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Hi Peter,

Thanks for your comment. As in many newly independent countries, language instruction has been a challenge in Timor-Leste, and a subject of national debate. The education policy now includes teaching in both Tetun and Portuguese (the country's official languages) and learning materials have been made available in both these languages. The Ministry of Education is further reviewing its primary school curriculum, including how the subjects of both Tetun and Portuguese are taught in schools. Also, as children in Timor-Leste are spread in 13 districts speaking over 20 local languages, the Government is collaborating with UNESCO to pilot  "Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education for Timor Leste" in 3 districts (Lautem, Oecusse and Manatuto). This is to allow early grade students to comfortably learn using their mother-tongue language, before then being introduced to the use of Tetun, and eventually Portuguese. (If you're interested you can see more information about the UNESCO supported pilot here: )

From my perspective, I do think that Timor-Leste has taken important steps to improve the quality of its education services, as well as access. Total enrollment from basic to secondary education increased from 242,000 to 333,000 between 2002 and 2010, and the number of teachers more than doubled during the same period, from 5,700 to over 12,000. Measures have been taken to implement early grade reading and maths assessments, which are helping monitor children's learning progress in the first years of school; to develop effective curricula; train its teachers and education officials, and disseminate learning materials such as reading aides, in Tetun and Portuguese, to all primary schools.

I hope this helps!