24 Aug 2005

Cook Islands rejects UNESCO report on education

10:21 am on 24 August 2005

The secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry of Education, Ken Matheson, is outraged at the latest UNESCO Education for All report which he says is riddled with inaccuracies.

Parts of the UNESCO report says that the Cook Islands has 80 per cent enrolment for early childhood education, but only 50 per cent reach grade five or standard four level.

Mr Matheson says that is absolute nonsense, because they've grouped the Cook Islands with countries that have gross enrolment rates below 100 per cent, and net enrolment rates below 90 per cent.

"We have no dropout problems at primary school level. Those figures are a misinterpretation of the data, they simply take survivalship as being the number of grade five students divided by the number of grade one. In most countries if there is a big difference that reflects dropout."

Mr Matheson says the Cook Islands has one of the highest enrolment rates in the world - with 99.5 per cent of five to 15 year olds enrolled in schools.