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National Human Development Report 2018 - Timor-Leste

Planning the Opportunities for a Youthful Population

image of National Human Development Report 2018 - Timor-Leste

World leaders are increasingly acknowledging that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone cannot provide a full picture of a country’s progress. Enhancing human development and wellbeing requires people accessing the opportunities and means to live healthy, happy and satisfactory lives. The highly innovative 4th National Human Development Report for Timor-Leste puts the well-being of young people, three quarters of the country’s population, at the center of the development agenda. By measuring the subjective well-being of youth aged 15 to 34 across eight aspects of life based on a nation-wide survey, this report provides an excellent opportunity for decision makers to implement targeted policies and strategic investments based on an in-depth understanding of youth’s aspirations, attitudes and behaviors.

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Understanding attitudes towards education through an historical lens

To understand the attitudes towards education in various parts of the system, it is useful to examine the history of education in Timor-Leste. Four distinct administrative periods have influenced the development of education in the country: (1) Portuguese colonial rule (the early 1500s to 1975), (2) the Indonesian occupation (1975–1999), (3) the United Nations administration (October 1999–May 2002) and (4) Timorese constitutional governments (May 2002 to the present). Each of these administrations introduced new ways of working—language, civil service and structure—into the education system and, indeed, into governance. Attitudes towards education and towards the appropriate subjects of study emerged from nearly 500 years of Portuguese presence in Timor-Leste, although the structures for implementing them probably owe more to the 24 years of Indonesian occupation and, possibly, post-independence donor countries (Earnest, Beck, and Supit 2008).

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