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KIRIBATI EDUCATION

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CATHOLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS

ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, TABWIROA, ABAIANG

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This school is fortunate to be situated on a 20-acre property on Abaiang. The double-storey cement building was used for a seminary from 1938 until 1939. So when St. Joseph's College was officially opened in February, 1940, many of the first 40 pupils were former seminarians. By 1954 there were 100 boys mostly boarders from all over Kiribati. In that year the staff comprised a French MSC priest, two Australian OLSH Sisters and two I-Kiribati teachers. An older French Sister cared for the boys in many ways, but at that time the students supplied their own food and cooked for themselves. The only fee was thirty shillings a year for typewriting lessons.

     

Most students enrolling at Tabwiroa in the early 1950's were in their late teens but by 1959 some of the younger students were ready to sit the General Certificate of Education (London University). This was soon replaced by the Cambridge School Certificate on Form 5 until 1963.

Owing to lack of staff in 1964 Tabwiroa discontinued its upper form and students who sat the Form 3 Colony Junior Certificate were selected for Form 4 at KGV. With a Form 3 Certificate students were also able to get jobs and become apprentices,.

In 1971 Tabwiroa once again had Form 4 and Form 5 in 1972-74. In 1974 it was decided to consolidate Tabwiroa and Taborio as one co-ed Catholic Secondary Schools with Forms1,2,3 at Tabwiroa and Forms 4 and 5 at Taborio. The two schools were named Catholic Junior College and Catholic Senior College. So from 1975 till 1992 this continued with Tabwiroa Form 1 students automatically proceeding to Form 4 at Taborio.

Beginning in 1993, Form 1 was discontinued at Tabwiroa  with entry at Form 2, in line with a new policy trialled for the benefit of more mature students and to save parents extra expense so more students could continue at school until Form 5. It was soon evident that most parents preferred their children to enter secondary school at Form 1 level. So once again Tabwiroa had Form 1 and by 1994 it also had Form 5 students who were ready to sit the Kiribati National Certificate.

As Tabwiroa was a boys' school for so many years, ex-students still prefer to send their sons there as they know that their culture, traditional skills and faith will be carefully nurtured and developed.

As a junior secondary school Tabwiroa established its reputation in the country. Many ex-students of the sixties, seventies and eighties hold important positions in Kiribatii while some of the earlier Tabwiroa students are outstanding in their dedication to the Church and its needs.

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IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE

In 1955 when Immaculate Heart College was opened at Taborio, North Tarawa, nearby Abaokoro was the site of the Central Hospital in the Colony. Bishop Terrienne had already made Taborio the headquarters of the Mission.

The original double-storey weather-board building comprised convent, class-rooms and girls' dormitory. Sr. Aileen Crowe was the first principal and for the first twenty years the majority of the staff were Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Sisters (OLSH). The numbers rarely exceeded 100.

By the sixties Taborio had   gained a reputation for itself especially through the contribution made by Sisters such as Sr. Veronica Hollis. Students left the College to take up jobs in the professional and commercial society that was rapidly developing in the Colony in those days or as good wives and mothers.

Like Tabwiroa, Taborio only had Forms 1-3 from 1964-1970. In 1971 they had their first Form 4 students and in 1972 their first Form V.

In 1975 Taborio became a co-ed and a new title Catholic Senior College with Forms 4 and 5. For nearly twenty years it remained so. However in the early nineties it accepted first Form 2 students and in 1995 Form 1 students. It now has Forms 1-5 with an enrolment of over 3000.

In the early 1970's, the first volunteers came from the U.K. Later they came from Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada.

When the staff at Taborio perceived that the N.Z. School Certificate was more relevant to the Pacific situation than the Cambridge, they made a changeover in 1979. The Government school soon followed suit. From 1989 the Kiribati National Certificate gradually replaced the N.Z. School Certificate.

In more recent years once students remained in the school for the whole of their secondary education, Taborio reverted to its original name of Immaculate Heart College.

As Taborio was girls' school for many years, most ex-students prefer to send their daughters to their former school.

The motto of both Taborio and Tabwiroa is "Seek Truth". Many staff and students of both schools ever live in their daily lives.

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CATHOLIC COLLEGE

On the same campus at St. Louis, Form 6 was started in 1990 by Sr Nora Hanrahan. This was called Catholic College as it was established to cater for the increased number of Form 5 leavers from Tabwiroa, Taborio and later St Louis, who could not be accommodated in the Government Form 6 classes. By 1993 two other OLSH Sisters were on Catholic College staff and the two streams of Arts and Science were available. Usually the Arts group has 20 students while 15 are in the Science group.

For a couple of years some Form 6 students chose to stay on and do Form 7 at Catholic College. As the Government would not subsidise their fees for USP Courses assistance was sought and received from two High Commissioners.

For the most part there was an exchange of teachers between St. Louis and Catholic College. Financially and staff-wise it has been difficult to run Catholic College independently of St Louis so in 1996 it was decided that Form 5 would become the responsibility of   St Louis High School in 1997.

Sr. Nora who started Form 6 in an open thatched classroom near the ocean and with very few resources worked untiringly until in 1977. Form 6 has Arts and Science facilities and a reference library envied by many. Now Form 6 has the use of three cement block classrooms - a far cry from the thatched "hut" of 1990. Nine of the 1996 Form 6 at Catholic College gained places in Form 7.

Today I would like to congratulate and thank Sr. Nora for her dedication and tireless work not only for *Form 6 as a whole but for her personal concern for the good of each individual at Catholic College. Its establishment remains a memorable achievement.  *now part of St Louis High School.

13 SECONDARY SCHOOLS LOCATION
3 GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOLS
King George V and Elaine Bernacchi School KGV/EBS South Tarawa Bikenibeu
Meleangi Tabai Secondary School MTSS Linnex Tabuaeran
Teabike College TC Southern Kiribati Tabiteuea North
10 SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Roman Catholic Church
St. Joseph's College SJC Northern Kiribati Abaiang
Immaculate Heart College IHC North Tarawa Taborio
St. Louis High School SLHS South Tarawa Teaoraereke
Sacred Heart High School SHHS South Tarawa Bikenibeu
Kiribati Protestant Church
Hiram Bingham High School HBHS Southern Kiribati Beru
Stephen Whitmee High School SWHS Northern Kiribati Abaiang
George Eastman High School GEHS Northern Kirbati Nonouti
Seventh Day Adventist
Kauma High School KHS Central Kiribati Abemama
Latter Day Saints
Moroni High School MHS South Tarawa Eita
Church of God
Church of God Secondary School COGHS South Tarawa Eita

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HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

 EDUCATION

CURRENT SITUATION

Delivery of education services in Kiribati is handled as a partnership between Government and the churches.

At the primary level, free and compulsory education for children from 6 to 12 years old was introduced by legislation in 1977. Government then assumed responsibility for all primary schools, with the churches being asked to change their focus to secondary education. There was some consolidation of the number of primary schools over the early part of the 1990's. In1996, there were 17,279 children enrolled in 82 primary schools in Kiribati. The average pupil/teacher ratio in the primary school system was 24.0 to 1.

In 1996, there were 4,023 children enrolled in 10 secondary schools in Kiribati, 3 of them run by Government. The average pupil/teacher ratio in the secondary school system was 16.8 to 1.Church schools catered for 77 percent of secondary students. Education through to Form 7 is undertaken at 1 school, while a further 3 cater for education to Form 6.

A restructuring of primary and secondary education is planned to commence in 1997. This involves the introduction of a system of more decentralised junior secondary schools to provide the first three years of secondary education, following six years of primary education. Under the current system students receive seven years of primary education, with some students then moving on to centralised secondary schools. Students not initially gaining entry to secondary schools can undertake a further two years of primary education, and then compete for entry into Form 2 of the secondary system.

It is proposed to establish 23 junior secondary schools throughout Kiribati, and to make junior secondary education universally available. Fees for junior secondary education are refunded to a large extent through a subsidy , at least until 1998. Components of the programme include provision of classrooms, curriculum development, and teacher training.

Tertiary training is undertaken at the University of the South Pacific, and at a number of local institutions including Kiribati Teachers College (which trains primary school teachers), the Marine Training School and Tarawa Technical Institute. Consideration is being given to consolidating some of these institutions into a College of higher education.

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 MEDIUM TERM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The goal for the education sector is an education system achieving high standards, broad coverage, relevance and cost effective delivery.

Medium term objectives for the sector are:

    .   upgrade resourcing of the primary school system:

    .  universal access to education up to Form 3;

    .  improved cost effectiveness of all levels of the education system; and

    .  improved quality and relevance of the education system.

 Medium Term Policy Actions 

Set out below is a policy action matrix for the education sector which details the strategy to be implemented to achieve the medium term objectives of the sector, and to work towards the achievement of the goal for the sector. Policy elements and actions are listed for each medium term objective, together with information on the timing of, and allocation of responsibilities for, this action.

Table 2       EDUCATION POLICY MATRIX

Goal: An education system achieving high standards, broad coverage, relevance and cost effective delivery.

Medium Term Objective Policy Elements and Actions Timing and Responsibilities.
Upgraded resourcing of the primary school objective Give priority  to teacher training, classroom upgrading, and provision of teaching aids and textbooks, at the primary education level. METT
Universal access to education up to Form 3. Proceed with Junior Secondary School programme in a staged and cost effective manner. METT
Improved cost effectiveness at all levels of the education system Retain and build on church and community participation in delivering education at all levels.

Optimise pupil/teacher ratios.

Introduce fees for all non-compulsory services.

Seek efficiencies in the provision of post-secondary education, in both local institutions and in the funding of training at overseas tertiary institutions

METT, Churches, Community

 

METT

METT, MFEP

 

METT

 

Improved quality and relevance of the education system Support community and church groups in establishing early childhood education principles in the pre-school system.

Improve linkages between the education system and the job market.

METT, Community, Churches

 

METT, MLEC, MCIT

The key policy elements linked to the medium term objective of upgraded resourcing of the primary school system are:

 a)      To give priority to teacher training, classroom upgrading, and provision of teaching aids and textbooks, at the primary education level.

While the coverage of education at the primary level is good, the quality of  education at this level is suffering due to a shortage of resources. It is important that primary education is adequately resourced as a key priority of the sector, before attention is given to new initiatives at other levels of education.

The key policy elements linked to the medium term objective of universal access to education up to Form 3 are:

  a)      To proceed with the Junior Secondary School programme in a staged and cost effective manner.

The JSS programme promises major gains in the delivery of education services at this level, enabling higher quality education to be achieved in a decentralized fashion. At the same time, the cost of the programme (both in capital and recurrent terms) is high and a high level preparation is required for the introduction of the programme. This suggests that a staged introduction is required with close control of costs.

The key policy elements linked to the medium term objective of improved cost effectiveness at all levels of the education system are:  

            a)      To retain and build on church and community participation in delivering education at all levels.  

The churches and the community have long played a very active role in the provision of education in Kiribati. Government policy does, however, appear to be gradually narrowing the role these organizations play to a point where they will focus only on upper secondary education. Given the shortage of resources facing government greater use can be made of the willingness of churches and the community to participate in delivering education services.

            b)  To optimize pupil/teacher ratios. Maintaining pupil/teacher ratios at optimum levels can economise greatly on  the use                    of resources in the sector. These ratios are low by international standards in Kiribati and, while this is partly  explained    by the dispersion of population among many islands, it is an area warranting closer monitoring.          

    c)  To introduce fees for all non–compulsory services.

Cost recovery in the education sector is low, and improvement is this area can assist in improving the standard of service.Priority areas for increased cost recovery should be the non-compulsory areas of education.

d)      To seek efficiencies in the provision of post secondary education, in both local institutions and in the funding of training at overseas tertiary institutions. Unit cost of tertiary education are high, and internationally this level of education is becoming increasingly market driven. Public funding of education at this level should be directed towards filling critical manpower gaps.

The key policy elements linked to the medium term objective of improved quality and relevance of the education sector:

 a)      To support community and church groups in establishing early childhood principles in the pre-school system.

Preschool education is delivered by community and church groups, who require support to ensure that this level of education is carried out effectively in accordance with early childhood education principles. This involves facilitating teacher training, and advising on appropriate resource material.

b)      To improve linkages between the education system and the job market.

The effectiveness of the education system is enhanced if its output is readily absorbed by the labour market. This suggests that employers should be consulted on course contents and other aspects of the education system to make students as employable as possible when they leave school.    

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Copyright 2000-2011 by Jane Resture-Gray (jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 11th January 2011)   

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