Education in Kiribati

Minister of Education, Hon. Maere Tekanene

The world is changing rapidly and for Kiribati this presents unique challenges. Young people and adults are increasingly required to adapt to changes in their livelihoods that increase their vulnerability to risks associated with climate change, HIV and AIDS, STIs, water supply and sanitation, coastal erosion, disappearing traditional knowledge and increasing income generating activities. The challenge for Kiribati and its education partners is to work together to find a way to get the best from these changes that are reshaping the life chances and opportunities of our young people.

The vision for the future of Kiribati schools is:

Nurturing our children and young people in Kiribati to become wise and responsible citizens able to adapt to, and participate in, their changing world.

The Ministry of Education has through its Education Strategic Plan (ESSP 2012-15) embarked on a major reform programme, the Kiribati Education Improvement Program (KEIP) developed in partnership between Kiribati and its development partners in the education sector. It is the framework within which the major donors in the education sector provide support to Kiribati in addressing its most pressing educational issues up until the year 2020. It reflects Kiribati’s commitment at the international level for better and equitable education outlined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG): Objective 2 and detailed in the six Education For All (EFA) goals. It also reflects Kiribati’s regional commitments to the principles of the EFA goals outlined in the Forum Basic Education Action Plan (FBEAP) endorsed by the Forum Education Ministers in 2001, and the ensuing Forum Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) endorsed by Forum Education Ministers in 2009. This ESSP is also aligned with the Kiribati Development Plan (KDP) 2012-15, which prioritises human resource development as a key focus in the country.

Targeted outcomes for 2020 are:

a) 100 per cent of Kiribati school children achieving functional literacy and numeracy after six years of basic education and are equipped with the skills to continue to the next stage of education b)A comprehensive, inclusive education system adequately funded and effectively managed providing quality basic education to all Kiribati children

The goals of the Strategic Plan are:

  • Goal 1: All primary and secondary students are using high quality, coherent and relevant curriculum that caters to the needs of all children in Kiribati
  • Goal 2: Children are studying and learning in an environment conducive to learning
  • Goal 3: All children in Kiribati are taught by committed, competent and effective teachers supported by effective school leadership
  • Goal 4: Evidenced-based policy and planning frameworks are applied for the achievement of quality education outcomes
  • Goal 5: All children and young people’s rights to education are protected and school sector management is improved by a strengthened legislative framework
  • Goal 6: A strong mutual collaboration mechanism exists between the Ministry and its key stakeholders
  • Goal 7: Effective and efficient services are provided to schools to support the delivery of quality education for all students in Kiribati

The geography of Kiribati challenges the delivery of services and the ministry has resolved to decentralise many decision-making processes. That process engages communities in management and responsibility, thus developing a sense of ownership of their schools.

Currently there are 94 primary schools, 24 junior secondary schools, and 16 senior secondary schools (three government and 13 church run). Education is free in government schools.