|Official Country Name:||Republic of Nauru|
An island in the central Pacific Ocean, Nauru is part of the British Commonwealth. The educational system there is based closely on the British model. Roman Catholic missionaries operate several parochial preprimary, primary, and secondary schools in Nauru, and during the 1990s, the Catholic church and the Nauruan government began working together in an effort to standardize the primary educational curriculum.
Education is free and mandatory for children aged 6 to 15. Preprimary education consists of both preschool and preparatory school. Enrollment rates in preprimary institutions grew from 62.7 percent in 1991 to 75.4 percent in 1998. Primary education lasts for six years and culminates in a national examination, successful completion of which is necessary for a students to be awarded the Nauru Primary Certificate. The student-teacher ratio is roughly 24:1. Secondary education is divided into two components: the first four years are compulsory, while the additional two years are optional. Students seeking higher education quite often do so in Australia.
In 1998, Nauru spent 10.72 percent of its national budget on education, one-third of which was earmarked to provide scholarships to students seeking higher degrees abroad. The primary language of instruction is English, although many teachers speak Nauruan in the classroom. In the mid-1990s some teachers began receiving training in English as a Second Language (ESL).
Efforts to offer vocational and technical education faltered in the late 1990s due to a lack of equipment and qualified teachers. Teacher shortages throughout the island prompted education officials to look into the creation of a teacher training institute, which is scheduled to be completed early in the twenty-first century.
UNESCO. The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports: Nauru. World Education Forum, 2000. Available from http://www2.unesco.org.
—AnnaMarie L. Sheldon
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