24 Jan 2011

Cooks population drop cuts school rolls

9:09 am on 24 January 2011

The declining Cook Islands population is being reflected in the national school roll which has been falling gradually since 1997.

An estimated 1,104 fewer children will start the 2011 school year.

The ministry's 2011 projections are for an increase of two students in the northern group and a decrease of 57 students in southern group.

The education secretary, Sharon Paio, says any decline in population is a concern to the Ministry of Education because it places further constraints on curriculum diversity.

Sharon Paio says the declining roll is having a significant impact on the education system, particularly in the outer islands.

This has called for the introduction of a 2011 on-line teaching pilot programme for some outer islands schools.