Standard Based Education Awareness: Analysis of Secretary's Statement On SBE Part One

Commentary - 
Papua New Guinea NDoE secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, promised to update parents, elementary school teachers and the country about developments in Standard Based Education is a step forward. In a first of a series, he has released in a three-page pdf document outlining what is likely to happen and what teachers can do to kick-start teaching. His commitment to 'outline issues and developments twice a week' should be commended.

All elementary school teachers are to check the department's website, as they are checking their bank balance every fortnight, to see whether there is an increment in their pay or any new resource for use when teaching.

Be aware that this change is the start of a complete overhaul in the Education System. A new curriculum (the secretary called Standard Based Curriculum) as well as a new Education Structure (Two-Six-six) are now taking effect, starting at elementary. Eventually Papua New Guineans will have realised 14 years of Elementary to Secondary education, instead of 12 years like in the 2-6-4 structure.

In is reassuring to know that lesson plans have been drafted as guides for teachers at the elementary schools to use. Any experience teacher can attest to the fact that a plan created by someone is helpful, but can not be used strictly in classroom by every teacher.  

As the new trend in our education system is taking effect now, 2015. I am afraid the change takes place with minimal preparation. For the changes - both curriculum and structure - to be successful there has to be proper research and guides.

At the moment we are seeing it developed in parts. It is like, building a house without a plan. 

Here is the NDoE press first release:

The Department of Education (DOE) is now embarking on improving the standards of education from 2015 onwards. This means that standards in the school curriculum, teacher preparation and professional development, examinations, inspections, school governance and restructuring of the school system and structures are some of the many components of education which will be improved by a Standards-Based Curriculum (SBC). 

The department will be outlining here SBC issues and developments twice a week to make the public and teachers aware of the changes.

Various means will be used to improve the awareness of the SBC to be implemented in 2015, including

• Minister for Education and Secretary for Education speeches and presentations;
• DOE officers giving presentations to schools and other stakeholders;
• Presentation of SBC documents to schools and other stakeholders; and
• In-service training of all elementary and junior primary school teachers (Grades 3 and 4)

Structure of School System 

The Government has embarked on free and compulsory education in 2015 and the level of resources will need to complement the school structure to enhance the standards of education and to keep the children in school.

• Two years of Early Childhood Education;
• 6 years of Primary education — Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5 and Grade 6 and;
• 6 years of High School/Secondary education — Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12 

Elementary syllabuses

• English 
Elementary teachers will teach English as a subject with the emphasis on teaching phonics through scripted daily lessons. The introduction of English as a subject is to address the low literacy rate in the nation. All teachers will use English as a medium of instruction beginning at this level.

• Language 
This syllabus is important for two reasons. First it will help current elementary teachers to bridge into teaching English. They have been teaching elementary vernacular for many years and the language syllabus will help them to teach English better. Secondly, the elementary pupils will learn English quickly when Language is used to explain different English words or concepts. It is important for the cognitive and literacy skills development of the child, in preparation for reading and writing.

• Mathematics.

• Culture and Community, with science embedded as a subject in this syllabus.

Part two of the commentary will be on use of Phonics in Elementary Schools. 



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