Supporting The Public Sector of Kiribati
There are nine years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary and secondary school each comprise six years.
Three organisations run by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development offer vocational training: the Institute of Technology (established in 1970) in technical and administrative skills; the Fisheries Training Centre (1989) in maritime, fishing and language skills, for those who seek employment on Japanese fishing vessels; and the Marine Training Centre in merchant maritime skills. A training college for primary teachers and an extra-mural centre of the University of the South Pacific are located at Tarawa. Kiribati is a partner in the regional University of the South Pacific, which has its main campus in Suva, Fiji, and a campus in Tarawa, Kiribati, with some 3,000 students enrolled for a wide range of courses using the university’s distance-learning facilities.
The government collaborates with civil society, and particularly churches, towards delivering universal basic education.
Public spending on health was ten per cent of GDP in 2010. Infant mortality was 38 per 1,000 live births in 2011. Tuberculosis is a serious public health problem; there are regular outbreaks of dengue fever and occasional cases of leprosy and typhoid. The first AIDS case was reported in Tarawa in 1991.
Health care facilities in Kiribati are adequate for routine medical care, but extremely limited in availability and quality. Kiribati’s health system comprises three hospitals, more than 20 health centres and around 70 health clinics. Tungaru Central Hospital on Tarawa provides medical services to all the islands. Government dispensaries on all islands are equipped to handle minor ailments and injuries.
With no private or church-provided health services, the state is the only provider of health services in Kiribati. The government ministry responsible for the sector is the Ministry for Health, Family Planning and Social Welfare.
There are some 670 km of all-weather roads in urban Tarawa and Kiritimati. Causeways and bridges link north and south Tarawa, plus several other islands. The principal port is at Betio Islet, Tarawa. International airports are at Bonriki on Tarawa and at Kiritimati, and all inhabited islands have airports. The government-owned Air Kiribati operates scheduled services to nearly all the country’s outer islands, linking them with Tarawa.