C19 Vs Education: Children Learning is Important too

As important as it is to stop the C19 pandemic from spreading in PNG, it is also important to educate our children at this trying time. This is the message on a thread in PNG Insight. I've fixed the messages and re-posted them here. 

positive covid 10 png vs education schools open

The message is clear. The govt must also give equal and undivided attention to the education of our children at this time. 

Twitter discussion/thread

Two questions of significance

1/10
The first question is: what are the resources (Edu officers, equipment, technology, etc) are available, at present, within the education dept that the PNG govt can use for mass educating elementary to secondary school students?

2/10
The second question is what is there for the Higher Education sector (DHESRT)...can the universities and colleges use their resources to conduct non-contact classes...LAN, Wifi, etc?

Challenges to be proactive

3/10

The challenge is not to let this pandemic stop this generation of children from learning this year...so how best can DHERST and Education Ministry use the available resources to ensure learning takes place even?

4/10

DHERST and the Education Department cannot be complacent. They have to be proactive. 

The schools have closed early. We know the 27th of April on only a tentative date for school to open. 


There is no need to be scared. However, there is always safety in planning. 

Vision for long-term benefit

5/10

Importantly, this pandemic will come to pass, surely. With that in mind, put in place something that is permanent, something tangible so that when this is gone, our children will still benefit from it...this is called VISION.

6/10

The govt's priority is stopping the C19 pandemic. But, it must not be distracted from its responsibility to educate *THIS GENERATION* of students!

Don't be one dimensional, Mr govt. 


You have the duty to educate the kid, if/when the schools are re-opened or not.

7/10

Having said 1 - 6, it would be better for DHERST and Education Department (in collaboration with the SoE team) to CLEARLY spell-out what is going to happen:


(1) If/when unis, colleges and schools in affected regions/country will resume term 2 school year

8/10

(2) If school are to close indefinitely, what are the LEARNING INTERVENTIONS for 2020 are in place for the children?

Interventions measures?

9/10

The task to educate children en masse is not easy in our country. 


Parents are the ones who are at the receiving end. But, at least some intervention measures put in place are better than nothing - we cannot say let us take one day at a time.

10/10

DHERST and Education Department must know called on the SOE committee and find out, for the sake of parents and students, what is there for the academic year 2020. 


END!


PNG PM Statement re. COVID-19: Special Clearence for International Travels and Schools Re-opening

The PM's statement on the 2nd of April was clear - people's movements are restricted to stop any spread of Coronavirus in PNG. International and local travels are restricted until situations have improved in the country.

png response to coronavirus

There are considerations for schools to open on the 27th of April 2020.

Furthermore, the PM hinted to consideration for special clearance for international travels via Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore. Schools, churches and gathering of people in large numbers are limited in order to protect the health and welfare of the general public.


Travel and Education info is sketchy at present

Travel information is expected to be made clear following the PM's statement. This blog expects the Education Minister (the Ministry) and the Education Secretary (the Department) to make formal announcements regarding the re-opening of schools for the commencement of term 2.

School Closure & Learning Intervention

In the event that coronavirus is detected in PNG - and schools are to close indefinitely - what are the intervention measures? In an earlier post, PNG Insight discussed several ways to make homeschooling fun.

We also discuss media and tech interventions, and radio and TV learning strategies for schools and teachers to help students and parents in times of serious shut-down.


Key Points re COVID-19 PNG

Here are key points (for more info refer to the full statement below Source: PMJM Facebook page):

  • 14 days shutdown expires on Monday, April 6th 2020
  • Resumption of domestic flights as of Tuesday 7 April 2020 for the main centres (Pom, Hagen, Lae, Madang and Rabaul)
  • All schools to remain on Term 1 (and Easter) Holidays. Term 2 commences on Monday 27 April 2020 depending COVID-19 situation in the country.
  • Churches, workplaces and public gathering must now readjust to a minimal number of persons (small groups) with a safe distance of work and socialization.
  • For those overseas trying to travel in, we (the govt) will do special uplift from Brisbane. Cairns and Singapore under special clearance from Controller when we establish your medical clearances and you will be isolated here (in PNG) for 14 days.

PM's Statement - reposted

Today we are living in an environment of insecurities due to coronavirus. The virus is moved when people move from place to place. The world and our next-door neighbours have a greater number of infected persons and our weak health care systems, the government had to take a responsible approach. Within that context, parliament passed an extension to the State of Emergency (SOE) for a further two months. The SOE is not meant to harm us but protect us from the spread of Corona Virus (C19). By the expiry of our earlier SOE induced 14 days shut down, the isolation strategy was to keep C19 from spreading its presence in our country. We are mapping our country on C19, thank God Yahweh so far our country is free of virus. But that does not mean we become complacent. Based on global and regional medical trend and evidence before the Government on the dangers of lack of protective measures, our country stands totally exposed to the devastation C19 can cause to our people and economy. Today’s SOE extension will have operation orders that are less restrictive depending on the situation going into the future. For instance, by next Tuesday ( if we C19 free by Monday ) we will resume all domestics flights, will allow PMVs to operate, markets to operate, work to resume etc. Our 21 provinces will be our coordinating centres and three key coordinating people are the PPC, PA and CEO of PHAs. We will push in April to have C19 centres in Weom, Kiunga, Vanimo, Telefomin and Wewak. We will also work with Bougainville Government for a post in South Bougainville. I ask all citizens that this is trying times, just because there is no infected person presently is no reason for us to be complacent. Your freedom remains but for public safety including yourself, the Controller can make an intervention at individual or group or provincial levels going into the future. Churches and workplaces and public gathering must now readjust to a minimal number of persons (small groups) with a safe distance of work and socialization. We will make further announcements including the safety of our children at schools, considering pieces of evidence, trends and presence of C19 after the 14-day isolation phase expires next Sunday. For those overseas trying to travel in, we will do special uplift from Brisbane and Cairns and Singapore under special clearance from Controller when we establish your medical clearances and you will be isolated here for 14 days. God bless PNG. JMPM! Source: 2nd April 2020, Facebook

Home-schooling: Keeping kids up to speed during school closure

Posted this as a thread on Twitter to help parents at this time of Coronavirus, COVID-19, school closure. Schools are struggling to cope with the demand for online learning. Parents are worried about what else their kids are missing from school. 

There are lots of things that teachers at schools do that parents cannot replicate at home. Well, that is why parents send their kids to schools in the first place.


tips for home schooling - right skills

Competency levels: Numeracy, Reading and Writing

The concepts taught at schools (elementary, primary and secondary) are related and increase in complexity as a child passes through the education leader.

Identifying the basic skills and knowledge and relay them effectively is what teachers are known for. That is why you can not replace a teacher unless you know exactly what you are doing when it comes to 'teaching'.

At this unprecedented time, there is no choice but to help the children learn as much as they can before moving on to the next grade-level at school. 

That means that the children must learn, know and apply the basic skills and knowledge at the current grade-level.

School syllabus

There is a way to identify what the kids are expected to know at school, specifically at the grade-level. And, that is through the school syllabus


PNG National Department of Education has a good collection of PNG schools syllabi from elementary to primary and secondary schools.

10 tips to help kids learn during school closure

Here are 10 tips to identify the skills and knowledge kids are expected to know. 

1. Get a school syllabus and find out what your child is expected to know at grade level.

2. Talk to your child's teacher about what s/he is learning in class this term. Or check the child's exercise books.

3. Identify a few key areas.

4. Focus on Numeracy and Literacy key areas - avoid introducing ideas outside of the school syllabus.

5. Introduce they 'key areas' from the school syllabus at random, during plays or when having casual chat with kids..make it fun

6. Emphasis on downtime and reading.

7. Find out fun ways to introduce the timetable. Challenge kids to learn 6, 7 and 8 tables by the 'recall' method.

8. Introduce life skills like making bilum, sewing, gardening, painting, etc

9. Have a list of things to do and reward system.

10. Chat with them. Get to know your child.

PNG Education Department Asked to Shut School Early for Two Weeks Due to COVID-19

It is reassuring to learn that on Sunday (22 March 2020), the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea laid out the plan for the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. 


Together we fight against COVID-2019

PNG Insight raised the question of school closure and possible implications on students' learning.  Read the two articles earlier: 

Regardless of the people's expectations of the leaders in the government, today is a time to come together and fight as a team - leaders and people together as one. 

PNG PM laid-out 13 control-measures to limit and stop movement of people across the international, national and provincial borders; as well as among people within the community in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Are schools closing?

The Prime Minister made it absolutely clear that schools should close early for Term 1 holiday on Monday, 23 March 2020.

Of the 13 resolutions at the emergency parliamentary council meeting, point 8 in the press release read:
"8. Education and Higher Education departments are asked to advance first term holiday as of tomorrow 23rd of March and the next 14 days are to be school holidays". [PM Press Release, Sunday 20/03/2020]
It appears that the students will have an early 2-week holiday whilst the govt assesses the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Australia issue level 4 travel restriction

The Australian High Commission in PNG issued a level 4 security warning - the highest travel warning from a scale of 1 to 4. 

do not travel overseas australia
AUSTRALIAN H/C in PNG - LEVEL 4 TRAVEL RESTRICTION

Below is the PM's press release of the 13-point plans

Today based on advice from the COVID-19 National Operation Centre (NOC 19) and National Security Council (NSC) recommendations, the National Executive Council (NEC) in an emergency meeting has decided on the following measures in light of the first positive case of COVID-19 in our country.

This is a national security issue now and not just a health issue but a cross-cutting issue including the effect on economy, law and order and education of our children amongst other effects. Hence the relevance of the following measures.

So far we have done trace of the person that came into our country and he remains to date our only positive person who is in isolation and recovering but to clearly demarcate our country from the spread and for Government to take stock from this biosecurity breach, we are taking the following measures.

 1. Confirm this first case and it’s the impact to ensure we contain its impact including treating, curing and sending the victim back to Australia.

 2. Taking stock of all entry into PNG after 7th of March to ensure all are checked, tested and status of health affirmed. All who have come in or those that have come in contact with those who came into PNG since 7th of March are to report to the hotline below.

 3. Declare a State of Emergency for 30 days in which the Commissioner of Police will assume control assisted by a callout placed on the military to ensure lawful order, control and response to SOE control measures.

 4. Following on our stop of incoming international flights, we now stopping all domestic flights for the next 14 days starting on Tuesday this week.

 5. We direct that as of Tuesday 24th March 2020, no Public transportation of people and no movement from one province to another for a 14 day period. Only approved cargo and medicine and police /military personal will be moving.

 6. The Provincial Governors and their Provincial Administrators with Provincial Police Commanders with the respective Provincial Health Authorities will be control points in all province.

 7. All heads of departments and private companies are to embrace safe workplace practice and non-essential staff are asked to stay at home for the next 14 days.

 8. Education and Higher Education departments are asked to advance first term holiday as of tomorrow 23rd of March and the next 14 days are to be school holidays.

 9. All who have come into the country as from the 7th of March 2020 or those who made contact with those who came into the country from that date please report, call or text to the hotline below.

 10. No border crossing by foot or canoe and police /army presence in border areas will be stepped up.

 11. Banks and financial institutions and super funds will be mobilised to work with Government on economic packages in this downtime.

 12. The SOE controller through the office of Prime Minister will be the only official point of releasing statements to the public.

 13. The SOE controller will issue on details on how citizens and our country respond and behalf in this time and breach of those will be punished as an offence in times of emergency.

We have now mapped the country into zones to isolate this virus from spreading. 
  • The mid PNG zone from Morobe and Madang Provinces into the entire highlands,
  • the Central Papua (including NCD, Central and Gulf), 
  • the Niugini Island Zone, 
  • the Sepik Zone, 
  • the Western Border Zone and 
  • the Bougainville Zone.

The SOE commander will delicate the PPCs to police the zones to ensure lawful abiding to this control measures.

We will get through this phase, we ask from the corporation from all citizens, residents and businesses houses.

God bless PNG.

Press C19/ 22.03.20 | Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape