6 Achieve universal primary education

Where we are?

In Tonga, primary education is compulsory from ages 6 to 14. Photo: Sheryl Ho/UNDP

The Pacific is on track to achieving universal primary education. Most Pacific Island countries have achieved both a high level of primary enrolment as well as gender equity. The challenge is to ensure that this status is maintained and that efforts are now directed towards identifying and assisting those few children currently being left behind. There are some weaknesses in the rates of primary completion and in the rate of transition from primary to secondary level. Despite the generally high literacy rates in the Pacific Islands countries the quality of education remains a major concern.

Net enrolment ratio in primary education the PICs is likely to be achieved, with Niue being the only country to have already met the goal of one hundred percent. Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu also have high enrolment rates. Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga have rates below 95% but above 90%. The PICs that recorded lowest figures on primary school enrolment were Vanuatu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and PNG in the bottom of the rank.

Literacy levels for both males and females aged 15 to 24 years are reported to be generally high across the region, averaging over 95% in all countries except Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Source: 2012 MDGs Pacific Regional Tracking Report.

Targets for MDG2
  1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
    • Net enrolment ratio in primary education
    • Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
    • Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men