The Melanie Jewson Foundation believes that the best work we can do in Vanuatu is to improve literacy skills in the early years of primary school, thereby laying a solid foundation of learning that will open doors into higher education, enable better life choices and provide greater career opportunities into the future.
There is significant pressure on the education system of Vanuatu with 64% of the population under 24 years of age. Although many of these young people would like to gain a secondary level of education or even go further, many of them don’t qualify for secondary education due to the rigorous national examination at the end of primary school.
For those who do succeed, a significant financial burden is placed on families to meet the cost of tuition fees. Enrolment in primary school is strengthening with 90% of primary aged students attending school, but this drops significantly to 43% for secondary aged students. Primary schools are overcrowded, and secondary schools are underused.
For those students who do manage to enrol in schools, significant challenges are faced with large student numbers per class which is compounded by inadequate and culturally inappropriate resourcing. Teachers struggle against overwhelming odds.
The Melanie Jewson Foundation is working closely with school leaders to ensure that the help provided meets the deepest need most effectively. We are in the process of providing much needed reading resources and training for the teaching and learning of reading in the early years of primary school. This will provide students with the best possible opportunity of continuing their education as far as practicable and in so doing, germinate a true love of learning that will always be with them.