Papua New Guinea National Education Act 1983 Review, Education System Fit For The Country And Its People

Commentary

Papua New Guinea National Education Act 1983 review cannot come at the right time. The education department has to be complimented for reviewing the Act. 

Sections of the Act needed thorough scrutiny and update. Take a look at one example here - Section 4 on Objects of the National Education System:

'(1) (b) to develop and encourage the development of a system of education fitted to the requirements of the country and its people'  


In fact the country's requirements are different after 40 years. Population was not over 7 million in the years leading up to 1983. Government policies on national and local education provisions were not the same compared to yester-years. Many policies have changed like tuition free fee policy and education reforms. Economy is expanding. Literacy rate is low. Skills shortage is a concern. 

Inevitably, how can NDoE and National Education Board strike a balance in this Review? How can NDoE and NEB make sure this Act of parliament meets country's requirements and the needs of its people?


The Act is a legal framework that gives substance to the whole education system - it holds every sections within the education system like a skeleton is to the body. There is urgent need to update the National Education Act 1983. It must be done promptly and thoroughly.

Perhaps it is important this review takes into account changes that are taking (have taken) place since education reforms of the early 1990s. This includes considering the high number of dropouts, curriculum changes, structural changes, increasing population, changing government policies and everything that would make education fit for all.

Another point worth mentioning is correlation between Ganim Report and Review of Education Act. The report's 12 recommendations have direct bearing on Functions of National Department of Education and Teachers Service Commission (Section 29 of the Act).

It is only proper that the National Education Board considers this review urgent. NEB must analyse draft by May. NDoE, NEB and Education Minister must aim to see the act passed by Parliament before the year ends. This review has to take precedence among other changes. 




BY SHIRLYN BELDEN [Post Courier 26/02/2015]

THE Education Department expects to have the first draft of the Education Act review handed over to the national education board by May this year, Secretary Michael Tapo has confirmed.

"The review will be given to the board after we’ve checked all pros and cons.

"The full process to obtain complete legal status for the reviewed Education Act before it’s a law, or before it can be debated in Parliament, is not yet clear," Mr Tapo said.

The legislation was created in 1983 and had been used by the department since.

Works on the review started last year with four regional consultations already carried out with assistance from the Law Reform Commission and various government departments.

Mr Tapo said the Education Department was working with partners and stakeholders to complete consultations and draft documentations.

The reviewed act will then go to the national education board, which is the agency in charge of education system.

He said the department has planned to complete all works on the review draft by the end of this year so it can be presented to Parliament.

Mr Tapo said review of the 1983 Act has been a long standing issue, which the department has been contemplating on carrying out to provide a well challenged, quality and improved education system and structure for Papua New Guinea.

"We have to review the Act as the country is maturing, we need to develop education laws to the current demand and context of our society and circumstances. We need more qualified teachers.

"The school system has changed, a lot of people and organisations now want to build new schools, therefore, in order to administer and manage education efficiently, we need to understand that," he said.

Mr Tapo said the review was timely because the demand, expectations and context on how to administer education in the country have changed, giving the need to cater for these changes.

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