In Timor-Leste, a country recovering from years of conflict, 94% of children are enrolled in Cycle 1 and 2 (primary level) of basic education. However, the number is deceiving as it does not take into account the facts that a) many children enrolled are under-aged or repeating, thus skewing the statistics, and b) many children just stop going to school after a few days, or after one school year ends.
There challenges and solutions identified in the Learning for All Ministerial meetings.
1) To address the quality of learning, a proposal was made to reform the current primary curriculum to ensure an international quality and locally relevant curriculum that includes a specific teaching syllabus.
2) To address equity, the Ministry has identified four key issues, and is in the process of creating a specific department within the Basic Education directorate to deal with equity. The four key areas that will need specific interventions are the following: 1) poverty; 2) language; 3) psychological needs; 4) physical disabilities.
3) To address access, the physical state of schools, infrastructure, and lack of facilities which creates the need for double and triple-shift schooling, were cited as areas where proposed interventions could impact education for 262,000 young children.
Photo Credit: Global Partnership for Education