29 Jun 2005

World Bank and New Zealand boost Tonga's education

4:54 pm on 29 June 2005

A World Bank education expert says a 10.5 million US dollar joint project in Tonga will boost education quality and give local communities more say in education spending.

New Zealand is boosting its education spending in Tonga to 9.9 million US dollars, and the World Bank will also contribute, to support education plans of the Tonga Government.

Ian Collingwood, a World Bank education specialist based in Sydney, says the joint project has been in the pipeline for years.

He says most children in Tonga receive primary education, but there have been increasing concerns that they do not perform as well as they should in the education system.

He says the project will address that in a range of ways.

"One of the ways will be reforms in curriculum and teacher education. Another important way, which is an unusual way, in terms of aid expenditure, is setting up a grants scheme that allows schools, both primary and secondary schools, to have control of small pockets of money based on agreed plans for school improvement and actually spend and account for that money themselves. So putting much more local control on school improvement."

Ian Collingwood.