Papua New Guinea Covid-19 Update - Total Cases and Deaths

Here is a brief update of Covid-19 cases and deaths in PNG since January 2021. The data is compiled from the Official PNG Govt Covid-19 website. There is an exponential increase in the number of cases in the first quarter of 2021. The deaths are at 1% of the cases recorded. See the table at the end of this post.

covid19 in png



30 March 2021 Covid-19 Update 

PNG has recorded 5,620 Covid-19 cases and 56 known deaths on 30th March 2021. Of the 56 deaths, 

  • 44 in NCD, 
  • 3 in West Sepik,
  • 2 each in WNB, 
  • 2 WHP and 
  • 2 Western Province,
  • 1 Enga,
  • 1 Jiwaka and 
  • 1 Morobe province.


27 February 2021 Covid-19 Update 

PNG reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday 26 February, increasing the country’s total cases to 1,275 and the total number of deaths from COVID-19 to 13.

The latest cases were reported in 

  • West Sepik, 
  • West New Britain, 
  • East New Britain,
  • Central, East Sepik and in the
  •  National Capital District.


31 January 2021 Covid-19 Update 

As of January 31, there has been 895 COVID-19 cases and 9 deaths reported in PNG. From the period of February 1 to 7, there have been 28 new cases:

  • 15 from WNB, 
  • 7 from Western,
  • 3 from the NCD,
  • 1 from New Ireland, 
  • 1 from Central Province, and 
  • 1 from Madang.

Weekly Updates - April 2021

Confirmed coronavirus cases (as of Monday 1st April 2021) is 6,475 confirmed cases with 60 deaths across the country. 

According to the Official Covid-19 website(covid19.info.gov.pg), the 5 provinces with the highest number of Covid-19 cases are:
  • NCD  – 2, 945
  • Western  –1,472
  • West New Britain – 201
  • West Sepik  – 327
  • Morobe  – 262

Summary table of Cases and Deaths

Here is the data table for the graph. As mentioned, The deaths are at 1% of the cases recorded. See the table below.

covid 19 updates png



Education Department Announced School Closure for 4 weeks

 In line with the PNG Govt's National Isolation Strategy, the Department of Education announced the closure of schools for 4 weeks, starting Monday 22nd March 2021.

  • School Closure form 22nd March 2021 to 19th  April 2021 (Weeks 8, 9, 10 of Term 1 and the Term 1 Holiday week, included)
  • Schools resume on Monday 19th April 2021.
  • School heads and Teachers must plan to recover the lost lessons once schools resume.
  • Education Department will use Radio, Television and the internet to deliver lessons for key subjects during the suspension period.
  • If there is a suspected case in a school community, the individual(s) must be immediately isolated, and you call the local medical centre and authorities.
Below is the circular from the Minister for Education, Hon. Jimmy Uguro.


Given the recent surge in the number of COVID 19 cases across the country, the government will announce a National Isolation Strategy with specific instructions to contain the surge.

Schools pose a huge challenge given the practical difficulties we have to apply and comply with the COVID 19 preventive measure like social distancing. It is possible that nationwide school suspensions or closures can help contain the spread of the virus, thereby reducing its impact on individuals, groups, health systems, and the economy as a whole.

Direction on Suspension  of Classes

Therefore, consistent with Sections 27 and 91 of the Education Act 1983, I  as the Minister responsible for education give direction for the suspension of schools in the General Education Sector for four (4) weeks. Specifically, it is from 22 March 2021 to 19th  April 2021. According to the  Education  Calendar, it will be Week 8, 9, 10 of Term 1 and the Term 1 Holiday week.

Lord willing, we will resume normal classes on Monday 19 April 2021.

This approval for suspension will apply to

(a) provincial institutions (namely, pre-schools, elementary schools, primary schools, high schools, secondary schools and vocational institutions) and

(b) national institutions, namely national high schools, Inclusive Education Resource Centers and FODE (tutorials).

The approval for suspension means that there will be no formal classes, tests, and examinations conducted at a school.

Protocols for Provincial Schools:

1. Each Provincial Education Board in consultation with the respective Provincial Government and Health authorities will determine the smooth implementation of this suspension of classes;

2. Teachers who do come to schools during the suspension to set students homework and other tasks must strictly follow pandemic control and preventive measures at all times. Schools gates must be locked and secured; and

3. School heads and Teachers during the suspension are to work on plans to recover lessons once schools resume, set termly programs, lesson plans, homework, tests and examinations.

Protocols  for the National High Schools  and Inclusive Education Resource Centers:

1. All national high schools will be locked down, and boarding students must strictly follow COVID19 prevention directives;

2. Students who can return home, can be allowed to do so, but they will not return until classes resume;

3. Huge school gatherings involving more than 20 students are prohibited;

4. For every teacher and student who will remain in schools, the whole community must be properly educated and they participate in practical drills on control and preventative measures; and

5. Contacts with outsiders must be limited and highly controlled.

Protocols for Teachers Colleges and Technical Colleges

The directions to be given by the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology should be adhered to.

Protocols for Private Schools:

All private schools are urged to follow COVID19 prevention directives and suspend classes for the period of suspension too. All respective boards of private schools must implement directives of the National Pandemic Control Centre and this Office.

Lessons during the suspension period:

The Department will use three modes namely, Radio, Television and the internet to deliver lessons for key subjects during the suspension period.  Details will be made known in a Secretary's Circular.

A Secretary's Circular will also suggest plans schools will take to recover lessons lost during the suspension. We will also make an assessment and advise if there will be any change to the national examination dates soon.

Emergency Contacts:

If there is a suspected case in a school community, the individual(s) must be immediately isolated, and you call the local medical centre and authorities.

Conclusion

It is with a heavy heart that I am compelled to issue this direction, but it is done for the greater good and welfare of our students, teachers and the community at large. I urge all of us to follow all the basic preventative measures to stay away from the virus and protect others as well.

Please listen to the local radio and watch out for other messages and directions we will send out to schools related to this suspension of classes.

///ENDS

The original Ministerial Statement is available here


International Forest Day: 10 Facts About Forest and People We Do Not Know

 The Internation Forest Day 2021 in on Saturday 21st of March. It is widely known that there is a NEED to look after out forested areas. The theme for 2021 #IntlForestDay is - “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and wellbeing” 

PNG Insight photo | Varirata National Park, Port Moresby

It's time PNG observe the #IntlForestDay as a matter of national importance. (PNG Insight | Twitter)

To celebrate Internation Forest Day, we collected 10 facts that have been shared on Twitter about this very important event. We believe we should all know so that we appreciate what the forest areas mean to us as Papua New Guineans: 

1. Forests absorb greenhouse gases 

Forests absorb nearly 1/3 of all CO2 [carbon dioxide gas] released from burning fossil fuels every year. Forest restoration could remove another 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. @FAOForestry

2. Logging companies destroy forests

Logging companies take away forests with the promise of development that never comes." But 

@UNDPinPNG has a better way to support communities that Protect Forests (UNDP IN PNG)

3. International Forest Day is on the 21st of March 

The International Forest Day is on the 21st of March every year.  Logging companies in PNG have destroyed forests, rivers and habitats in many coastal areas.  Worst in parts of the New Guinea Islands. It's time PNG observe the #IntlForestDay as a matter of national importance.

4. People are dependent on the forest for survival

"Forestry is not about trees, it is about people. And it is about trees only insofar as trees can serve the needs of people.” - Westoby, 1967

5. Foundation of life and community

Forests are the essential backbone of well-being for us and #ForNature as a whole... Without them, mankind wouldn’t even exist.”  Director for Sustainability Solutions Mari Pantsar

6. Forests are the lungs of the earth

They host 75% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity this, therefore, means that millions of people, plants and animals are dependent on the future of forests which are under a constant threat of deforestation and global warming.#IntlForestDay

7. Tackle Climate Change & biodiversity loss

Expanding our forests is one of the most efficient ways to tackle Climate Change & biodiversity loss. @UNDPClimate

8. Biodiversity as a tourist attraction

 "The main tourist attraction is the massive biodiversity of birds, plants, fish, reefs and coral. Although large-scale mass tourism may threaten the delicate eco-systems here, and so needs to be controlled and managed, our resort alone provides employment for more than 75 families, as well as livelihoods for more than 50 resource owner groups." (UNDP)

9. Forest, medicines and healing

Long ago, it [the sap from the birch tree] was even used as a mouthwash. Not only that, it was used to cure spots and fade freckles! The bark can be used to make an anaesthetic and is also antiseptic too. Forestry England

10. Forests and sustainable investments

“Forests and trees are our most precious green infrastructure. We need a new economic model that properly values forests and stimulates investment in landscapes and sustainable growth." @CIFOR

Recommended reading on research and conservation in Papua New Guinea

Please share this message with your friend and families. Contact us on Twitter for more information of Conservation efforts and article about conservation in PNG.

PNG Govt Tuition Fee Subsidy 2021 - Press Release

PNG School fees and subsidies 2021


1. INTRODUCTION

This public notice formally announces the PNG Government’s GTFS policy for 2021. In 2021, the government is maintaining the Tuition Fee Subsidy (GTFS) Policy. Under the GTFS, the government is committed to its policy on partnership and to make education a shared responsibility between the national government, provincial governments, DDAs, parents, churches and other stakeholders.

2. EDUCATION REMAINS THE GOVERNMENT’S PRIORITY

The Marape government reiterates its profound conviction that education is a powerful tool that will transform and sustain our prosperity and therefore will maintain education as a priority policy.

The Marape government is committed to giving every child 13 years of quality education under a standard based education system including a standard-based curriculum that provides an effective platform for measuring children’s performance and for teachers to use evidence to continuously improve childrens’ learning so that they continue to make progress towards fully attaining the benchmarks and hence the attainment of content standards.

We will ensure: 

  • the 1-6-6 school structure that phases out elementary schools and moves grade 1 and 2 into primary schools; 
  • a robust standards assurance system maintained; multiple pathways with FODE and VET for students is provided; 
  • Schools of Excellence implemented; Early Childhood education formalized; and 
  • schools’ functioning have sustained funding from both government and parents.

The Government will prioritise FODE and will from this year pay the full tuition fees. In other words, FODE will be fee-free and will be established in all high and secondary schools from 2021.

3. GOVERNMENT TUITION FEE SUBSIDY POLICY

The Government Tuition Fee Subsidy (GTFS) Policy underscores its principle to make education cost of our children a partnership between governments, parents, churches and the local communities. We have seen the last regime making our people lazy, detached parents from schools and systematically removed their interest in schools. 

We want to disengage and cut out the dependency syndrome that we have systematically allowed into our PNG culture. The shift in the school financing policy by the Marape government is deliberate to get parents and communities to plough the soil and work hard, and contribute to reviving the economy than creating a ‘handout culture’ and a dependency syndrome.

Papua New Guineans are naturally hard-working, resilient and self-reliant. The GTFS policy will re-establish the missing link between the parents and schools while the Government will invest in raising the quality of education, building more schools and making school managers and boards more accountable.

4. 2021 GTFS FUNDING

The total funding for the Government Tuition Fee Subsidy Policy (GTFS) in 2021 will be K486,351,600. This funding remains the same as in 2020. GTFS will have two components:

  • a School Operations and Functional Grant of K388,351,600 (80%) and 
  • a Commodity component of K97,000,000 (20%). 
We will look into a decentralized procurement model that can encourage SMEs but at the same time is affordable and ensures standards and equity.

5. 2021 TUITION COST AND NATIONAL EDUCATION BOARD (NEB) MAXIMUM FEE LIMITS

The following table shows the Total fees per NEB Maximum Fee limits for each component and by sector.

Table 1: Total Tuition Cost and Fee Limits in Kina
Total Tuition Cost and Fee Limits in Kina
NB: The Approved Permitted Schools are no longer supported by the GTFS Policy.
The State will pay the full FODE Fees.  

6. GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY AND PARENTAL CONTRIBUTION

Given the budget allocation, the State Contribution component will be 62% of the total NEB Maximum School Fee Limit cost and parents will pay 38%.

The actual unit fees to be paid by the state and parents based on the 62/38 sharing model for each student per sector will be as follows:

Table 2: 2021 Student Unit Tuition Fee By Sector in Kina
2021 Student Unit Tuition Fee By Sector in Kina

7. PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Parents will be required to pay fifty percent (50%) of the Parental Contribution fee at the start of the school year and the balance must be paid before the end of Term 2. The government will pay its component before the end of Term 3.

8. PROJECT FEES

Schools are allowed to collect Project Fees, but they must follow very strict approval guidelines. The Provincial Education Board is the only authority to approve a project fee for schools after it has received a School Learning Improvement Plan (SLIP), a Project Plan, Scope and Budget with a P&C Association agreement. 

Where Project Fees are to be collected, it must be less than 20 percent (20%) of the Maximum Fee limit per student rate set by the National Education Board as shown below.

Table 3: Project Fees Limits for 2021
Project Fees Limits for 2021


9. CHURCH AGENCY FEES

Church agency fees are to be paid by each student attending a church agency school as per the Education Act, 1983. Provincial Education Boards will set and approve the fees, but must not be above the maximum limits set below.

a) Preparatory/Elementary – K5.00
b) Primary – K7.00
c) High/Secondary and Vocational – K10.00

10. STUDENTS SHOULD NOT BE DENIED THEIR RIGHT TO EDUCATION

NO school administration or governing board is to refuse any child from enrolling in school or attending classes for non-payment of any form of fees. Special arrangements should be made between the parents and the school to pay the required fees over a period in the school year. 

Whilst every child has the right to education, schools also need funds to operate, therefore parents are encouraged to cooperate with school boards and pay their component of 38% as early as possible.

11. PARTNERSHIP WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS AND DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES

Provincial Governments and District Development Authorities are the immediate authorities responsible for the education of students in the general education sector, within their respective jurisdictions.

In the spirit of partnership, we urge every Provincial Government and District Development Authority to help their schools, and especially parents who may struggle to pay their
38% component of the fees. 

Eight provinces (East New Britain, East Sepik, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Milne Bay, Morobe, New Ireland and Northern have signed MOAs with the National Government to manage national government school fee grants/subsidies. We will honour our commitment and enhance further collaboration and partnership.

12. MANDATORY SELF RELIANCE FOR SCHOOLS TO RAISE 10% OF ITS REVENUE

Self-reliance is a standing policy of the department. However, the current take-up of self-reliance projects by schools is low. Schools have become too dependent on fees and subsidies in the recent past. 

Hence per the NEB recommendation at its last meeting, I direct every school to generate 10% of its school’ budget through self-reliance projects. Schools will comply with this direction in 2021.

13. CONCLUSION

The State is committed to education and pays the bulk of the cost of education for each child through teacher salaries, teacher training, standards assurance, curriculum and examinations, infrastructure, and grants, apart from the GTFS policy funding.

The Government’s Tuition Fee Subsidy Policy that advocates sharing the cost of education will continue in our endeavour to provide a sustainable education system for our children.

I thank all parents and stakeholders for your continued partnership in sharing the responsibility in the education of our children.

Any further explanation of the policy can be obtained from the Department of Education Website: www.education.gov.pg or by sending an email to gtfsinfo@education.gov.pg or calling phones: 328 888 00/73350746/32 888 661/72668181.

Authorized by:
HON. JIMMY UGURO, MP
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
(4th January 2021)


- Re-published -