Literacy and numeracy for all children

Universal basic education reduces poverty and contributes to economic growth by increasing productivity. Australia is supporting the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education’s key reforms in early literacy and numeracy, both of which are core to ongoing student learning. Improving literacy and numeracy is a path out of poverty, as it can break the cycle of inter-generational disadvantage.

When leaders and teachers are trained, systems are strengthened, and learning is accessible, the entire community benefits.

Mentoring teachers and school leaders

PHD is partnering with the Ministry of Education and the National Institute for Training of Teachers and Education Professionals (INFORDEPE) to work with school leaders. School leaders are trained in classroom observation and feedback skills. Mentors then support school leaders to observe teacher practices in the classroom and to support teachers in building their skills. Teachers form peer learning groups with other teachers from nearby schools to plan lessons together, share good practices and continuously improve teaching approaches.


School leaders are issued with electronic tablets that have been uploaded with national curriculum materials, instructional videos, and Ministry of Education scripted lesson plans. The tablets are also used to record observations data about teacher classroom practices and to collate student test scores.

Distributing national curriculum materials

PHD is distributing learning materials to over 1,000 schools across Timor-Leste, supporting the Ministry of Education to implement their new child-centred basic education curriculum.

Mother-tongue multilingual education

Timor-Leste is a land of many languages. When a child cannot speak, or understand the language being used in the classroom, their learning suffers. With PHD support, the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO under the Ministry of Education, is training teachers in three municipalities to instruct children in their mother tongue language.

Mobile library services for schools and communities

Children and teachers in Timor-Leste have limited access to books and learning materials. PHD’s partner, the Alola Foundation, operates two mobile library vans to conduct learning activities and share colourful books with schools across Timor-Leste. Children develop their reading skills, and with teachers and parents, take part in fun reading sessions with Alola staff. The mobile library vans also provide information about nutrition, health and other issues of interest to teachers, parents and the community.