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. 

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