In the short period since the restoration of independence, in 2002 Timor-Leste has made significant progress by completely rebuilding its education system. More and more children and young people are now going to school. Quality education for all is a key government priority. But ageing facilities, repetition and dropout, language diversity, weakened child-friendly teaching methods and limited facilities in rural areas hinder progress.
Nearly 42 per cent of Timor-Leste’s population lives below the poverty line, and children miss out on vital opportunities for learning and empowerment. Children in rural areas are disproportionately affected.
On average, one more year of education brings a 10 per cent increase in an individual’s earnings. Each additional year is associated with an 18 per cent higher gross domestic product per capita.
UNICEF’s work in Timor-Leste focuses on the most vulnerable people in the most disadvantaged areas, including girls, children living with disabilities and in rural areas.
Why we need to make a change:
• Only 20 percent of preschool-aged children in Timor-Leste are enrolled in school.
• Nearly 37 percent of rural youth (15-24) are illiterate, compared to just six percent in urban areas.
• Approximately 70 percent of grade one students don’t meet basic learning outcomes.
• 66 percent of basic education schools do not have functioning toilets.
• 40 percent of basic education schools do not have drinking water .