand was the first country to lend a hand to Tonga when Cyclone Ian hit Ha'apai.
JOHN KEY: As a result of Cyclone Ian the primary schools there were for the most part destroyed and so New Zealand will be putting in to the reconstruction of those new primary schools. That affects around about 1,300 children and we know that's an important step as the Ha'apai Islands regroup as a result of the devastating cyclone that took place.
Tonga's Minister of Education, Ana Taufe'ulungaki, says the funds are much-needed.
ANA TAUFE'ULUNGAKI: The funds will provide opportunities for the Tonga government to rethink education for Ha'apai, rebuild and refurnish schools, ensure that all children participate fully in education, raise students outcomes and improve the overall quality of education for all children in Ha'apai.
Dr Taufe'ulungaki says funds from international donors as well as the Tonga government towards Tonga's Ministry of Education have helped the country put new curriculum materials in all schools.
ANA TAUFE'ULUNGAKI: These materials are creating, stimulating, teaching in learning environments in our classrooms and every school day is an adventure for our students with new things to learn, exciting activities to do and opportunities to develop new skills.
Tonga's Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano says the government is aware that the country's greatest resource is its people.
LORD TU'IVAKANO: The advancement of knowledge, skills and values will assist its people to achieve cultural and social literacy. We are most appreciative that New Zealand has continued to be a major partner in our effort. Not only to improve the quality of our education but to ensure that excellence is equitably accessible to all our children irrespective of the economic or social status or where they live.
Reyana Ekuasa from Nuku'alofa Primary School says she has enjoyed reading the new books that were put in her school.
IM: What's your favourite subject?
REYANA EKUASA: Um, English
IM: And what do you want to be when you grow up?
RE: I want to be a teacher.
IM: Why do you want to be a teacher?
RE: I want to be a teacher because I'm going to teach the children. I want to make the children to have a nice day when they grow up.
IM: What's your favourite book?
RE: 'The Cat in the Hat Comes Back'
Students at the school are grateful for the resources supplied by outside donors and say school is the best part of their day.
SCHOOL CHILDREN: We love going to school in Tonga!
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