Sunday 19 May 2002 Media Statement
NZ gifts education project to East Timor
The government announced today that its independence gift for East Timor will be a $200,000 education project in Cova
Lima district - one of the areas of geographical focus for New Zealand¡¦s overseas development aid programme in East
Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign Minister Phil Goff, and Associate Foreign Minister Matt Robson, who are in East
Timor for its independence celebrations, said the project would be funded over a three year timeframe.
The project would focus on the rehabilitation of a number of pre and primary schools, the provision of textbooks, and
Specifically, it would include:
„X basic infrastructure and rehabilitation of destroyed pre and primary schools; training and professional development
„X strengthening of institutional capacity and school management;
„X provision of essential school resources including teaching materials and textbooks;
„X curriculum development focussed on the standardisation of Tetum ¡V the dominant indigenous language - and basic
literacy for poor and vulnerable groups;
„X strengthening local community appreciation of, and participation in, education;
„X and ensuring girls and women have access to education.
Building sites for a pre school in Suai and a primary school in the remote area of Fohorem have been identified as the
two schools for development in the first year.
The Ministers said that in a recent countrywide consultation in East Timor, 70 per cent of the population prioritised
education as one of the most important sectors for development and this has been reflected in the draft National
¡§East Timor has an illiteracy rate of 50 to 60 per cent. Around 45 per cent of the current population of 790,000 have
never attended school. Almost two-thirds of the female population is illiterate. There is a shortage of trained
teachers, and teaching and curriculum quality is low.
¡§Education will play a crucial role in East Timor¡¦s development in reducing poverty, promoting economic growth and in
improving the livelihoods of its population,¡¨ the Ministers said.
The New Zealand Overseas Development Aid-East Timor bilateral programme is expanding to NZ$10 million over the period
2001-2005, as agreed to by the East Timorese government and NZ Ministers in July 2001. The 2002/03 allocation of NZ$2.5
million represents an increase of NZ$400,000 over the 2001/02 programme.
The independence gift will be funded annually from within the expanding $10m bilateral programme.