COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$0.75 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: Save the Children

Key documents:

Application and program document

Ministry of education’s COVID-19 response plan

The US$750,000 COVID-19 grant supports:

  • printing standardized home-school packages for preschools and primary schools (10 weeks of activities), including versions for children with disabilities (braille, large print and audio versions)
  • producing radio and SMS lessons for preschool and primary school to accompany home-schooling packages, focusing on inclusion, psychosocial support and child protection
  • homeschool guidelines for parents and guardians for effective home-schooling for children, including those with disabilities.

Education in Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Education and Training Sector Strategy (VETSS) for 2020-2030 recognizes education and training are key to a better and innovative future, protection of the country’s culture and identity, and the development of each and every individual, community, society and the nation as a whole.

It was developed to align with and respond to the strategic direction and intent of the National Sustainable Development Plan 2016 to 2030 (The People’s Plan) and provides the direction and set priorities, taking into account the different key policy areas such as teacher quality, school subsidies, inclusive education, plurilingualism, infrastructure, curriculum, minimum standards, evidence-based policies, management systems, monitoring and evaluation, rationalization of resources, devolution, governance, partnerships and communication.

Vanuatu’s education system uses the “2 - 6 - 4 – 3” model (2 years of preschool, 6 years of primary, 4 years of lower secondary, and 3 years of upper secondary) plus post-secondary education.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) manages the country’s education sector, supported by church education authorities. 

Over 98% of primary schools in Vanuatu are either public schools or government-assisted church schools. In the latter, church-operators are designated as ‘Education Authorities’ and operate under an agreement and regulatory framework with MoET to administer schools on behalf of the government.

A total of 92,600 students were enrolled in 2019 served by 4,230 teachers in a total of 1,453 schools. Vanuatu has achieved universal primary education. Nonetheless, enrollment rates in secondary education are still low, showing that a significant number of students drops out during secondary education.

Over the past four years, more boys than girls dropped out of school at the primary and secondary levels.

Results of the Vanuatu Standardized Test of Achievement (VANSTA) showed that 35% of Grade 4 students did not achieve minimum literacy standards in English in 2017, though results have been improving over the years.

Regional strategy: PacREF

In 2018, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Education Ministers, in which (country name) participates, adopted the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) 2018-2030: Moving Towards Education 2030. PacREF outlines a transformative and sustainable regional education agenda aligned with global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4, and Education 2030: Incheon Declaration on Education for All Framework for Action.

The 12-year framework promotes equitable access to high quality education by all Pacific Islanders with a view to enable their countries to effectively deal with the development challenges facing the Pacific region. The framework also encourages inclusivity and opportunities for equal access to informal, primary, secondary and tertiary education and training. It focuses particularly on education quality and the importance of working cooperatively in the region and beyond.

While Pacific countries integrate what they consider as the relevant parts of the PacREF Program into their national education policies, programs and practices, the Framework also provides a means for identifying and understanding similarities and differences across the region. It offers organizing mechanisms for sector planning, reporting and collaboration, and give development partners with an understanding of where the region’s resourcing priorities lie.

The PacREF has 4 key policy areas to maximize gains in student learning outcomes and well-being:

  1. Quality and relevance: Provide all learners with a safe and supportive environment, within which they are offered high quality learning opportunities that are meaningful, valuable, inclusive and future-focused.
  2. Learning pathway: Provide all learners equal access to multiple and seamless pathways and modalities of learning that will allow them to meet their full potential.
  3. Student outcomes and wellbeing: Make sure all learners acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attributes to enable them to contribute to their families, communities and to nation building.
  4. The teaching profession: Support and empower teachers through opportunities for continuous development, shared understanding and accountability.

PacREF is divided into three 4-year phases to facilitate in-depth program review by the education ministers.

Latest grant

Students from Rensarie College, Malekula Island, return from school. Vanuatu. Credit: Tom Perry / World Bank

Students from Rensarie College, Malekula Island, return from school. Vanuatu.

CREDIT: Tom Perry / World Bank
Development objective: Ensure education and training continuity during and after disaster by providing support and a safe schooling environment in the affected areas

The US$3 million grant is Vanuatu's first implementation and Multiplier grant.

The program objective is to improve quality early childhood and primary education through strengthened teacher education, inclusive education and effective teaching and learning materials.

The program has three objectives, each with a unit at the Ministry of Education and Training responsible for its achievement:

  1. Pre-primary and primary students have improved access to appropriate reading books.
  2. Pre-primary and primary students with disabilities have improved access to inclusive education support.
  3. Pre-service education teacher services are strengthened.

The program is national in scope and targets 37,708 students (including up to 4,593 children with disabilities) and 1,643 teachers at 420 early childhood education centers and 466 primary schools, and up to 200 pre-service teachers and their lecturers at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education.

The program includes a combination of interventions for the short to medium term (books) and long term (inclusive education unit and new early childhood education teacher training program).

All government and government-supported church and community schools in all provinces will receive classroom libraries and inclusive education support visits. Private schools are not covered by the program.

The program focuses on quality and equity, with new teaching and learning materials and new early childhood education training, and on children with disabilities.

The program funded by the US$0.5 million grant supports activities included in the Tropical Cyclone Harold Response Plan, an immediate humanitarian relief to Vanuatu put in place to respond to the damage caused by the cyclone that hit the country in April 2020. Its main focus is to:

  • repair 70 damaged primary school classrooms ane equip them with water supply facilities.
  • equip 70 early childhood education damaged classrooms with teaching and learning materials

The program relies on the Program Support Unit (PSU), to be embedded in the ministry to provide additional technical advice and fiduciary support, including monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.

Grants

All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Accelerated funding 2020-2021 499,796 0 Save the Children UK
COVID-19 2020 750,000 0 Save the Children UK
Sector plan development 2017-2019 455,690 455,690 UNICEF
Program development 2020 174,816 0 Save the Children UK
  Total 1,880,302 455,690  
Data last updated: January 04, 2021

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Vanuatu.

Primary completion rate

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated December 30, 2020