THE current education reform agenda strives to promote quality lifelong learning opportunities for all at all levels of education.
Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Hon Lanelle Tanangada highlighted this during her 2021 Appropriation Bill 2021 Budget Speech in Parliament recently.
Mrs Tanangada said her ministry is constantly reminded by employers that they want to see many more young people entering the labour market with high-level skills, good problem-solving skills and not only in literacy and numeracy.
“This is our focus on providing equitable and increased access to quality technical and vocational education and training and higher education and research, with due attention to quality assurance,” she said.
The Education Minister said that the provision of flexible learning pathways, as well as the recognition, validation and accreditation of the knowledge, skills and competencies acquired through non-formal and informal education, is important.
Minister Tanangada said in terms of the standard of the education system, they are able to demonstrate the students’ performances in comparison with other education jurisdictions within the Pacific Island region; using a common assessment process done regionally.
“The assessment instrument which is used to determine the proficiency level of students in literacy and numeracy is the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA), is conducted across 15 Pacific Island Countries for years 4 and 6 students every second year,” she said.
Mrs Tanangada said the results of this test during 2019 has shown that our primary pupils have performed extremely well in the numeracy component compared to the pupils across the rest of the Pacific Island countries.
She said a basic mastery in mathematics foundation is well demonstrated in the majority of students, with 96 percent of students achieving at least a proficiency level.
“This obvious achievement by our primary school pupils must be continued and bolstered throughout the secondary years of education and through to the tertiary level. We all understand the importance of mathematic skills and that they underpin problem solving, an essential ingredient to success in the modern economy,” Mrs Tanangada said.
Minister Tanangada in her debate speech also stated that our cohort of Year 4 and 6 primary school pupils also performed admirably in the PILNA literacy assessment, scoring 52 percent proficiency level, above the regional average of 50 percent for all 15 Pacific Island Countries that undertook the same test.
She emphasised that the importance of strong literacy skills for young people is essential in the workforce after young people have left school or formal education.
“Current education reforms undertaken by my Ministry are building on this success, to ensure that teachers are well supported professionally to continue to improve their teaching of literacy, which in turn will contribute to improved student performance,” she said.