Supporting The Public Sector of Tonga
There are nine years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary six, with cycles of four and two years. More than 95 per cent of primary students attend state schools, while about 90 per cent of secondary students attend church schools. Some 90 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2005).
Tonga is a partner in the regional University of the South Pacific, which has its main campus in Suva, Fiji, and a campus at ’Atele, about 7 km from Nuku’alofa. Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 99 per cent (2006).
There are several private schools in Tonga, offering tuition at primary, secondary and preschool levels. The Ministry of Education oversees the education system. The Tonga Institute of Higher Education co-ordinates all education and training at post-secondary level for the Ministry of Education. The majority of schools in Tonga are run by churches, with different faiths having their own agencies to oversee education.
Public spending on health was five per cent of GDP in 2010. There are public hospitals on the islands of Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u. The entire population uses an improved drinking water source (2010). Infant mortality was 13 per 1,000 live births in 2011.
The national health care system in Tonga is regulated by the Ministry of Health, and provides health care and medication free of charge. There are a few private health care providers, which tend to be traditional healers or private clinics run after hours by government doctors.
There are 680 km of roads, 27 per cent paved and the rest surfaced with compacted coral. The two main ports are at Nuku’alofa and Neiafu, which have shipping connections with Australia and Europe. Ferries run between the islands. International airports are located at Fua’amotu (21 km south-east of Nuku’alofa) and at Lupepau’u on Vava’u. There are three ports in Tonga, of which Nuku’alofa is the most important. The ports allows for regular ferry services between the islands, some of which are privately run. There are no railways in Tonga.