Small Pacfic nation, Tuvalu, given $14m to commence early childhood education

by Freya Lucas

June 09, 2020

Tuvalu, described as “one of the smallest, most remote and climate change vulnerable countries in the world”, has been given a US$14 million-dollar boost from the World Bank to commence early childhood education. 

 

The early childhood education grant comes after the bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a grant for a new literacy project to support all school children in the country.

 

While Tuvalu has near universal access to basic education, the quality of schooling is impacted, the bank noted, by low literacy levels across the country which are exacerbated by “an under-developed curriculum” and a lack of instructional materials particularly in local language Gana Tuvalu.

 

The Tuvalu Learning Project aims to address these issues by improving the readiness of children entering first grade and improving the reading skills of all students through teacher training for early childhood care and education (ECEC) centres and weekly playgroups.

 

Public awareness programs and community outreach on the importance of early childhood stimulation, nutrition and health will also be delivered through radio and community meetings.

 

The project includes the nation-wide rollout of the Tuvalu Reading Program, which supports students in the early grades to learn to read in Gana Tuvalu through an explicit instruction teaching methodology and locally developed reading materials.

 

“School readiness and early reading skills are crucial stepping-stones for a child’s cognitive development, future learning, and human capital formation,” said the World Bank’s Michel Kerf.

 

“We are very pleased to be working with the Government of Tuvalu on this important project to support their vision to improve learning outcomes for children throughout the country.”

 

The project has been designed to complement education assistance provided by other development partners, including Australia, UNICEF and the Pacific Community, and builds on earlier work from the Pacific Early Age Readiness and Learning programme, funded by the Global Partnership for Education and implemented by the World Bank from 2014-2019.

 

Based on the findings from this, the government developed a Tuvalu Early Education Roadmap (2019-2023) which shaped the design of the Tuvalu Learning Project.

 

“The Tuvalu Learning Project reflects the strategy of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports to provide the key foundational skills students need in order to develop into the productive citizens that will lead our country in the future,” said the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Timi Melei.

 

The project is expected to benefit over 10,000 people, including children in Tuvalu enrolled in early childhood care, primary and secondary schools.

 

More information is available here

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