6 Key Views for Policy Construction - Dr Tapo

These views are forwarded to inform the readers, and the public, of the challenges of a  changing education system in Papua New Guinea. In particular the central business of the 

  • initial teacher preparation, 
  • professional practice, 
  • teacher supply and demand, 
  • GPAs (Grade Point Averages), and 
  • Teachers registration and reregistration.
teachers education policy
(Dr Tapo's views are raised to inform readers on matters pertaining to education and policy development in PNG)

All of which are inclusive and overwhelm presentation of education quality and stipulated in the vision and mission of the Education Department and the Education Act 1983 (consolidated to no. 13 of 1995).

In light of the challenges of new graduates lacking important skills, teachers education and practice of new teachers, six considerations have been highlighted to give direction for policy formulation at the end of this discussion.

Education policies and practices 

Explanatory Note: PNG INSIGHT has documented multiple public insights into school education and other educational practices impacting directly and indirectly on Papua New Guineans livelihood and community at large.

Education is seen as a right for every school-aged child. But this far, there are overwhelming gaps in the policy formulation, planning, economic absorptive capacity, and overall capacity. 

There is a greater need to develop sustainable development strategies and implementation activities.

At present, the limited reliance knowledge, capital utilisation and the likely impacts are challenges that have merits to interrogate the policies and practices such as the 

  • high educational failures, 
  • unemployment, 
  • high unit costs of university education, secondary, TVET and FODE programs, etc.

Hence, the discussion hereafter is more than just examination, selection and admission, GPAs, teachers recreational leave fares, standard-based curriculum, teaching and learning resources.

Considerations and explanations

The concerns are ominous: increasing population, teacher supply and demand, schools graduating school leavers with lesser skilled and low GPAs, pupils at graduation, overly high student class size, high pupil to teacher ratio, and teacher absence. Other concerns include:

  • vacant teacher position,
  • unregistered teachers,
  • unqualified teachers,
  • teacher position mishaps,
  • inspections,
  • teaching and learning resources,
  • teacher knowledge, and 
  • lack of understanding of the curriculum.

The list goes on.

Bare Foot Education: Lifelong Consequences

The inherent gaps and sustainability resource absorptive capacity are so real. These all contribute to the gist of this forum 'Bare Foot Education: lifelong Consequences'.

It was great to watch the televised captions of the deemed graduated Diploma in primary teaching from Balob Teacher's College. So to was the principal and the follow-up by fellow colleagues deputy and the secretary for education making a genuine effort to correct the malpractice of established parts of the Education Act 1983 (consolidated to no. 13 of 1995).

balob teachers college
Source: EMTV News 10/02/2021

Standardised reporting practices and processes

Colleges and the Department have established policies, practices and procedures as standardised practices and processes used for selecting, admission, teaching, learning, assessments, and reporting of a novice student teacher (s) achievement standards and professional practice through the two or three-year diploma.

The selection and admission committee, Academic advisory committee and Governing councils are clear on these procedural mandatory requirements clearly defined in the numerous subdivisions of the Act.

Inspection, vetting and action

Membership and attendance, reporting and recommendations from committees and boards are submitted to the Secretary for Education for vetting and action by the directorates and divisions of the Education Department.

This happening to deregister potential beginning teacher graduates who have not entered practice without a practice licence is an administrative judgement error. 

Inspection of a new teacher at work is the only evidence-based and is the professional duty of the inspector. Hence, the recommendation of a teacher or teachers to get a teacher practice licence. 

Only then the performance standards to register or not to register is the question which can lead to suitability and unsuitable report of a teacher to deregister a beginning teacher.

The ambiguity to deregister prior to teacher posting, in a position with a number, in a school does have its underlying motives. This decision is void and in the near future could become part of the practice inconsistent with the established quality standards, measures and guidelines.

6 key views for policy construction

The way forward given the standardised practices that exist in the Education Act 1983 (consolidated to no. 13 of 1995), I offer these views for construction by policymakers, committees, and governing councils of Teachers colleges. These are sixfold:

1) Leader/managers 'show cause" and take a zero-tolerance

Treat the Balob demonstration as a means. It has never happened before, in the life of teacher education presentation since 1975.

Leader/managers 'show cause" and take a zero-tolerance to ensure established quality standards procedural guidelines are honoured. And well understood by a person delegated the power as the Education Authority to act on behalf of the Secretary for Education. Secretary who is the Accreditation Awarding officer of the state on education;

2) Regulate Teacher Professional Standards

Established and regulate Teacher Professional Standards and even go as far as a Parliamentary Bill to enact the proper standards for teacher education providers, specialised programs for specialisations, novice, beginning and practising teachers with particular specialisations, etc;

3) Papua New Guinea Board of Teacher Registration

Established Papua New Guinea Board of Teacher Registration with specific functions and in partnership with the Department of higher education, science and technology and the DHERST Act and the Department of Education and the Education Act, and the Teaching Service Commission and the TSC Act;

4) Separate autonomous body of standards

Divorce the teacher professional standards, quality standards and assurance mechanisms, and the framework of the national standards embedded in the Education, Teaching Service Commission, and DHERST Acts of Parliament to a separate autonomous body;

5) Review Understanding of GPA, Selection and Admission - NDoE and DHERST

Review overall understanding of the grade point average (GPA), selection and admission. Foremost, courses and alphabetical ratings across schools' achievement standards and awards at the completion are not satisfactory merits. 

These merits awards given to grade 12 as the specific grade level has confounding and complex quality assurance concerns because inhibiting factors interconnected and interwoven with grade 12 certificates at High schools, secondary school, national high schools technical high schools and vocational schools and Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE); and

6) Define Grade 12 and its Equivalence Guidelines

Grade 12 and its equivalence guidelines are defined. For the moment, all school leavers who are deemed grade 12 and or with equivalence continue to show knowledge and skill gaps. 

They have survived the specific grade levels in absence of the required aptitude abilities whereas confidence and competence of knowledge and skill level very much different and do impact the selection, admission and completion of initial teacher preparation. 

Hence, the Balob Teachers College demonstration and the deregistration announcement and action.

Dr Michael F Tapo, EdD 


Editor's note: Dr M.F Tapo has over 40 years of experience, working in the education sector and his contribution is invaluable, balanced and insightful. He is a former PNG Department of Education Secretary. 

We are delighted to have Dr Tapo's thoughts on the discussions on Education and Development on our platform. Related articles: Problem Solving and Thinking Strategies and Thinking strategies Help Students Solve Problems.

thinking strategy
Image: PNG Insight. Supplied, Dr Tapo

How to Send Credit: Telikom and Bmobile Codes and Videos

Here are quick videos to show you how to send credit from one Telikom mobile number to another Telikom number (or Bmobile to Bmobile number). We used the USSD codes for this popular service and recorded the videos in real-time. Hope it helps.

You can also find out about how to:

  • find your own number,
  • check credits,
  • subscribe to international voice call, and 
  • info about other popular Telikom PNG and Bmobile USSD codes.
Subscribe and check out the YouTube playlist here

Telikom Credit Transfer

Here is how to transfer PNG​ Telikom​ credit from one mobile​ number to another. 


  1. Open they call keypad
  2. Key in *128*
  3. Enter Telikom mobile number - should be 8 digits long
  4. Press #
  5. Press CALL
  6. Follow the prompt
  7. Wait for 'success' notification.

Bmobile Credit Transfer

Transfer credit from bmobile to bmobile is easy. But you have to type fast to make a successful transfer.


  1. Open they call keypad
  2. Key in *128*
  3. Key in 12345*
  4. Enter amount to send
  5. Enter Bmobile number - 8 digits
  6. Press #
  7. Press CALL to send
  8. Follow the prompt
  9. Wait for 'success' notification.

2022 Australian Awards How to Apply

Brief description

Australia Awards Scholarships, formerly known as Australian Development Scholarships (ADS), provide opportunities for people from developing countries, particularly those countries located in the Indo-Pacific region, to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions.

  • Applications open: 1 February 2021
  • Applications close: 30 April 2021
australian awards 2021

Before you apply
  • Check the opening and closing dates for your country, and select your country of citizenship/residency from the list of participating countries for specific information on eligibility, priority areas and how to apply. See the participating countries page for opening and closing dates.
  • If you intend to apply, you must read the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook. The handbook provides information including general eligibility requirements, selection processes, entitlements and responsibilities. Note that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may revise and update the handbook at any time without notice.
  • Some countries encourage and allow you to apply online while others require hard-copy applications. See your participating country profile for more information.

Applying online

Go to the Online Australia Scholarships Information System (OASIS). When you register online, you will be required to answer some questions to establish your eligibility. You will then be given a unique registration number, username and password.

You do not need to submit your application immediately. You can set up a draft application form and update it, and your supporting documentation, until the designated closing date as on the relevant participating country profile.

Once submitted, your application cannot be changed. We strongly advise applicants applying online to do so well before the closing date. OASIS experiences peak usage in the days leading up to the closing date and applicants may experience delays.

Refer to the Applicant's Online User Manual if you need help.

Applying by mail

If you are unable to submit your application online, you can apply by mail. Please check your participating country profile for contact details to obtain a hardcopy application form and any other templates such as referee reports (if applicable).

Completed hard copy application forms and supporting documentation must be submitted by the deadline specified by your country. See the opening and closing dates for each country.

Supporting documentation

Check your participating country profile to see if your country requires additional supporting documents, such as referee reports (template below).

Source: Australian Awards, dfat. 

2021 Continuing Students Selection List for HEIs Released

The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) announced the approved list of Continuing Students on TESAS today, 26th January 2021. The list contains the names and PNG govt scholarship (TESAS) details for the continuing students  (Year 2 - Year 4) attending the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Papua New Guinea.

  • AES - Academic Excellence Scholarships
  • HECAS - Higher Education Contribution Assistance Scheme



Students TESAS (Tertiary Education Student Assistance SchemeAward Status indicates the type of PNG govt scholarship offered to students. It is a merit-based award. AES is awarded to the best performing students (with a high GPA).

The number of scholarships available to continuing students (and new intakes) is determined by the availability of govt funding and HEIs GPA cut-off, yearly. Details of funding and GPA for each HEI in the country is the work of DHERST. Here are some guides to TESAS and GPA.

TESAS: AES & HECAS Stats that matter - 2021

We kept some 'stats that matter' based on the TESAS Award list for New Intakes over the years. Here is the stat for the 2021 TESAS Awards for Continuing Students:

  • 82 Continuing students on AES 
  • 6779 Continuing students on HECAS 
  • 6861 Total Students on TESAS

Note: The figures do not include the NEW INTAKES. 

The 2021 DHERST Selection List for New Intakes was released a day after the Continuing Students TESAS Award List. Read about the NEW INTAKES 'stats that matter'

Some HEIs have not submitted their 2020 continuing students GPA to DHERST. Those institutions are not included in the TESAS list released by DHERST.

Download the 2021 Continuing Students List for HEIs

You can view or download the official list on DHERST website. Here is a quick download link >> DOWNLOAD NOW, PDF.

Some HEIs have not submitted their students' 2020 Continuing Students GPA lists for 2021 academic year. Students who are attending those institutions will expect delays in the Beginning of Year Travel and TESAS payments.

The students attending those institutions should call the Students' Admin for more information. 

2020 self-sponsored students who have secured a scholarship must make travel arrangements with their universities or higher institution. 

Recommended reading: How to Secure a Govt Scholarship - TESAS 2022

Re-admission and self-sponsored students

The advice from DHERST for students whose names are NOT on the list:

Be advised that students whose name do not appear on the list [ Continuing Students approved list] should consult your respective HEIs to confirm your progressive status for 2021. (DHERST, press release, 26/01/2021)

Why only 6861 Continuing Students on TESAS?

Here is what DHERST said about it...

"The number of applications for TESAS Awards with a qualifying minimum GPA level is typically greater than the number of available TESAS Awards.

It should be noted that some program admission requirements of institutions might include a different weighted consideration of grades and/or prerequisite subjects with minimum grades, due to their particular academic requirements. As such, Awardees are selected within program quotas on a merit basis. This means that not all applicants with a qualifying GPA level will receive an award." (DHERST, website)

Another reason is that the 2021 TESAS award list does not include some HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) who did not submit the students GPA to DHERST. And their students may not have been included in the official list released on the 26 of January 2021.

TESAS PNG Govt Scholarship Funds

TESAS selection continuing students

In a National Newspaper report, the secretary for higher education said that they only received K36 million (out of a K68 million required TESAS funding) for 2021. The question was why half of the required TESAS fund?

In 2020 the PNG govt, through DHERST, implement the students' assistantship scheme - the Higher Education Loan Program, or HELP. The same year, the govt allocated K220 million to fund HELP.

The higher education secretary said

... 6,637 students applied for HELP this year [2020] and K28,109,457 was paid by the Government.

How do students apply for HELP?


HELP aims to enhance quality at higher education. The studentship program also aims to ensure access to the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are available to eligible students.

Firstly, students must demonstrate that they are enrolled in a registered institution in order to apply.

Students who wish to apply for this loan should complete the HELP Application Form. See your HEI/Student Admin for more info. That means all students (both continuing and new intakes) should register at a HELP participating institution.

Then, see your students admin/support staff and complete the application form. The respective HEIs will launch the forms, on your behalf, with DHERST and let you know of the outcome.


If you have any questions, please comment below and let us know.