Pathway For Grade 8 and 10: PNG Government To Increase Vocational Training Centres from 141 to 325, One LLG One VTC


Policy and documents on TVET
In 2013 there were 141 provincial vocational centres (up from 132 in 2009) and 9 technical and business colleges in Papua New Guinea. The number of colleges excludes Police College, Bible Institutes and others that have opened recently.

In fact, the need to improve Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) was well documented since 2005, evident in TVET policy 2005 [pdf]. The case study  by a Patrol Maino also provided a great deal of insight on expansion of TVET titled Efforts In Reorienting Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) System In Papua New Guinea (PNG) To The Global Economy [pdf, 2013]. The documents gave depth to developing TVET programs. 

These written documents explicitly echoed the need for government (who is the driving force for change) to invest in training at vocational level for Grade 8 and Grade 10 school leavers. Had the government and TVET division of education had done it right, there would be a good number of skilled workers in the country by now.


This does not mean either the government or the TVET division had done nothing. Actually they have done some fantastic jobs over the years. But, what is needed now is to take into account the HIGH number of students leaving school at the end of Grade 8 and Grade 10.


There is an urgent need to look into expanding capacity, finding avenues for job placements for vocational trainees and helping them to find their place in the society- an attractive package has to be developed for them now. 

There are no more that 150 semi funded vocational centres and technical secondary schools around - not enough to take in a good number of Grade 8 and 10 drop-outs. As a result, the TVET division must realise how important it has become of late.

The course work and curricula, workshop practicals, work placement and continuous training are the main areas needed both the government and TVET division of education (urgent) attention.

Government to put the money where its mouth is

Is it too late for the government to take an interest in this forgotten generation? The answer is no. It is not (never) too late. The need to harness the power of Grades 8 and 10 school-leavers is increasing as the number of these young people leaving school increases. If this population is left to its own, the nation will see a generation of unskilled young people who are good for nothing, but burdensome. 

Skills learnt early is vital. There is nothing wrong with the existing training provided at vocational and technical schools. The problem is that the national and provincial governments have been doing very little to improve vocational training in the country.

In the past, vocational training centres where set up to cater for the then Grade 6 school leavers. However, with the structural change [1993], Grades 8 and 10 school leavers have been competing for a space at vocational centres. Recent figures showed that 96% of Grade 8 and 94% of Grade 10 students drop out of school. These group of kids have little or no chance to enter a college, or institute or university. Many colleges and technical institutions are taking in Grade 12.


The Grades 8 and 10 are the ones who are in desperate need for attention. These are  the youths who between 15 and 18 years of age. We can not neglect them!

There is a genuine need for the government to develop a strong base by focusing on vocational training for students leaving at Grades 8 and 10. There is a difference between building a skilled and knowledgeable generation, and merely educating a population. Unless (and until) the politicians and education leaders see this difference, their attempt to achieve any development goals will be nothing but a wasted opportunity.

Each Local Level Government (LLG) to have a vocational training centre

To make a difference is to invest in those 15 to 18 years old. Is it too much to ask? Why not every Local Level Government is task with building its own vocational training centre? Why shouldn't each LLG have its own technical secondary school? Papua New Guinea has three hundred and twenty five (325) local level governmental boundaries. A government focused on developing its younger generation must also have 325 vocational centres - 141 is not enough. A responsible government must build 184 more vocational training centres. This is the right thing to do if PNG is to harness the power in this forgotten generation.


I would like to take a look at Pathway for Grade 12 – what is available for them and how the school leavers can be seen to have fitted into the system. This will be the next topic Teach Them How To Fish series on PNG Insight.

***Knowing how many of those institutions are available is not easy as no updated data is available online or I may not have seen any relevant data during my Internet search to compile this post. If you are reading this, you can do your part by including the institutions that are not available here – Wikipedia.


No comments: