8 Sep 2009

Vanuatu teachers wary about education policy change implications

3:10 pm on 8 September 2009

The Teachers Union in Vanuatu says there are fears the government's new free primary education policy will mean classrooms stretched to the limit, with not enough resources to cater for the extra students.

From next year, education will be free for children at primary level, with the government allocating 60 US dollars per child from the first term of 2010 and increasing to 110 US dollars in 2011.

The President of the Teachers Union, Wilfred Leo, says on one hand the policy is positive as many children miss out on an education because families can't afford to pay the fees.

But he says there are worries the government won't provide for the extra resources and school maintenance needed when the numbers increase.

"One of the schools here in Port Vila has already closed enrolment. We feel that still a lot would push in. Already the classrooms are packed, parents would fight to push in their children but then there would be no room to accommodate them. That would give the teachers another problem."

Wilfred Leo says the government needs to look into creating more room for the extra children.