Definition of Youth

The national youth policy of Kiribati refers to young people as those within the age group of 15 to 29 years but recognises a number of additional definitions, both legal and societal.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 21
  • 16
  • XX
  • Female
  • 21
  • 16
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
From 10-14 years old, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 10 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Source:  Penal Code of Kiribati

Majority Age


No data.

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 66.36%Male %
  • 73.36% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Kiribati has a new national youth policy for 2011-2015, and a draft action plan to implement it.

The national youth policy summaries the key legislative and policy frameworks forming part of the rationale for the policy:

The Constitution of the Republic of Kiribati (1980) is the supreme law of the country and guarantees in Chapter II, the respect of “the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual”. These rights but also responsibilities apply to everybody including young people.

The legal rights of young I-Kiribati are also defined in several other pieces of domestic legislation. The revised Employment Ordinance (1977) specifies the rights of young workers. The National Education Policy (1999– 2012) commits further support for the rationale for youth, as does the Youth Employment National Action Plan (2009−2012) and the Kiribati National Disability Policy (2010−2013). 

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Youth Unit within the Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA) is responsible for youth affairs and activities and is staffed by one Senior Youth Development Officer and two Youth Officers. Between 2007-2010, the Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport was responsible for youth affairs. The national youth policy details that the “Youth Unit within MISA is responsible for coordinating, monitoring and overseeing implementation of the National Youth Policy and its accompanying Plan of Action.”

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Kiribati National Youth Council (KNYC) is an umbrella organisation for youth organisations in Kiribati. Its mission statement is “more visibility, commitment and impact for the young people in Kiribati”. The national youth policy specifically mentions the KNYC as a stakeholder in the performance report section covering policy implementation: “MISA is responsible for sharing annual reports with youth stakeholders and young people themselves through the National Youth Council.”

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
AUS 69,556
USD 63,678
The Kiribati Budget 2013 details specific expenditure on Youth Development under the breakdown of the Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA) budget. Please note that the Kiribati Dollar is pegged to the Australian dollar at a 1:1 ratio. The Kiribati Budget 2013 details the full expenditure of the Ministry for Education as AUS 19,584,421. According to the World Bank, Kiribati spent 11.6% of its GDP on education provision in 2002 but does not calculate what this translates to in terms of percentage of government expenditure.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

Kiribati is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with a total population of 103,058 according to the 2010 Kiribati Census. The national youth policy highlights a number of issues affecting young people: On youth and education:

Education in Kiribati is free and compulsory from age 6 to 15 years. Schools are quite well distributed all over the country, but senior secondary schools are concentrated in South Tarawa and there are insufficient numbers to absorb all potential students coming from the primary section. While the overall proportion of government expenditure on education is one of the highest in the Pacific, the greatest proportion of this spending is on primary education. Despite a clear improvement on educational achievement in Kiribati – from 23.85% of the population 15 years or older with secondary or higher level education in 1995 to 50.55% in 2005, there are still significant numbers of young people who do not attend school for various reasons, particularly from age 13 years and more so for boys.

On youth and employment:

With only 400 to 600 paid jobs available and over 2000 students leaving school each year (ROUATU I., 2009), even if all the jobs were taken by the youth, there would still be in excess of a thousand young people underemployed and unemployed each year.

A Situation Analysis of Children, Women & Youth by the Government of Kiribati and UNICEF in 2005 showed a high level of discrimination against women and girls in this regard:

When a girl loses her virginity, consensually or through rape, apology and reconciliation (tekabara bure’) is sought between the two families and her marriage is often arranged to the boy or man involved. Most schools will not accept girls as students once they are engaged, married or pregnant, a policy which discriminates against girls and, in the case of rape or an unintended pregnancy, adds to their burden of guilt and shame.