30 Jun 2011

Tonga may extend school leaving age

7:00 pm on 30 June 2011

Tonga is looking at extending the school leaving age to 18.

It's one of the initiatives that came out of a meeting into the rights of children held in Nuku'alofa last week.

The director of the Ministry Education, women's affairs, and culture, Emeli Pouvalu, chaired the meeting and says school drop-outs in Tonga, especially among girls is worrying.

She says amid tough economic times many are leaving to help supplement family income.

"Some children normally help their parents sell their products in the market and some Tongan's they think that's not labour, they're just helping out the family. What we found that's lacking is an interpretation of child labour."

Emeli Pouvalu.

The current compulsory school years in Tonga are from 5 to 14 years old.