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Mandate of the Division

Raise the standards of education to improve the quality, equitability, accessibility, relevancy, and sustainability of universal compulsory basic education (UBE) for all children in Tonga from Age 4 to Age 18 (ECE to Year 13 or Form7).

Goals to achieve

1. Quality reformed secondary school curriculum using outcome-based approach will be completed and accessed by all by 2015.

2. Student achievements are evaluated using quality assessment tools during 2013.


 Eight syllabi for Forms 3 and 4 were completed with each being consulted with relevant stakeholders in December 2013 in preparation to be trialled at the beginning of 2014.

 First basic draft of the Study Guides for six of the eight syllabi above were completed for Forms 3 and 4 in December 2013 in the following subjects: English Language, Japanese Language, Mathematics, Music, Science, Tongan Language

 Two syllabi for Forms 3 and 4 were in draft form by December 2013 which were:

  • Accounting
  • History

and they were to be finalised and trialled in 2014.

 Renegotiate printing agreement with Landeman and Mint Print of Auckland, New Zealand on curriculum materials for Class 1 to 8 in Creative Technology and Movement and Fitness.

 Complete Adaptation Agreement with the ESA (NZ) Publication Limited for CDU to adapt Forms 3 and 4 Study-guides in:

  • Science,
  • Mathematics and
  • English Language

to be used by Tongan schools.

 Completion of the development, printing and distribution by Term of curriculum materials to all schools for Class 1 to Form 2 in two subjects which are Creative Technology and Movement and Fitness.

 Completion of the development of resource books for Class 1 to Form 2 in:

  • Mathematics
  • Tongan Language

 Complete amendment of resource books for Class 1 to 8 in English Language, and Tongan Society and Culture.

 Local reprinting of Pupil Books for the subject, Tongan Language in Class 7 and 8.

 Local printing and distribution of Planner books and Attendance Register books for both primary and secondary government schools at the beginning of 2013.

 Finalise Tala „o Tonga resource materials for Forms 1 to 6 to be printed from Japan for the beginning of 2014 schooling year.

 Local printing of Planner books and Attendance Register books for both primary and secondary schools in December 2013 to be used in 2014.

 Work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Land and Climate Change, South Pacific Commission (SPC) and GIZ in implementing a School Warrior Project in 17 secondary schools from Vava„u, Ha„apai, „Eua and Tongatapu.

 Work in close collaboration with Tonga Community Trust Fund in finalising readers for primary schools on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.

 Approval by Government Procurement Unit of a perfect binder for the Production Section at CDU that will enable binding of up to a thickness of 50mm educational books. Constraints Raise the standards of education to improve the quality, equitability, accessibility, relevancy, and sustainability of universal compulsory basic education (UBE) for all children in Tonga from Age 4 to Age 18 (ECE to Year 13 or Form7). Page 94 of 210

 The primary curriculum materials were expected to have been all completed and printed from New Zealand by December 2012 but the overlap to 2013 also meant over-stressing some writers and late commencement of the secondary curriculum review in disciplines such as Creative Technology and Movement and Fitness.

 Some curriculum materials distributed at the beginning of 2013 for Class 1 to 8 did not reach the classrooms as expected. Some were still at the school Principal‟s office for Government schools, and a few non-Government Education Departments collected their schools‟ portions but some related schools reported to have not received the materials at all.

 Insufficient qualified staff with available time within the MET to:

 Review Forms 3 and 4 curriculum, for example, in Geography. Two public advertisements within 2013 were unsuccessful in recruiting an external local advisor.

 Prepare for a hand-over of skills from currently contracted Consultant as in Mathematics and potential retirees as in Economics.

 Important internal administrative memos submitted to the MET‟s Main Office often disappear without a procedural record like the Adaptation Agreement with the ESA (NZ) Limited.

 The Procurement processes especially within the Ministry of Finance and Planning even took months to complete thus hampering progress that should have been made in new purchases and recruitment of Technical Advisors.


CDU concluded its revision of all the Class 1 to 8 syllabi at the end of this year, 2013. The responsibilities to ensure effective implementation of the primary syllabi lies with a distinct and separate section from CDU, known as the Professional Development Team. As such CDU has begun within 2013 to shift its focus to reviewing the mid- to senior secondary school curriculum. The implications of the secondary review are huge economically, politically and socially.

In secondary schools, the subjects offered are more specialized. This means, CDU must provide resources that are increasingly technical, correct, user friendly, engaging and motivating and in order to do so, CDU should be well equipped with staff that can provide such services. Staff who have qualifications of at least a University degree and not less than 10 years of teaching experiences in the secondary school level with at least two years in the Form 7 level in relevant subjects. Relying on outside resources like consultants is often hampered by delayed procurement processes and in addition, when the advertisement is done, there are insufficient qualified national experts with free time to provide support. It is therefore recommended that in order to complete the work on time with good quality curriculum, it is best that the MET transfer one qualified human resource per subject area into CDU for a year. A part-time worker within MET does not suffice as s/he is often in management position and cannot be focused on the review work.

The increased technicality in all subject areas means the one qualified writer per subject will have to consult other technical experts in their specialized fields who could be in work places (both private and non-Government) or current teachers in secondary schools and thereby align learning outcomes across the levels and with workplaces. This usually leads to part-time writers who through their engagement will also increase ownership of the curriculum materials. The part-time writers are often degree-holders who are currently teaching the subject in the classrooms. It has been found through various engagements in the past that commitments of these part-time writers are secured financially and with decreasing morale when it is merely for the love of the country.

The current curriculum reform aimed at consolidating basic knowledge and skills in Forms 3 and 4 and commences diversification in Form 5, offering more learning opportunities with increase gender sensitivity and greater consideration of the marginalized students. As such, the gender discriminated subjects of Home Economics and Industrial Arts are being restructured into Design and Technology to allow equity of gender access across essential learning areas within them and also make a compromise with the Tongan Culture. Consequently, this will mean that schools should be more prepared to provide diversification of subjects and satisfy the increase demands for teachers‟ technical expertise and the Teacher Training College should also align their training with the reformed programme and anticipate engaging more staff or support staff for technical diversification.

Another subject that will be found challenging to marginalised schools is the Computing and Information and Communication Technology(ICT) where financial support will be required to provide and maintain computer access to students and teachers in Forms 3 upwards. The curriculum reform recognises that ICT through mobile phones has infiltrated the local communities at large from remote to urban, from low to high socio-economic backgrounds, whilst the existing curriculum expects computers to be a brand new tool. The implication for Tonga to keep abreast with the fast technological advancements is financially huge but is foreseen to contribute to our future economic development.

The reform also recognised that according to the national apparent promotion rates in the past decade, there has been an increased loss of students from the formal education cycle across the levels that resulted in less than 20% of those enrolled in Form 6 are promoted to Form 7 in Page 111 of 210 the following year. The challenges for this curriculum reform programme are to provide engaging, relevant teaching and learning materials that cater for the learning styles of Tongan students and provide meaningful, authentic learning activities that links the skills obtained in the classrooms with those in the work places and community living, yet effectively achieve the learning outcomes stipulated in the national syllabi. Other contributing factors to the success of this attempt to engage students in the classrooms are also acknowledged, such as teacher preparedness including quality classroom instructions but these are outside of the scope of the Curriculum Development Unit. Whilst contextualization of the curriculum is important, another challenge is to ensure that the curriculum aligns closely with our neighbouring countries of New Zealand and Australia as many of our students migrate there, hence the attempt to work closely with ESA (NZ) Publication Limited.

It is strongly recommended that donor funds should be sought in future for wider public consultations and review of the secondary school curriculum in Tonga. The Muscat Agreement on the proposed seven new goals for Education for All – Post 2015 held in Oman in May 2014 clearly indicate the need to ensure that it is not just the basic primary education levels that should receive attention but for a sustainable economic development, international commitment should also focus on secondary schools as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Trainings.

Mixed messages within the MET continued throughout this annual period to hinder progress towards articulating the Ministerial specific vision expressed at the MET‟s Retreat at the beginning of the year, 2013 and without such a vision, the MET will be aimless in its pursuit of quality student achievement.

Overall, CDU has attempted throughout 2013 to ensure that the Staff have unified vision of completed syllabi for Forms 3 and 4 and confirmed scope and sequence up to Form 7, and at the same time, complete all remaining curriculum materials for Class 1 to 8. Continual capacity building within CDU was to embed the importance and rationale for a thorough review given the past data analysis on student performances, apparent school promotion rates, and relevant international and local findings. It is essential that such practices should be nurtured and furthered through international attachments and trainings for the various sections within CDU which will not only strengthen professionally but also provide greater vision of what quality curriculum in Tonga should be and how best one should contribute towards achieving it.


I. For Primary to Early Secondary (Class 1 to 8):

  • Syllabus

  • Teacher Guide

  • Pupil Book

  • Resource Books

  • Readers

  • Secondary

  • school

  • test2

  • test2

1x English Language (Class 3-8),
1x Tongan Language (Class 1-8), 
2x Science (Class 1-8, Class 7&8), 
2x Mathematics (Class 1-8, Class 7&8), 
1x Tongan Society and Culture (Class 1-8), 
1x Movement and Fitness (Class 1-8),

1x Creative Technology (Class 1-8)


Annual Report
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 CDU Programmes and KPIs 2013
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