New programme aims to help keep students at school and improve vocational training

Ko e polokalama ke tokoni'i 'a e to'utupu nofo mei ako' kae 'ikai ha ola lelei

High school dropout rates in Tonga have reached 20 percent and many young people have no other way of learning new skills that could make them employable.

However, Tonga’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Losaline Ma’asi said a new World Bank programme would help overcome some of the most serious barriers to students completing high school.

Hon. Ma’asi said the Skills and Employment for Tongans (SET) project would provide financial help for poorer families.

It would also help  improve the quality of courses in areas that were most likely to lead to successful labour migration to Australia and New Zealand.

It is intended to provide alternative vocational and learning pathways to help make students more employable in Tonga and give them a better chance of qualifying Australian or New Zealand employment programme.

The SET programme is based on similar successful projects in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

World Bank spokesperson Natalie Latu said it would benefit Tonga economically.

Remittances from Tongans working overseas make up 34.2 percent of Tonga’s Gross Domestic Product.

The SET programme is being funded by a US$18.5 million (TP$42 million) grant from the International Development Association and a US$2.4 million (TP$5.4 million) grant from the Australia-Pacific Islands Partnership Trust Fund.

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Andrew said Australia was committed to helping Tongan workers develop their skills.

The main points

  • High school dropout rates in Tonga have reached 20 percent and many young people have no other way of learning new skills that could make them employable.
  • However, Tonga’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Losaline Ma’asi said a new World Bank programme would help overcome some of the most serious barriers to students completing high school.

For more information

Skills and Employment for Tongans

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