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Kiribati: Education Day – October 4, 2024

Kiribati Education Day does not have a fixed date and this year will be celebrated on October 4. The day is determined by the government of Kiribati and depends on which day World Teachers’ Day falls. Kiribati is a remote island situated in the Pacific Ocean that has a population of just over 120,000. Education Day is a public holiday that everyone enjoys and as the island nation receives free primary and junior secondary education, it’s an important part of the island’s value system. Typically the day is spent celebrating, with dances, sporting events, and school tours.

History of Kiribati: Education Day

The island of Kiribati is located in the Pacific Ocean, and it is situated in Micronesia. The island is quite small, about 313m², and is home to slightly over 120,000 people. The island was first populated in around 1300 A.D., some historians believe that the island may have even been occupied centuries before this time. Originally home to Austronesian peoples, the island faced multiple attacks and invasions from neighboring Polynesian tribes and islands.

A small collection of islands, the Kiribati nation was subjugated by the British Empire shortly after Europeans made contact with the island in the seventeenth century. Known as the British Western Pacific Territories Kiribati was enveloped in a cluster of regions and became one of many islands under the rule of the crown. It was only in 1916 that the crown formally acknowledged the island and it became an individual crown colony. It wasn’t until after the second world war, and a brief occupation of the islands by Japan, that Kiribati, formerly known as The Gilbert Islands, gained independence. Throughout much of Kiribati’s history, the colonial development of agriculture and its export, was a primary focus when the island officially became self-governing, there was little infrastructure and development outside of rural commercial farming.

Education has since been a primary focus, a resource that people can utilize and exploit to pull themselves out of poverty and circumstance. Education Day, in Kiribati, is an important part of the nation’s understanding of how important education is for each I-Kiribati.

Kiribati: Education Day timeline

The European Contact

Captain Thomas Gilbert is honored for his brief voyage through the island territory, he never landed or made contact, but the islands were named after him.

The Unrest Caused by Foreigners

The Gilbert Islands officially becomes a protectorate of the British Empire and conflict between Europeans and native inhabitants flares up regularly.

The Invasion by Japan

The Japanese Empire swiftly invades Kiribati and it becomes a staging ground for some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific.

The First Elected Official

Ieremia Tabai, at only 27 years old, is elected Chief Minister of Kiribati and becomes the first elected official of the independent nation.

Kiribati: Education Day FAQs

Can I visit Kiribati?

Yes, you can. It will take a lot of logistical planning as there are no regular flights to Kiribati, instead, you’ll have to fly to either Samoa, or Fiji, and wait for a local flight to the island.

Is their tertiary education in Kiribati?

Yes, there are three tertiary education institutions in Kiribati.

What is the main agricultural crop grown in Kiribati?

It is the coconut palm, however, the coconut is not the main agricultural export, its copra, which is a part of the coconut that coconut oil is extracted from.

How to Observe Kiribati: Education Day

  1. Share your gratitude for education

    For many, education is just a part of life, we simply see it as a gateway to university and future careers. However, for many others, education is a gift. We should all be more mindful of how powerful access to education can be, and is.

  2. Say thank you

    Say thank you to everyone that has had a hand in your education. There is an immense amount of work that goes into a functioning educational system that delivers.

  3. Learn something new

    Pick up a free short course, and broaden your horizons. Education is everywhere, not just in a classroom, so go out and learn while you are still able to.

5 Facts About Kirbati

  1. It features in all hemispheres

    Kiribati is the only nation that sits in all four hemispheres, North, South, East, and West.

  2. Its not just one island

    Kiribati incorporated many smaller islands into its territory when it gained independence, with 33 islands making up the country's landmass.

  3. Kiribati is derived from its colonial heritage

    Kiribati takes its name from a rendition of Gilbert, its former name, in the local I-Kiribati language.

  4. Kiribati has a trust fund

    Profits from mineral export during colonization were saved and that money now sits in a reserve, and the interest helps fund government programs and initiatives.

  5. The coconut palm is a staple food

    All the islands in Kiribati are dominated by coconut palms, the native population relies heavily on the coconut palm to support their diet, the nut, the tree’s sap, and they even brew a strong alcoholic beverage from a combination of fermented coconut.

Why Kiribati: Education Day is Important

  1. Education is important

    For the islanders, it's not just about celebrating teachers. It's about access, and having that access to education is worth celebrating.

  2. It emphasizes the value of education in society

    Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We stand by those words and so we value anything that promotes education access.

  3. It celebrates the resilience of a nation

    Kiribati is a poverty-stricken country, with its remote location and mainly agricultural economy. For many, education is the only way to a better and brighter future, and they honor that possibility with Education Day.

Kiribati: Education Day dates

2023October 5Thursday
2024October 4Friday
2025October 6Monday
2026October 5Monday

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