Hu'akavameiliku was joined by Donald Mortimore, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Tonga and Simone Esler, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist from the World Bank at the launch on Friday.
"Prior to my appointment as Prime Minister, the education sector has always been my focus and passion, including serving as the Minister for Education and Training since 2019. In October of this year, I attended the World Bank and IFC Annual Meetings in my capacity as Acting Minster of Finance, and I was encouraged by the World Bank Group work towards achieving the twin goals of reducing extreme poverty & boosting shared prosperity, particularly here in Tonga.
"Similar to the Banks’ goals, we too share the same goals in terms of aiming to achieve a more prosperous Tonga, for all, as stipulated in our Tonga Strategic Development Framework.
He said that in early 2020, following the release of the National Examinations results of 2019, the realization that more progress was needed to be achieved pushed for the review of the curriculum and assessment to produce a clear set of recommendations which would require the redevelopment of an outcome based curricula and assessment system for the core subjects of Mathematics, Science, English and the Tongan Language.
"However, at the time, we were unsure how we would fund the implementation of these reforms.," he said.
"Fortunately, following the Tropical Cyclone Gita in 2018, we were grateful to receive additional financing, also from the World Bank and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the PREP project that enabled the completion of 88 new classrooms, 33 retrofitted classrooms at 25 schools, across 3 different islands."
He added the new project will be transformational for both the physical environment in which our children will learn and grow but also be complemented with better quality of education.
"We are all aware there is a long road ahead of us with more work in the pipeline, including the priority given to the schools affected by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai tsunami. Nevertheless, I believe this is a great opportunity for us to work together for the betterment of our children," the Hon Hu'akavameiliku added.
"This requires leadership, intentional decision making, and action to ensure we are moving forward and delivering for a safe and resilient Tonga. I therefore seek your help and support to ensure we are all part of this success story."
A statement said the Tonga Safe and Resilient Schools Project costs around US$28.2 million and is jointly funded by the Australian government and World Bank.
Photo: PMO Media Caption: Prime Minister, Hu'akavameiliku,