New Zealand and Australia finally release aid funding for private high schools in Tonga

    The Australian and New Zealand funding for non-government secondary schools has been released by Tonga’s Ministry of Education and Training (MET).

    The money was held back for two years after an audit revealed some of it had been misapplied.

    A spokesperson from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said MFAT approved the release of the funds to MET in December last year and they were paid out by MET in February.

    The money was part of a joint Australian-New Zealand programme to supplement the pay of  high school teachers at non-government schools so their wages were comparable with those of government teachers.

    Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has contributed TP$30,554,487 (Aus$18.5 million) since 2009 and MFAT has provided TP$12 million (NZ$9 million) to cover the period 2013 to 2016.

    Kaniva News raised the issue in January after it received information the money was being withheld and that the Free Wesleyan Church schools in Tonga had complained about funding being held back since 2014.

    MFAT told us in January the funds were held back after it was discovered some of the grants had not been used according to its purpose by schools in Tonga.

    “In late 2014, it came to the attention of MET and MFAT that some of the grants were being diverted into school operational budgets, which is not their intended purpose,” an MFAT spokesperson said.

    “MFAT and DFAT asked MET to clarify with non-government secondary schools how the school grants should be spent. As a result, MET put secondary school grant distribution on hold for the programme until an agreement between the Government and the schools was reached.”

    Editor’s Note:

    We received an updated statement from MFAT and MET yesterday regarding our story published on March 7 under the headline ‘NZ and Aust high school funding for Tonga withheld after funds misspent.’

    It said the information used in our story was out-of-date and asked us to update it

    Kaniva News is always happy to bring our readers the latest news, but it would have saved a lot of time and energy if the authorities involved had responded in time and made their responses crystal clear.

    We e-mailed the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training on February 24 and 26 asking them to tell us whether or not the money had been released to the schools in Tonga. The e-mails were sent to Prime Minster ‘Akilisi Pohiva, who is also the Minister of Education, the Acting CEO and a senior official at MET and copied to the kingdom’s Chief Secretary.

    We received no response from them before publishing the story, based on the most up-to-date information available to us, on March 7.

    Had MET responded to us in February, they would not have had to ask us to update the story.

    Unfortunately, journalists are used to the Tongan authorities not being transparent and reluctant to respond to media.

    Sadly, the other governments involved have not been completely helpful either. As detailed in our story of March 7, the director of the Free Wesleyan Schools in Tonga said she had written to the New Zealand and Australian authorities asking them, unsuccessfully, to release the money.

    Kaniva News e-mailed MFAT in January and the money was released in February without the Ministry updating us, even though they knew we were working on the story.  

    In that exchange of e-mails, we asked MFAT to tell us the reasons the money was withheld and how long it had been held back.

    In response, MFAT said: “In late 2014, it came to the attention of MET and MFAT that some of the grants were being diverted into school operational budgets, which is not their intended purpose. MFAT and DFAT asked MET to clarify with non-government secondary schools how the school grants should be spent. As a result, MET put secondary school grant distribution on hold for the programme until an agreement between the Government and the schools was reached.”

    Kalino Latu, Editor Kaniva News.

    The main points

    • The Australian and New Zealand funding for non-government secondary schools has been released by Tonga’s Ministry of Education and Training (MET).
    • The money was held back for two years after an audit revealed some of it had been misapplied.
    • A spokesperson from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said MFAT approved the release of the funds to MET in December last year and they were paid out by MET in February.
    • They money was part of a joint Australian-New Zealand programme to supplement the pay of  high school teachers at non-government schools so their wages were comparable with those of government teachers.

    For more information

    NZ and Aust high school funding for Tonga withheld after funds misspent’ (Kaniva News) 

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo fai ange pe pea kuo tuku ange atu ʻe he Potungāue Ako ʻa Tongá e paʻanga tokoni ʻa Nuʻu Sila mo ʻAositelēlia ki he ngaahi ako kolisi ʻikai ʻa e puleʻangá.

      Naʻe puke e paʻangá ʻi ha taʻu ʻe ua hili ia hano fakahā ʻe ha ʻātita naʻe ʻikai ngāueʻaki e konga ʻo e paʻangá ni ki hono taumuʻa totonú.

      Ne pehē ʻe ha matāpule mei he Potungāue ki Muli ʻa Nuʻu Silá mo e Fefakatauʻakí ʻa ia ʻoku ʻiloa ko e MFAT ne tali ʻe he potungāué ni ke tuku ange ʻa e paʻangá ki he Potungāue Ako ʻa Tongá ʻi Tīsema 2015 peá ne totongi atu ia ki he ngaahi akó ʻi Fepueli.

      Ko e paʻanga ko ʻení ko e konga ia ʻo ha polokalama ʻoku fetakinima ai ʻa ʻAositelēlia mo Nuʻu Sila ki hono fakalahi e vāhenga ʻa e kau faiako kolisi ʻikai puleʻanga ʻa Tongá ke ofiofi hake ki he vāhenga lahi ʻoku maʻu ʻe he kau faiako ʻa e puleʻangá.

      ʻOku ʻofa atu ai ʻe ʻAositelēlia ʻa e paʻanga ʻe TP$30,554,487 (Aus$18.5 million) talu mei he 2009 kae ʻoatu ʻe Nuʻu Sila ʻa e paʻanga ʻe TP$12 million mei he taʻu 2013 ki he 2016.

      Naʻe ʻohake foki ʻe he ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá ʻa e kaveinga ko ʻení ʻi Sānuali hili ia haʻamau maʻu ha fakamatala kuo taʻofi fakataimi ʻa e paʻanga tokoní ni pea lāunga ʻa e ngaahi ako Uēsilianá ʻi Tonga he ko e talu ē hono puke mei he 2014.

      Naʻe fakahā mai kia kimautolu ʻe he MFAT ʻi Sānuali naʻe puke tuʻu e paʻangá hili ia hano ʻilo ne ʻikai fakaʻaongaʻi ʻe he ngaahi ako ʻi Tongá ki he taumuʻa totonu ne tuʻunga ai hono foaki atú.

      Lau ʻa e ʻĒtitá.:

      Ne mau maʻu ʻaneafi ha fakamatala mei he Potungāue ki Mulí ʻa Nuʻu Silá mo e Potungāue Ako ʻa Tongá ʻo fakahā mai ke toe fakafoʻou ʻemau ongoongo ne pulusi he ʻaho 7 ʻo Māʻasi ʻa ia ne ʻuluʻi ongoongo ʻo pehē – ‘NZ and Aust high school funding for Tonga withheld after funds misspent.’

      ʻOku ʻuhinga ʻeni ko e fakamatala ne nau ʻomai ki muʻa pea mau tuku ange atú ne ʻosi hono taimí he ta ne toe ʻi ai e liliu ia ki mui ai ʻikai ke tala mai.

      ʻOku fiefia maʻu pe Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá ke ʻoatu ʻa e fakamuimui taha ʻo e ngaahi ongoongo ʻoku ala fakaaʻu atu ki heʻene kau lau ongoongó.

      Ka ne mei ʻikai ha toe hela mo fakamole taimi kapau ne tali taimi tonu mai mo ʻai ke mātuʻaki mahino e tali ʻa kinautolu e kau maʻumafai ne nau kaunga tonu ki he kaveinga ko ʻení.

      Ne mau ʻosi ʻimeili ki he Potungāue Ako ʻa Tonga ʻi Fepueli ʻaho 24 mo e ʻaho 26 ʻo kole ange ke nau tala mai ange pe kuo tuku atu ʻa e paʻangá ki he ngaahi ako ʻi Tongá.

      Ko e ongo ʻimeili ʻeni ne ʻave ki he Palēmia ʻa Tongá ʻAkilisi Pōhiva he ko ia ʻoku Minisitā Akó pehē mo e CEO leʻoleʻo ʻa e potungāué toko taha māʻolunga he potungāue akó pea ʻave foki ki hano ʻave hono tatau ki he Sekelitali Pule ʻa e puleʻangá.

      Halaʻatā ke nau tali mai e fetuʻutaki atu ko ʻení pea fakatatau ki he fakamatala pe ne mau maʻu he taimi ko iá ne mau pulusi leva ʻemautolu ʻa e ongoongó he ʻaho 7 Māʻasí.

      Kapau naʻe tali mai ʻe he potungāue akó ʻemau ʻīmeili atú ne ʻikai ke nau mei toe hela he kole mai ke fakafoʻou ʻemau ongoongó.

      Meʻapango pe foki kuo anga pe kau faiongoongó ki he ʻikai ʻata ki tuʻa ʻa e kau maʻumafai ʻo Tongá pea toupikoi ke lea ki he mītiá.

      Fakamamahi foki ko e toe ongo puleʻanga ia ʻe ua ko ē ne ʻikai fakakakato hona fatongia ke fai ha tokoni he meʻa ni.

      Hangē ko ia ne mau fakaikiiki atu heʻemau fakamatala ʻi Māʻasi 7 ne pehē ʻe he talēkita ako ʻa e ngaahi ako Uēsilianá ne ne ʻosi tohi ki Nuʻu Sila mo ʻAositelēlia ʻo kole ke tuku ange mai e paʻangá mo e ʻikai pe ha ʻutu ʻe hakea.

      Ne ʻuluaki ʻimeili ʻa e Kanivá ki he Potungāue ki Muli ʻa Nuʻu Sila mo ʻAositelēliá ʻi Sanuali ʻo ʻeke ʻa e ʻuhinga hono puke ʻo e paʻangá pea ʻi Fēpueli pe kuo nau fekau atu ki Tonga ke tuku ange e paʻangá taʻe te nau fakapā mai ke mau ʻilo e toe foʻi fetuʻutaki ko ia he ne ʻosi mahino kia kinautolu ʻoku mau ngāue ki ha ongoongo he kaveingá ni.

      ʻI he feʻīmeiliʻaki ko iá ne ʻeke atu ai ki he MFAT pe ko e hā e meʻa kuo hoko ki he paʻangā pea ko e tali ne pehē mai ne nau ʻilo ʻi he 2014 ʻoku toe ʻave ʻa e paʻanga ia ne ʻoatú ʻo tokoni ki hono fakalele ʻo e ngaahi akó kae ʻikai nofo taha ki he vāhenga ʻo e kau faiakó.

      Ne tuʻutuʻuni atu ai mei Nuʻu Silá ni ke talanoa ʻa e Potungaue Ako ʻa Tonga mo e ngaahi akó ki he founga totonu ke ngāueʻaki ki ai ʻa e paʻangá.

      ʻI heʻene pehē fakatatau ki he tali mai ʻa e MFAT ne tuʻutuʻuni atu ai ke taʻofi ʻoua ʻe toe tuku ange ʻa e paʻangá kae ʻoua leva kuo faʻu ha aleapau ʻi he puleʻangá mo e ngaahi akó.

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