Non-Payment of Tuition Fees | "Anyone who gets in the way of the delivery of free education will be moved aside..."PNG PM.


THE GOVERNMENT IS PAYING K300 SCHOOL FEE PER CHILD AND EXPECTS SCHOOLS TO CONTINUE TILL ACADEMIC YEAR ENDS?

It is good to see PNG government is responding quickly to the news about schools closure. However, there are certain facts and figures we, as stakeholders, need to bear in mind.

1) The government allocated K605 million to fund Tuition Fee Free education policy. With this funding, schools were directed by both education minister and secretary for National Department of Education not to charge any other fees like the project fees.

2) K605 million has been paid in two instalments: first component (K302.5) for terms one and two, and second K302.5 million for terms three and four. This is supposed to be paid with no strings attached.

3) Reports have indicated that only 70% (K211.75 million) of the first component was paid to receiving schools. The remaining 30% (K90.75 million) was now released to schools according to the Post Courier report below. Why is it released now, when some schools have closed early for term one holiday due to lack of funds? Who is the government blaming? Would schools have closed prematurely if the government released the first component in full?

4) Perhaps this is an important question: 'Are we likely to see schools closing before the end of term two?' I think yes because 70% the first component was not enough to take many schools through to the end of term one. Remaining 30% paid recently was just a drop in the ocean to complete term 2, not sufficient for a term. 

5) All in the good name of the government, this K605 million was not enough. With a national school population of 1.9 million students, the government has planned to pay about K300 school fee per child (that was for the whole year) and expected the schools to continue without closure. 

The PM, Education Minister and NDoE secretary can go dancing to the tune of K605 million for free education, but it trickles down to nothing when you have a students' population near 2 million.  

It was clear that the investigation into any allegation of abuse of TFF funds, commissioned  and talked about by the Chief Secretary of Government, would have to be withdrawn as it  was unlikely to fix the problem. It would only uncover the weak areas and threw mud at the government. 

If the government wants to see smooth flow of academic year, it must either double the TFF subsidy or allow for parents to pay half the school fees and project fees.

It is, also, time to stop the Education Minister and his department secretary from meddling with the affairs of provincial education authorities or school board of management. Let the school BoGs, principals and PEAs do their jobs as they have done before the introduction of TFF (free) education policy.


BY ISAAC NICHOLAS

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has directed that all outstanding school fee subsidies be made direct to individual schools by this week.

He said to facilitate these payments, K90 million was drawn down last Friday to pay the remainder of tuition fee free funding for the first two terms of the current school year.

Mr O’Neill outlined this plan of action that was being delivered alongside the investigation commissioned by Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc that was seeking answers to the possibility of misappropriation of school fees.

He said the investigation included where the unaccounted funds had gone, but of greater urgency the commission would provide details of schools that had been cut short of funds so that they could be paid direct by the Government this week.

"The delivery of tuition free education is a cornerstone policy of our Government and we will not let this be interrupted by incompetence or mismanagement," he said.

"We promised the people of this nation that we would get their children into school and this is what we are doing.

"Anyone who gets in the way of the delivery of free education will be moved aside and we will deliver these school fees for our families.

"I have directed that all schools still awaiting their school fee subsidy will receive this money direct from the Government this week. There is no reason for any school not to open for the new school term.

"Education is a right for all children of Papua New Guinea and our Government will continue to implement reform to ensure our children can attend school regardless of their economic situation."

He said the list of schools that had not received their full funding was being finalised and outstanding money would be released direct to schools in the coming days.

He was responding to reports last week that 13,000 public schools will close in term two due to non-payment of free tuition fee subsidy.

Great News | Cabinet Endorses 12 Recommendations by Parliamentary Working Committee on Education - Allocated K7.826 million

Post Courier report, 13th of April 2015...

The National Executive Council has recently endorsed the Ministry of Education’s response to the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education’s (PRCE) recommendations, tabled in Parliament in August 2014. 

Prime Minister. Peter O’Neill, said cabinet has taken note of the Department of Education’s (DoE) policy paper and endorsed the Ministerial Statement together with the response made by the Ministry of Education. He said the policy paper and responses come after PRCE recommended:

  1. Review of functions and responsibilities of the DoE and Teaching Services Commission (TSC) in the Management of teachers’ salaries and entitlements.
  2. TSC to review Teaching Services Act 1988 Section 9.
  3.  Review of relevant sections of the Teaching Service and Education Acts on appointment policies and procedures with the view to transfer off powers and functions to the Provincial Education Board.
  4. Extension of tenure appointment from current three years to five years.
  5. Review of ALESCO pay system enabling it to accommodate processing of all salaries and entitlements.
  6. Transfer of full ALESCO Pay System and powers to the Provincial Education Board.
  7. Payment of teachers’ leave fares direct into their accounts.
  8.  Annual teacher manpower update to be conducted in the first quarter of the school year.
  9. TCS to assume financial autonomy as a separate entity of State as per the Teaching Services Act 1988.
  10. Review of policy, process and procedures in the administration of retrenchment, retirement and resignation of teachers.
  11. Establishment of a centralized modern electronic teacher information database that is easily available for provincial education authorities and other relevant stakeholders to have access.
  12. Review of the TCS administrative and manpower structural requirements and resourcing the Commission, enabling it greater autonomy to effectively and efficiently administer and regulate powers and functions.

”Cabinet has also approved K7, 826, 000.00 funding for the implementation of plans and programs for 2015 not budgeted and appropriated in the 2015 Budget Appropriation for DoE and TSC,” PM O’Neill said.

SHIT HAS HIT THE FAN | PNG Government To Declare State of Emergency On Tuition Fee Free Education Policy


Reports have revealed that a school in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville was closed, others were on the verge of closing. In my previous posts, I highlighted the need to be cautious about Tuition Free Policy and 'the risk' of stopping schools from charging project fees - school closing prematurely


Having written widely about the policy and platform of the current government on education, I think the government needs a reality check. Many schools are on the verge of closing merely a quarter into the academic year due to lack of funds. 

The best this government needs to do is to stop a school from closing. If one school closes, that will mean either the government's TFF policy has failed or education officials have failed the government. 

Either way, one thing is for sure: a school must not shut down due to non payment of fees. If that happens that would reflect on the government's inability to pay, monitor and control its policy on free education. 

Another point worth mentioning is the amount (K605 million) earmarked for free education this year. The Post Courier reported that schools' population in the country is 1.9 million. Conservatively, about 2 million students are eligible for the TFF nationwide. 

This implies that, on average, the government would have paid K302.50 per child. This should have raised red lights earlier in the year. By this I mean, the government (Department of Education) should have allowed schools to charge project fees to keep them going. It was done since 2012 when Peter O'Neill government introduced its TFF policy. Why changing it? 

So, here we are! What can be done differently to make it work? I think the onus is now on the government to restore any lost confidence. The government must pay up. 

Forced closure of schools begs the question of trust. Will the stakeholders in the education sector and parents trust the government or any of its future plans on education? 

It would not be good to see the government using education (the future of young people) as a political football. Scoring points to win election is one thing, but playing around with the education of a nation is a serious matter. It must be considered carefully. 

Schools in Papua New Guinea Are Closing - Government Is Not Paying Tuition Fees

On February the thirteenth 2015, after the Minister for Education and NDoE Secretary stopped schools from charging project fees, PNG-Insight highlighted that schools in the country face  closure before the academic years ends.

First reason being that K605 million for free education may not be enough. (see the reasons highlighted here).

Second, PNG government does not have enough money. This problem is made worse by the decline in Oil Price, which the government is relying on when putting together 2015 Budget.

Schools in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are now facing close - one is reported to have closed. This came after principals from Catholic schools raised concerns about government's not paying full installment of fees for the first and second terms. 

Does it mean PNG government's  Free Education policy has failed? It is too early to conclude that the Tuition Fee Free policy is failing, but there are tell-tale signs indicating failure. 

The important question is not what will Peter O'Neill's government can do, but can his government remit funds to schools on time before second term starts? Can the government pay the second installment for terms three and four in full? Peter O'Neill's government must remain true to it Tuition Fee Free policy. The Government must keep ALL schools in the country running without a pause or a stop.

It is not surprising. The writing was on the wall. Schools in Papua New Guinea are facing closure and some are already closing. This is evident from the report by Aloysius Laukai (in blue) and post by the member for Bulolo Hon. Sam Basil on his Facebook page (can be seen at the bottom) 


FIVE BOUGAINVILLE SCHOOLS ON THE VERGE OF CLOSURE

By Aloysius Laukai

Five Bougainville boarding schools are on the verge of closing if funds owed to them under the National Government’s Free Education Policy are not released by next week.

This was revealed today by the Principal of Hutjena Secondary School on Buka island, MARTIN TAKALI.

MR TAKALI told New Dawn FM that his schools was supposed to get SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA for the first two terms of this year which was seventy percent of the total allocation to the school.

He said that the remaining THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND for the remaining 3rd and 4th term are normally paid in June.

MR. TAKALI said his school was only paid about THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA which is FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA short.

He said this balance has to be paid so that the School continues to operate up to June.

MR. TAKALI said that some schools received their SEVENTY PERCENT allocation and is questioning why all schools were not treated the same way.

He said that the KOROMIRA TECHNICAL SCHOOL had already closed because they did not get anything at all for the 2015 academic year.

He has also written to the Bougainville Education Office and the ABG to intervene and assist his school to make sure students are not deprived from their right to education because of late payments.
Ends

The Chief Secretary before investigating the schools he should now find ways with his political colleagues to help pay...
Posted by Samuel H. Basil on Wednesday, 8 April 2015