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). It 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

Development objective: Improve quality early childhood and primary education through strengthened teacher education, inclusive education and effective teaching and learning materials
Allocation: US$3,000,204
Years: 2021-2023
Grant agent: Save the Children Australia
Utilization: US$783,440

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.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent
Program implementation and Multiplier 2021-2023 3,000,204 783,440 Save the Children Australia
Accelerated funding 2020-2022 499,796 466,730 Save the Children UK
COVID-19 2020-2021 750,000 702,229 Save the Children UK
Sector plan development 2017-2019 455,690 455,690 UNICEF
2017-2018 195,102 * 195,102 ADB
Program development 2020-2021 389,875 * 389,875 ADB
2020 174,816 174,816 Save the Children UK
  Total 5,465,483 3,167,882  
Data last updated: March 17, 2023

** This is a regional grant for Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

* The program development grant is a regional grant for Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The sector plan development grant covers the Pacific region.

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting the Kolisen Blong Leftemap Edukesen for the 2019-2021 period.

This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.

GPE had provided the Kolisen Blong Leftemap Edukesen with a grant from the CSEF to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Last updated May 04, 2022