Exploring the Rebuilding of the Education System in a Transitional Nation: The Case of Timor-Leste

Jaya Earnest, Margie Beck, Trina Supit



Today's education system in Timor-Leste (formerly known as East Timor was shaped by three periods in the country's history. It was almost destroyed by the three-week crisis period in September 1999, which left more than 80 percent of Timor-Leste’s educational infrastructure destroyed. The Timor-Leste education sector continues to face significant challenges owing to this difficult history.

This paper provides an overview of the history and reconstruction of the education sector. It explores its reconstruction in a complex transitional society that is a fledging state and struggling with multiple social, political, economic, and educational constraints. The paper provides a historical context and background to the transitional nation, details the periods of colonial education, and describes the reconstruction process and the challenges currently faced by the Ministry of Education. The paper concludes with a description of the current status of education in the country.

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