Papua New Guinea National Education Plan - Has The Education System Failed, Is It Failing?



Department of Education Awareness on SBE (CLICK HERE)
Papua New Guineans and concerned friends who do not have the means to put their child/ren in overseas schools or private schools have to take these 4 points seriously: 

1) National Education Plan 2005 - 2014 has lapsed. A new NEP (the NEP 2015 - 2024) is NOT out this year. Why is the plan - road map for the next 10 years - not out in the public before the school year begins? 

2) Curriculum change (Outcomes Based Education to Standards Based Education) is a system-wide change which takes effect throughout every stage of schooling and it starts now, 2015. The Education Minister and National Department of Education secretary mentioned that this change would take effect regardless of early awareness and preparation. How the change will happen or what is actually changing in still not clear. 

3) Structural Change (2-6-6) – The curriculum change is closely followed by structural adjustment. Unlike curriculum change where it takes effect across the system, the two-six-six structural readjustment is gradual. This means that children starting school this year will be pioneer generation. Instead of spending 12 years in schools (i.e. Elementary Gr 1 -2 , primary Gr 3 - 8  and secondary Gr 9-12, every student starting  school in 2015 will spend 14 years (not 12 years) before reaching University. So, Papua New Guineas who send their kids to start school at age 6 or 7 now have to realise that these kids will be 20 or 21 when they do first year at university, not 18 or 19. So, what is the right age to start school now? Do we want our kids to be 20/21 before entering unis? 

4) Project Fee - schools are directed by the Minister and NDoE not to charge project fees or face disciplinary action. Why now and not 2012, 2013 and 2014? Tuition Free Policy was implemented since 2012. Do the parents get a refund backdated to 2012? Most of them had been paying project fees.

These 4 points show that the Education minister, his secretary, education officials and foreign education consultants are playing around with 'human resource' of PNG. The heads are so disorganised putting parents, principals and teachers placed in precarious situation beginning 2015 school year. There is no clear direction from the top. 

These are changes that will have a big impact in the next 10 years (NEP 2015-2024) and the next 14 years (structural change). The best thing the National Department of Education needs to do is to give CLEAR directive to head teachers about what is expected as far as the changes and NEP are concerned.

Papua New Guinea Politicians | We Don't Receive Enough To Support Our Lavish Lifestyles in Port Moresby or Australia - More

The politicians are getting massive pay increases since Sir Michael Somare was prime minister. Within seven years, parliamentarians would be receiving a whooping 82% increase in salaries alone.

  

Take a look at this. Sir Michael Somare’s government unanimously approved a 52% pay
rise in November 2010. A massive increase just before Christmas.

Puka Temu, the then Public Service Minister in Peter O’Neill's government, announced another increase of 7% in November 2013. Actually, that was backdated to 1st January 2013 and paid to each Member of Parliament before they went for their Christmas holiday.

During that announcement, the minister also declared a separate increase of 7.5% and 2.5% to be paid from 2014 to 2016 to every public sector worker, including the MPs.

For clarification, the 2013 increases were in three parts: a 7% one-off payment and a 3 year increase of 7.5% of the actual gross salary plus 2.5% of average salary. The average salary is all salary combined divide by number of earners.

Every servant-of-the-public will earn a 7.5%/2.5% increase, in installments, over a of course 3-year period, 2014 - 2016. By 2016, the public servants will have realised a 30% spike in their annual pay if the government remains true to its promise. That is 10% increment every year. 

Clearly, by the end of 2016 Papua New Guinea's politicians annual pays would have nearly doubled what they earned in 2010:

  • Prime Minister earns over K364 000;
  • Speaker of Parliament earns over K296 000;
  • DPM earns over K271 000;
  • Opposition Leader earns over K271,000 (same as DPM);
  • Government Ministers earn over K211 000;
  • Other MPs earn over K106 000; and
  • Provincial Governors earn over K74 000.
The amounts earned by politicians are exorbitant. Where is the moral of such increments? Such amount is more than enough to go with IF they had lived with their people. Sadly, they want more to sustain a lifestyle elsewhere other than their localities.

Provincial Education Advisers and Administrative Officers Are Misusing Teachers' Leave Fares

(former Education Officer in charge of teachers' leave fares in Morobe)

Pic courtesy: Post Courier Newspaper Jan 2015
The teachers leave fares issue has been ongoing matter mostly due to misappropriation by Division of Education heads in all provinces. Funds allocated purposely for leave fares were usually tampered with and diverted to cover up for shortfalls in other votes or items.

I am speaking from experience especially in Morobe where the highest allocation is given. Yet this is forever an issue year in year out. As the person formally in charge of teachers leave fares in Morobe, I can attest that the fault entirely lies with the provincial authorities and financial delegates in form of provincial education advisers and provincial administrative officers.


Every year funds have always allocated with delivery mechanism designed and in place to have all teachers receive their entitlements, but this all seemed on paper only as half of the funds has always been diverted to cover up for excessive travels, hire cars, hotel bills and travel allowances especially by senior officers.

The Department of Education and Teaching Services Commission should also shoulder blame as this is an overdue issue that should have been resolved a long time ago. Policies and TSC Act Section 130 that manages the teachers leave fares is outdated and should be updated with proper delivery mechanism in place that allows paying of leave fare without obstacles. The current delivery mechanism is effective, but needs tighter stringent measures on this funds so there is no diversion and misuse by provincial authorities, means the Finance Management Act also comes into play so this also has to be updated with stringent control on its use.

Morobe Province being the largest with highest number of teachers is a classic example of how funds meant for teachers leave fare has always had funds diverted by the education adviser and his administrative officer. Every year problems faced by teachers in regards to this has always been ignored and repeated the next year without anything being done by higher authorities.

Papua New Guinea Teachers' Association Must Stand Up For Teachers Without Media Bashing

Pic courtesy: EMTV News report
There is no need to go on strike yet. Teachers from Elementary to Secondary schools in each province has reps. They form the PNGTA. There needs to be a collaborative effort from them to fight for teachers remuneration and benefit. 

Unlike before, Facebook (and access to it) has changed the way Papua New Guineans communicate. PNGTA Chairman and reps from 22 provinces should, first, create an avenue for discussion. FB would be a good place to start. 

Second, they must stay in touch with teachers - communicate: find out if they have received their pay increase, Boarding and Duty allowances...etc. They have to have facts and figures at their finger tips. 

Third, those information must be presented to National Department of Education, Teachers' Service Commission and Education Minister on regular basis - this is their job. They MUST do that as well as 'media-bashing'. 

Fourth, PNGTA must pursue legal challenges to ascertain irregularities in teachers entitlements if they have to. They must ensure that the govt remains true to its PROMISES of pay increase. As I posted sometime ago, by 2016 every public servant will have realised a 30% increase in their salaries - this includes the teachers. 

That implied that PNG government has made a promise to pay the increase. So, PNGTA has to ensure that the government does what it says. If teachers are not receiving the increase or other entitlements over a year, they have to determine why. 

Finally, the onus is on PNGTA and teachers' reps in each province. IF the association feels that there is a need to call for a strike action,  by all means, they must do. But, going on strike (or pretending to go on strike by going to media like the PNGTA chairman did) is not the best way forward.

ExxonMobil-PNG To Take Defensive Measures By Cutting PNG Jobs Amidst Energy Price Collapse?

Pic Courtesy: ExxonMobilPNG Twitter
The tumbling oil price has forced major oil and gas companies to slash cost. FTSE 100 Oil and gas major, Tullow Oil, has cut back US$2.3 billion on expenses. Other companies in the energy sector are also cutting back as they are hit by over 60% drop in the Energy price in just seven months – Brent Crude Oil for example, has fallen by nearly 50% from US$110 a barrel to US$48 a barrel.

So, where does the huge fall (and continual dip in price) leave Papua New Guinea’s much-talked-about gas development led by ExxonMobil-PNG?

The PNGLNG development has moved onto production since April 2014. That meant that it has completed exploration and development phases of the initial project. To date, over 50 shipments have left the country.

At the peak of energy price, the Prime Minister of PNG (in a response to the Opposition questions) said one shipment was valued at, an average of, US$50 million – yes that is 50 million US Dollars. If price fluctuated at US$50 million ExxonMobil-PNG would have recovered the development cost in less than five years. This also means that if the company continues production at current rate, the time it takes to recover development cost would double. Would ExxonMobil-PNG want to recover US$19 billion development cost in 10 years, instead of 5 years?

The prime minister gave his response to the Opposition MPs when Energy price was at record US$110 a barrel. The price has, since, dropped to US$48 a barrel. Here is what ExxonMobil-PNG’s accountants would have worked out by now – value of a shipment would have averaged at US$25 million.

There is prediction that the price is likely to fall even further based on the fact that Opec countries have not slowed down on production to spike energy price. Major Oil and Gas producing countries like Russia, USA, Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc. have not reacted at all.

What can ExxonMobil-PNG do? Apart from shelving any plans for exploration and further development, one thing is for sure – ExxonMobil-PNG does not have to cut down on production. The company must produce at full capacity. This has to be done as the Opec group of countries are not cutting down on production, either. Their economies are dependent on oil and reducing production would have drastic consequences on government’s revenue. Russia, for example, whose economy is very much dependent on Oil has considered its options.  

A BBC report indicated that many oil and gas dependant countries have not cut down on production to spike Energy price. If they had cut-back on production their economy would have been shaken to the ground.

There are two defensive measures ExxonMobil-PNG can (has to) contemplate on doing. Look within its structure and readjust main expenditures. That would imply that ExxonMobil-PNG would have to either make adjustment to its expanses or increase production (and increase revenue).

Here is one option. First, ExxonMobil-PNG would have to reconsider its employees’ remuneration and benefit. Many top level employees may have to take a pay cut or agree to some in-house cost cutting measures, like halting fly-in-fly out arrangements.

Second, casual employees the company has used during (and in) exploration and development phases will have to be laid off. This also applies to apprentices, interns and others on the job training exercises. This could, probably, affect their awareness and charity programs too. 

Third, the project developer would have to evaluate performance of contractors. Those who have been given chance to partake in contracts awarded by the company will have to prove their worth to remain with it. 

Another option would be to increase production like what many Opec counties are doing by producing at full capacity - even increase production capacity. By doing this the company does not have to take the three measures highlighted above, but expand on each area.

This will create more opportunities and increase production – a win-win situation for the company, PNG government and every stakeholder who participates in this project.

All in all, it is eminent ExxonMobil-PNG takes defensive measures now by finding areas where cost can be minimised. But, any cost cutting measure taken in the name of maximising revenue for the company must not compromise Papua New Guinean jobs.

Reflection On Change - Use Education As A Medium of Change



A lot of changes in the education system have been going on at the National level (NDoE) this year. The obvious one is the change in structure, called the 2-6-6. With this structural change comes curricular change too - moving from Outcome-Based Education (OBE) to Standard Based Education (SBE). A much talked about change, yet little is known.

Many do not know what it is, not even the education minister. He has no idea whether the structural change will have an impact on the current curriculum or not. Teachers will have to go through trial and error as they did OBE. 


Again, this year the NDoE will have come up with National Education Plan 2015 - 2024. This plan is the road map for education in Papua New Guinea for the next 10 years, but the documents are not out yet as I write.

So, why are the structural (2-6-6) change, curricular change and NEP 2014-2024 important? All provincial governments should consider ways to fine-tune the education system in each of the 22 provinces.

It is time for every provincial education authority to take charge. They should not wait for autonomy - a word closely related to procrastination. If provincial governors and senior education officials, who are responsible for the change, want quality education they must take the lead to make a change.

One change in a system like the education system will have a ripple effect in the next 10 to 14 years. That means that the 10-year National Education Plan which starts this year and ends in 2024 will have an impact on 10 generations.

So, with this change must come to a 14-year strategic plan to follow up on children who start his/her early learning years now. By doing this will enable the planners today to track the progress (and achievement) of a population – the generations – that goes through the change and allow planners to compare and contrast OBE to SBE.

In fact, monitoring students as well as effecting the new system makes education outcomes attainable and measurable. Without doing this would mean that the Papua New Guinea education system is heading down a part of ‘scrape-and-replace’ like what happened to OBE after 22 years. The last thing any developing education system would want to see is a failing system.

So how practical can provincial education authorities are in taking a leading role – and a proactive one – in the fine-tuning education system in their localities?

Take for instance, Simbu Province has 5 secondary schools producing grade 12 annually: Rosary Secondary School - Kondiu, Kerowagi Secondary School, Yawe Moses Secondary School, Gumine Secondary School and Muaina Secondary School. There are 4 classes per grade – i.e. 4 classes of grade 9, 4 classes of grade 10, 4 classes of grade 11 and 4 classes of grade 12. At 35 students per class, a school’s population would be 560 students.

What does this benchmark number mean? Senior education officers, parents and leaders have to see that having lots of secondary schools does not mean all is good. In fact, it is the opposite – more secondary schools is a recipe for disaster. Fact.

Look, each secondary school in Simbu would have produced only 140 (35 x 4) grade 12s annually. So, 5 would produce 700 grade 12s every year.

In fact, if 3 secondary schools take in grades 11 and 12 (and done away with grades 9 and 10) this would have increased grade 12 classes to 8 (and grade 11 classes to 8 too.)

This means that one secondary school would be producing 280 (35 x 8) grade 12s annually. Now, 3 secondary schools would be graduating 840 students - 140 students more. 

Perhaps the most important thing here is the fact that Simbu Province does not have to have many secondary schools to be competitive in developing its ‘human resource’.

END: Nelson Mandela once said ' Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the World'. This is true. You - the change-makers - can make it happen. 

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DISCUSSIONS ON FACEBOOK

This is what I mentioned is a discussion on how to improve student's performance.

"I think Simbu Provincial Government can take ownership of education trends/changes locally instead of relying on NDoE. I like what *Benjamin mentioned above. For example, Simbu can do well if it concentrates its resources and reduces its secondary schools to only 2 or 3: expand on Years 11 and 12, tighten students' selection process, get the best teachers and administrators to teach and manage the schools, give them performance incentives, sponsor top students, etc. What Simbu Provincial Government needs to do is to align its plans with NEP 2015-2024 or make the adjustment to existing failures within the system. There is never a better time to start than now when changes are happening left-right-and-centre at the national level."

*Here is the commentary by Benjamin Sipa:

"This discussion is about over but to tell from what I know while having my other cousins and siblings attending those secondary schools and hearing from what they say I understand that we should do something different for the secondary & high schools of Simbu Province.

1. Grade 9 & 10 should not be made part of the secondary schools of Simbu, should be catered in designated high schools strictly. 

2. Ensure to equip only 3 secondary schools with highly qualified teachers, fully resourced facilities like science labs, computer lab, Library, textbooks and dormitories – do away with 6 secondary schools, in fact produce junk that even can’t speak and write better English. 
a. Too many secondary schools also allows for enrolling less qualified students who at the end brings overall performance of school down by average.

3. Provide good incentives for the 3 secondary schools teachers to attract and have them stay in Simbu secondary schools. Facilities and technical expertise goes hand in hand, if the Simbu Prov. Govt and Division of Edu. in Simbu are serious, should think about.

4. Most of qualified teachers would like to stay close to where they can have easy access to decent services. Rural outback secondary schools do imperatively miss the ingredients. Thus require re-strategize to produce best outcome as a province.

5. These are some things that I picked up when talking to some of those young folks who have enrolled in some of those secondary schools. Since we mentioned Gumine Secondary here in the discussion, at the beginning of last year, there were qualified graduates went there at the beginning of school year, they decided to leave the school after few weeks. The positions left were filled by people with lesser qualification. Should we change our approach or leave?!"



Ganim Report: National Department of Education and Teachers' Service Commission Need Proactive Leaders To Effect GR Recommendations

Commentary 

TSC Chairman, Mr Baran Sori, and NDoE secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, must be suspended for incompetency. Why a report - the Ganim Report - sanctioned by the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education and conducted between March and April last year failed  on its 'Initial Findings'? 

As reported (in Post Courier) Ganim report was a working progress, but given that these leaders in Education are committee members, you would have thought last year should have ended well for teachers. They have seen the findings, they made submissions to PRCE, yet why have teachers not given 2014 leave entitlements?

The heads of education in the country are as dumb as any provincial education authorities and past and current education ministers. A bad combination!

PNGTA is planning court action. If a nationwide strike by teachers stops 2015 academic year, heads must roll. 

Get someone new to effect the recommendation of Ganim report. 

~~~~~~~
PC report
________
TEACHER woes in the country is no "overnight" problem which all 48,000 teachers in the country must first understand and bear with before help and long term solutions can be sought, Chairman of Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education (PRCE) and Wabag Open MP, Robert Ganim has said.

As such, he urged all teachers to refrain from any sort of industrial actions that could jeopardize the start of 2015 school year which millions of school children could be affected unfairly.

Mr. Ganim who led a PRCE nationwide investigation into the issues of teachers in the country between March and April last year said details of his findings (Ganim Report or GR) were presented to Parliament in its August 26 session.

Parliament adopted the GR and resolved that the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and the Department of Education (DoE) undertake the recommendations and report back to Parliament within three (3) months.

Pic courtesy: Post Courier - Cyril Gare file pic 
TSC Chairman, Mr. Baran Sori flanked by his Commissioners was addressing the PRCE Committee at the Parliament B2 Conference room on April 10, 2014 during the nationwide investigation into teachers’ issues. Cyril Gare file pic.

Upon which, a combined approach was taken by the TSC and DoE between September and November last year through the establishment of a Working Committee (WC) comprising TSC Chairman, Baran Sori as Chairman, Dr. Uke Kombra, Mr. Titus Romano Hatagen, PNG Teachers’ Association General Secretary, Mr. Ugwalabu Mowana, and Fr. Paul Jennings.

The WC undertook the recommendations of Parliament which resulted in a detail Report that is ready to be presented to PRCE Chairman Ganim who then will present to Parliament for adaptation when it resumes on February 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm.

The WC Report provides specific policy directions, identifies strategic outcomes, provides general guidelines in implementing these policy directions, set out the monitoring and evaluation framework, and provides costing – about K26 million - for its implementation over a five (5) year period (2015-2019).

According to the WC, the Government has work to do - in the long term - in addressing the teachers’ problems in these key areas:

 Review functions of Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and Department of Education (DoE);

 Review and define teachers’ salaries and allowances;

 Review the teacher appointment process;

 Review the tenure appointment process;

 Review salaries and entitlements of teachers;

 Decentralize ALESCO pay system to provincial education authorities;

 Adopt an effective and efficient teacher leave fare management;

 Create a leave fare data base;

 Make TSC assumes financial autonomy as a separate entity of State;

 Review process of retrenchment, retirement and resignation of teachers;

 Establish a centralised teachers’ information database; and

Provide manpower and capacity development for teachers.

2014 Leave Fare Woes | Former Education Minister Blames Department, Current Minister Blames Teachers - The Solution

Commentary

James Marape (former Education Minister) sympathized with teachers and  blamed the Education Department for failing to workout leave entitlements for teachers on time. He is the Treasury minister and admitted to availability of money - so money is not why teachers have not received their leave fares.  

Nick Kuman, the Education Minister, said teachers and Provincial Education Authority were at fault. Teachers are confused and or ignorant for not submitting their leave application before April. He also lashed out at provincial education officials for not facilitating submission of leave entitlements.

Obviously, the two ministers are playing cheap politics by passing the buck from National Department of Education to PEA and teachers. Are teachers confused and ignorant? Is NDoE  not doing its part? Is  the problem with Provincial Education Authority?

It is ominous politicians are politicians not educationists - they get 5 times as much as teachers. They do not live a teacher's lifestyle and they do not experience a teacher's pain at the end of the year.

They should talk about giving to the hard working teachers what they deserve. They shouldn't play politics with them. James Marape knows well. This is a problem that occurs year on year.

If I was the Education Minister, I would have summoned the Education Secretary, PNGTA president, all (22) Provincial Education Advisers and provincial education officials responsible for dealing with teachers leave entitlements to a round table discussion, and sort this MESS out - once and for all. Sadly, a simple teacher is not a 'talking'  Education Minister.

Over to your, Mr Minister. Stop the blame game. Do the right thing. Until then, the teachers will have to hope that this year ends well. 

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POST COURIER Reports (05 & 06/01/2015)


By NELLIE SETEPANO

EDUCATION Minister Nick Kuman says the issue of leave fares for teachers was caused by mismanagement from the provinces concerned, which is affecting teachers.

He said the Education Department cannot be blamed for not paying teachers leave fares.

"The department does not keep monies for leave fares and leave entitlements," Mr Kuman said.

He said there are some provinces that have not got it right while others have.

The minister explained to the Post-Courier yesterday that since certain government functions were decentralised, provinces now take the responsibility to take care of their own teachers.

The Education Department is responsible for the national functions of schools of excellence, vocational schools and teachers colleges.

The minister emphasised clearly that every teacher eligible for a six week leave (after two years) should apply for leave a year earlier and before the month of April.

This is so that their leave fares and entitlements are catered in a budget for each year.

"I have directed the Education Department to remind teachers of that directive," the minister said.

Mr Kuman said teachers are the last people who should be confused about this directive.

"Educated people such as teachers know about this directive and should not be ignorant," the minister said.

Mr Kuman said some provinces such as Morobe, which have a very large number of teachers, must be managed well by the provincial education authorities and treasury office. Teacher leave fares have been a chronic issues for years but is slowly been addressed by provinces.

Still some provinces fail teachers but the minister said authorities are in current dialogue to address this issue.

######~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~########
Former Education Minister James Marape's Statement

THE Education Department should process teachers leave entitlements before the end of an academic year and allow for them to go for holidays on time.

This should be done before December, but when Government books are closed Education department cheques are not recognised by the banks.

Finance Minister James Marape raised this concern in a media conference at his Vulupindi office in Port Moresby yesterday.

"We are a Government and we have money all the time to run this country. The delay in teachers leave entitlements is not the Government’s fault nor is it a cash-flow problem in the system as claimed by the Opposition.

"It is caused by the Education Department, which failed to workout teachers entitlements prior to the close of accounts."

He says what happens is when Government accounts are closed in mid December all funds of Government held by state agencies and departments are pulled back into the Department of Finance for the accounts to be tied up therefore obviously there was no money in the education department when the cheques were drawn.

He says, instructions were issued to all agencies and departments to go to finance if they needed to make some emergency payments based on the main 2014 budget and the 2014 supplementary budget as it was the only department in operation during the close of business but the education department failed to follow the instructions.

"It has been a problem for a long time so the education department and other concerned departments and agencies should put their heads together and come up with a system which will work better," he stressed.

"As the former education minister I sympathise with all the teachers out there for the delay and I’m sure the current Education Minister Nick Kuman will get his staff to liaise with concerned agencies and come up with a solution," he said

"We have a whole year to work on the teachers entitlements, you don’t come on December 25 crying for leave pay, teachers should be already in their villages celebrating holidays by then," he said


Meanwhile, Mr Marape says he will issue the first warrant for 2015 next week Monday to officially open government business for the year.


PNG Education System Structural Change 2015 Demands More Awareness, Resources and Teachers

Commentary

Here are some perceived information that I thought would be useful for parents and teachers with regards to changes to education structure, the 2-6-6. This, as we know, will be implemented this academic year starting from elementary to primary and secondary schools in the country. 

The obvious changes from 2-6-6 are:

1) children will have to start school as early as 5 years of age, not at 6 or 7 years
2) children will spend 14 years at lower education levels, not 12 years
3) children will learn, speak, read and write in English from Elementary school, not Tokples
4) children at early years need specialist teachers and assistant teachers, not any grade 6 or 10 dropouts
5) bridging at grade 6 (primary) -  grade 7 (secondary), not at grade 8 - grade 9

With the expansion in years (including early start) and change from Tokples back to English at the early years means there is demand for specialist teachers, especially at elementary schools.

The early learning years are pivotal in shaping children's future. Such a change is only good if it is planned well and implemented, supported by both parents and well trained teachers.

Primary and secondary teachers who have been teaching 'bridging' grades may have to adjust to new structure. Teachers who taught grade 7 or 8 at primary schools must prepare to step-down to lower grades. That could possibly mean that your salary (if it is based on your level) could be less than what you earned last year.

Secondary school teachers must now embrace the fact that they could be teaching grades 7 and 8. This would be a real challenge this year given that the resources available at secondary schools are for year 9 up. 

This change is doomed to have a rough start if both parents and teachers do not know what to do. Fact.

The situation on the ground seemed far from reality when parents and teachers have little or no clue as to what they are expecting. The minister for education and education secretary would have to get their heads together and tell the nation what is expected when the academic years start in February. 

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Reports from Post Courier can be seen below
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Problem highlighted by PNGTA general secretary Ugwalubu Mowana

By NELLIE SETEPANO [Post Courier 05/01/2015]

THE school year begins in the first week of February but schools may not be ready for the new standards-based education curriculum and the 2-6-6 system, says the Papua New Guinea Teachers Association.

The association thinks these directives had arrived too quickly for schools to implement, although they were introduced since 2011.

Three years on, there was no awareness and proper planning given to schools and teachers on these directives. Both lacked proper awareness, teacher training and schools do not have readily teaching resources and infrastructure to implement these directives.

Only a rushed training was done towards the end of this year in Port Moresby on the Standards Based Education or Curriculum.

PNGTA general secretary Ugwalubu Mowana said at the weekend that implementing the directives this year, would cause a lot of confusion and in the end students will be greatly affected.

Standards based education was all about improving education standards in schools. These come in the form of teacher preparations and professional development, examinations, inspections; school governance and restructuring of school system and structures are some of the many components that would be improved by a standards based education curriculum.

The 2-6-6 structure includes two years of elementary, six years of primary education and six years of secondary education.

Towards the end of last year, Education Secretary Michael Tapo said he was confident that teaching materials and awareness on the two new structures are ready to implement in the 2015 academic year.

Mr Mowana told the Post-Courier that it was impossible for these government directives to be implemented when teachers had little or no awareness and lacked necessary training and schools lacked much infrastructure to cater for the big exchange of students from one school to another. He said the two systems would cause chaos in schools.

~~~~~Related stories ~~~~

Educators trained on new curriculum | Too much politics, too much talk, nothing done, Dr Michael Tapo PNG Education Secretary


By NELLIE SETEPANO [Post Courier, 05/01/2015]

MANY teachers are still waiting for their leave fares but the PNG Teachers Association has announced it will provide financial assistance this week for teachers to sue for their tickets.

The PNGTA General Secretary Ugwalubu Mowana said the PNGTA had no other alternatives but to resort to court action for the thousands of its members still stranded at their various schools nationwide.

At the weekend he warned the Government to address the teachers leave fares to allow teachers to travel home for their holidays or the country could face industrial action next month, the beginning of the academic year.

Mr Mowana was concerned that the unpaid leave fares for 2014 were a time bomb waiting to explode.

He cited other issues that teachers were frustrated about, including the standard based education and the 2-6-6 system, which were earmarked to begin this year.

Mr Mowana said these policies were shoved down the necks of schools for teachers to implement without proper awareness and training, lack of resources and infrastructure.

The 2-6-6 structure is a government policy to be introduced into public schools this year, which will have elementary schools having two years of education, primary schools and secondary schools to have six years for each.

He also pointed out that teacher appointments for 2015 is also a problem in some provinces. Mr Mowana is saddened and at the same time frustrated that the leave fare problem has become an annual problem that has never been addressed thoroughly over the years.

"The PNGTA will support its members in the provinces financially with legal fees starting this week."

"Although this is an expensive way to deal with this issue, we have no other alternative but to go to the courts," Mr Mowana said.

He noted that the teacher leave fares is one of 13 recommendations by the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education, that the secretary is hopeful government will address for the good of teachers. The leave fare issue has become a contentious issue for the Government.