Dr Taufeʻulungaki’s comments “disrespectful” and “untrue,” Prime Minister’s Office says

    Claims by former Minister of Education, Dr ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva did not understand what he was doing were disrespectful and untrue, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

    The Office said that in his role as the Education Minister, Hon. Pohiva was working to find a solution to a recently released report which showed that exam pass rates had declined dramatically while Dr Taufe’ulungaki was Minister of Education.

    Hon. Pohiva, a former government teacher and lecturer at Tonga’s Teachers Training College now known as Tonga Institute of Education, said one of the problems that contributed to the decline was the use of standardisation of results to improve students’ final marks.

    This meant primary school students who failed the Secondary Entrance Examination (SEE), particularly in English and Mathematics, could still get into high school, but were ill prepared to cope with work at a higher level.

    The scaling of entrance exam results had misled the public about student performance, the PM’s Office said.

    The PM’s Office released its statement after Dr Taufe’ulungaki joined forces with a group of supporters who strongly criticised Hon. Pohiva’s move to return the education system’s marking process to assessing raw marks.

    Dr Taufe’ulungaki and her supporters believe standardisation is best for Tonga and it should be maintained.

    Hon. Pohiva said Dr Taufe’ulungaki should give him a chance to do his job as her time was over.

    The Prime Minister’s Office said a report was released on September 8 in which Hon. Pohiva pointed why students had performed poorly in the last decade.

    Pohiva claimed Dr Taufe’ulungaki was well aware of the report as it was something she witnessed while she was a minister, but since the report was released none of his critics had formulated a response.

    He said Dr Taufe’ulungaki should understand the ministerial posts were political appointments and their roles were mainly limited to matters like policy making decisions.

    He said the ministry was comprised of senior officials and experts on various fields who ensured  the education system functioned properly.

    The report

    The report analysing the quality of education in Tonga showed that the rate of students passing their exams had been declining over the past decade, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

    According to the report, the pass rate of students sitting for English and Mathematics in SEE in the period 2002–2014 was consistently about 30% or lower.

    It said this level of performance was disappointingly low and nothing had been done to improve the situation, despite efforts to reform the education system.

    In 2002, 23% of the students who sat for English passed. This pass rate dropped to 20% in 2014. In Mathematics, only 17% passed in 2014, a drop of 14 percent from 31% in 2002.

    There was also a clear indication that the number of students passing popular subjects like Tongan Studies and Environmental Science with 50% raw marks or better had also declined.

    Since taking office in January, Hon. Pohiva has attempted to find a solution to fix the declining trends of students’ performance.

    The Prime Minister’s office said the public did not know how badly students had done because of the standardisation process and the way the results were reported.

    “The scaling of results has misled the public about student performance against prescribed learning outcomes, thus allowing students to enter secondary school ill prepared.

    “It infers that the scaling process has allowed students who actually failed in Mathematics and English to move on to secondary school alongside those who had passed legitimately.”

    The main points

    • Claims by former Minister of Education, Dr ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva did not understand what he was doing were disrespectful and untrue, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
    • The Office said that in his role as the Education Minister, Hon. Pohiva was working to find a solution to a recently released report which showed that exam pass rates had declined dramatically while Dr Taufe’ulungaki was Minister of Education.
    • Pohiva said one of the problems that contributed to the decline was the use of standardisation of results to improve students’ final marks.
    • This meant primary school students who failed the Secondary Entrance Examination, particularly in English and Mathematics, could still get into high school, but were ill prepared to cope with work at a higher level.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Ko e pehē ko ia ‘e he Minisitā Ako mālōlō ʻa Tongá Dr ʻAna Maui Taufeʻulungaki ʻoku ʻikai mahino ki he Palēmiá ʻAkilisi Pōhiva ʻa ʻene meʻa ʻoku faí ʻoku taʻefakaʻapaʻapa ia mo taʻe moʻoni, ko e lau ia ʻa e ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá.

      Ne pehē ʻe he ʻŌfisí naʻe ngāue ʻa ʻOnapolo Pōhiva ʻi hono lakanga ko e Minisitā Ako ke kumi ha founga ke veteʻaki ha lipooti ne toki tuku ange mai ne ʻasi ai e holo lahi ʻa e tuʻunga e paasi ʻi he siví lolotonga e kei Minisitā Ako ʻa Dr Taufeʻulungakí.

      Ne meʻa ʻa Pōhiva ʻo pehē ko e taha e palopalema ne kaunga ki he holo ko ʻení ko hono ngāueʻaki ʻa e founga fakalelei maaka sitanitaisení ke toe kukiʻiʻaki e maaka ʻo e fānau akó.

      ʻOku ʻuhinga ʻeni ko e fānau ako lautohi ʻe niʻihi ne tō he sivi hū ki he ngaahi kolisí tautefito ki he ʻIngilisí mo e Fiká, ʻe kei lava pe ia ki he kolisí, ka ʻi he tuʻunga ne ʻikai ke nau mateuteu ke lavaʻi ha lēvolo fakaako māʻolunga ange.

      ʻOku takihalaʻi ʻe he founga sitanitaisení e kakaí fekauʻaki mo e ola e ako ʻa e fānaú, ko e lau ia ʻa e ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá.

      Ne pehē ʻe he ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá ne tuku ange mai ha līpooti ʻi he ʻaho 8 ʻo Sepitemá ʻo tuhuʻi mai ai ʻe Pōhiva ʻa e ʻuhinga ne ʻikai ola lelei ai e ako ʻa e fānaú ʻi he taʻu ʻe 10 kuohilí.

      ʻOku pehē ʻe Pōhiva ne ʻilo pe ʻa e Dr Taufeʻulungaki ki he lipooti ko ʻení he ko e meʻa ne ne sio tonu ai lolotonga ʻe ne kei minisitā akó, ka ko e talu e tuku mai ʻo e līpootí ni mo e hala ha taha ʻi hono (Pōhiva) kau fakaangá ʻe ʻomai haʻane tali ki ai.

      Ne ne pehē foki ne totonu ke mahino pe kia Dr Taufeʻulungaki ko e ngaahi lakanga minisitaá ko e ngaahi fokotuʻu lakanga fakapolitikale ia pea ko honau fatongiá ʻoku mei fakangatangata tefito pe ia ki he ngaahi meʻa fekauʻaki mo e faituʻutuʻuni ki he fokotuʻutuʻu ngāué.

      Ne ne pehē foki ʻoku ʻi ai ʻa e kau ʻōfisa māʻolunga he potungāué mo e kau mataotao ʻi he ngaahi malaʻe kehekehe pea ko honau fatongiá ke fakapapauʻi ʻoku lele lelei e akó.

      Ko e līpooti:

      Ko e lipooti ko ʻeni ʻoku lave mai ki ai ʻa e ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá ʻoku pehē ne fai ai hano ʻanalaiso ʻo e tuʻunga lelei ʻo e akó ʻi Tongá.

      Naʻe hā ʻi he lipootí ni ʻa e holo e tuʻunga e lava ʻa e fānau akó ʻi he siví ʻi he taʻu ʻe 10 kuohilí, ko e lau ia ʻa e ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá.

      Fakatatau ki he līpootí ni ko e tokolahi ko ia e lava ʻa e fānau siví he lēsoni ʻIngilisí mo e Fiká ʻi he Sivi Hū ki he Ngaahi Kolisí ʻi he taʻu 2002 ki he 2014 naʻe holo tuʻumaʻu ʻaki e pēseti ʻe 30 pe lahi ange ai.

      Ne pehē ai ko e tuʻunga holo e lava ko ʻeni ʻa e fānau akó ne fakamamahi ʻene maʻolaló pea naʻe ʻikai pe fai ha meʻa ke hakeakiʻiʻaki neongo e feinga ke fakaleleiʻi ʻa e sisitemi akó.

      ʻI he 2002, ko e pēseti ʻe 23 ʻo e fānau ako ne nau sivi ʻi he ʻIngilisí ne paasi. Ko e pēseti ko ʻení ne toe holo hifo ʻaki ia ʻe pēseti ʻe 20 ʻi he 2014. ʻI he fiká ko e pēseti pe ʻe 17 ne paasi ʻi he 2014, ko e holoʻaki ia e pēseti ʻe 14 mei he pēseti ʻe 31 he 2002.

      Ne toe ʻi ai foki mo e fakaʻilonga mahino ko e tokolahi ʻo e fānauako ne nau paasi he ongo lēsoni manakoa hangē ko e Tongá mo e Saienisi ʻo e ʻĀtakaí ʻaki e pēseti ʻe 50 pe lahi angé ne holo mo ia ia.

      Talu e hū hake ʻa Pōhiva ʻo hoko ko e Minisitā Ako ʻi Sanuali, mo ʻene feinga ke kumi ha faitoʻo ke solovaʻaki ʻa e angaanga holo ko ʻeni e ako ʻa e fānaú.

      Ne pehē ʻe he ʻŌfisi ʻo e Palēmiá naʻe ʻikai ʻilo ʻa e kakai ki he tō lalo e ako ʻa e fānaú koeʻuhī ko hono ngāueʻaki ʻa e founga sitanitaisení mo e founga hono lipooti ʻo e ola e siví.

      Hanga ʻe he founga ko iá ʻo hikiʻi hake ha niʻihi ne tō ke hū lalo uaea ki he kolisí fakataha mo kinautolu ne nau lavaʻi lelei e siví.

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