Air Niugini Online Booking and Check-in Using Mobile Phone - Beat the Queues

Air Niugini Online check-in started in August of 2016, yet many national and international travelers have yet to use the platform. The reasons could be many, but one obvious explanation is that many Air Niugini passengers just do not know that they could check-in online.

Air niugini online check in - how to in 4 steps
Jacksons Airport | Online Check-in counter

This post aims to spread the word that you can skip the frustrating queues to book tickets and check in by doing both online.

It is important that you make your online check-in 24 hours - one day - prior to departure time.

A manager with Air Niugini clarified that

"Passengers have the advantage of selecting their preferred seats and purchase other services such as extra leg room seats, extra baggage allowances and other products which may be on offer on the flight [...]. But first of all, you have to check-in online," Mr Dominic Kaumu

Reassuringly, it is fast. To check in on your mobile devices or laptop or PCPC follow these steps:

1.  visit ( mobile phone users use this url

2. Enter your Last Name which is your surname,

3. Enter your booking reference number which is often found at the top of your ticket and

4. Click 'Check in.

PNG Air Niugini Internet check in

Once the 4 steps are complete, you'll access the Internet check-in interface. Navigate through the interface and complete the details thoroughly.

What is the difference between Air  Niugini online booking and online check in?

Online booking is usually done before the online check in. Customers book tickets either online or at the Air Niugini's offices and agents, and pay. Payment can be make immediately or at a later time. When the customer has had the ticket, he needs to check in online to get his boarding pass before travelling. This url [] links to Air Niugini Online Booking page shown below.

PNG Air Niuguni Internet booking

In fact, both the online booking and online check in can be done without having to visit Air Niugini office. The two processes can be sorted online.

Therefore, avoid standing in the long queues to book and buy tickets, and get your boarding passes. Do these checks on the Internet 24 hours prior to departure. Hope this helps.

1997 Sandline Affair: Resignation of Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Sir Julius Chan

1997 Sandline Affair and  Bougainville crisis

One event in PNG’s short history will always reverberate for generations – the 1997 Sandline Affair. Sandline Affair was a political crisis that threatened PNG’s internal diplomacy when the 32-month-old government of Sir Julius Chan attempted to solve the Bougainville Crisis once and for all.

Sir J wanted to put an end to Bougainville crisis by hiring foreign mercenaries. His choice of action was external military intervention AFTER his call for help from Aust and  NZ fell on deaf ears.

US$36 Million and cutbacks

What is startling is the amount of money that the govt of Sir Julius Chan was cutting back from vitals areas like Education and Health. Sir J's govt cut US$36 million from departmental allocation to govt institutions like Education, Health, ….) to fund mercenaries. See the copy of the Agreement here.
Fees and payment agreement 30/01/1997

US$36  was over K85 million at the current exchange rate. Though political situation then and now are different, money – a huge amount of money in part or thereabout – exchanged hands. Some of them were for personal gains.

Sir J prime minister for 32 months

The year was 1997. Sir Julius Chan was prime minister for almost 32 months. Bougainville crisis was in its 9th year. Here are the last 12 days of Sir J in power as the prime minister.

1. 16th March: Beginning of Operation Rausim Kwik. On the night of 16 March 1997, the revolt began. By the time the night was over, the entire band of Sandline mercenaries had been disarmed and arrested. Prime Minister Chan did not find out until the next morning.

2. 17th March: PNG Defence Force Commander, Brig. Gen. Jerry Singirok demanded Sir Julius Chan (PM), Chris Haiveta (DPM) and Mathias Ijape (Defence minister) to resign within 48 hours (2 days); The prime minister Sir Julius Chan reacted by sacking BG J. Singirok, replacing him with CONTROVERSIAL Colonel Alfred Aikung.

3. 18th March: A boycott of classes began at the University of Papua New Guinea, in support of Singirok. Crowds of civilians blocked the roads around the barracks, and bomb hoaxes closed down government departments.

4. 19th March: 48th-hour ultimatum expired, the protests turned violent, and some looting began. The situation grew darker for Chan when the Governor-General, Sir Wiwa Korowi, took out a newspaper advertisement that also accused the government of widespread corruption.

5. 20th March: The Australian government sent emissaries to Port Moresby, and threatened to withdraw financial aid altogether if the Sandline deal was not cancelled.

6. 21st March: All Sandline's personnel, with the exception of Tim Spicer, who remained to give evidence to the enquiry, were withdrawn.

7. 22nd March:  Civil strike continued, UPNG students met at forum square every day; Speaker of Parliament and former Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu met with Chan and Singirok, and advised the latter (JS) that two of his demands had been met and that Chan would resign only at the wish of Parliament.

8. 23rd March: Major Walter Enuma, a key Singirok supporter, said: "We would like to see this thing off the streets and back into the political arena."

9. 24th March: Chan’s grip on power was fast eroding; 5 NEC ministers resigned, Sir Wiwa Korowi (GG) and Church leaders reiterated calls for Chan to step aside pertaining to CoI into Sandline Crises.

10. 25th March: March Parliament session began, Bill Skate was ready to bring forth a motion calling on Chan to RESIGN. Sir Michael Somare amended Skate's motion, so it only called upon Chan to STEP DOWN for the period of the inquiry.

11. March 26th: Demonstrators celebrated the news that Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan had just "stepped aside."

12. 27th March: Chan realised that his position was hopeless.  John Giheno appointed acting PM.

Victory or failure

The success of Operation Rausim Kwik was considered a victory for every Papua New Guinean by many observers and citizens. But, Sir J and his govt thought it was the right thing to do at that time to quell the Bougainville Crises before the 1997 national general elections.

2021 DHERST Grade 12 Selection - Stats that Matter

The 2021 tertiary selection list is NOT released (or finalised) by DHERST yet. PNG Insight will bring you updates leading up to the end of the year 2020.

This post has been updated to give information about the selection for Grade 12 in 2020. You may find the hints and tips below helpful when checking for the students on the tertiary selection list for 2021.

The update presents five helpful information about the 2020 selection list:

1. AES and TESAS 2020 tertiary scholarships
2. Stats of Grade 12 students selected to tertiary institutions in 2020
3. Important notes from DHERST
4. How to identify student on DHERST tertiary selection list
5. Where to download the 2020 tertiary selection list PDF

2021 DHERST Grade 12 selection
2021 tertiary selection listing -Not Released Yet

2020 DHERST TESAS PDF list for continuing students is now available. Check out the recent post here.

Related articles
If you want more information details about the Grade 12 selection listing, GPA or scholarship, refer to one of the articles below:

  • Grade 12 Online Selection for 2019 Higher Education and Exam Results - Differentiated
  • How to calculate your Grade 12 GPA using Your Results [Updated].
  • Why You Should Know Your GPA (Click here)
2021 selected students on tertiary scholarships

The 2021 Grade 12 Selection list is likely to be in one PDF file (like last year's list); and easy to check the selected students to tertiary institutions in the country. 

Last year DHERST (Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology) published the Grade 12 Selection List on the 18th of December. 

The selected students were awarded a government's scholarship under two categories. The PNG government's higher education scholarship is called TESAS (the Tertiary Education Scholarship Assistant Scheme).

TESAS is classed into either HECAS (the Higher Education Contribution Assistance Scheme) and AES (the Academic Excellence Scholarship). If a student is not awarded one of the government's scholarships, then the student is considered Self-sponsored. The numbers of students awarded each scholarship in 2019 are given below.

Fact file Grade 12 students selection stats

2020 for 2021 ACADEMIC YEAR

PNG Insight will bring to you the updated information on the 'stat that matter' when the 2021 DHERST selection list is out. So, stay in tune - bookmark this page.

2019 for 2020 ACADEMIC YEAR
  • 27,743 (= *18,318 + **11,792) students registered in DHERST online selection system
  • *18,318 students in the national admission pool NOT selected 
  • **11,792 (=***9,427 + ****2365) spaces available quota/spaces in higher education institutions (205 programs in HEI)
  • ***9,425 Grade 12 students selected to tertiary institutions
  • ****2,365 spaces yet to be filled via the national admission pool

2018 for 2019 ACADEMIC YEAR
  • AES- 904 Grade 12 Students awarded scholarships under this category 
  • HECAS - 3757 Students awarded scholarships under this category 
  • SELF-SPONSORED - 3936 had not been awarded a scholarship even they were selected by the selectors. 
  • Total students selected to Higher learning institutions in PNG = 8597 

DHERST Selection Key Points

DHERST announced 3 points that selected students to Tertiary institutions should take note of. 

In a press release, the department of higher education said the students whose names appeared on the Grade 12 selection list must take note the following:
(1) Your personal details contained within your application has been forwarded to the Higher Education Institution which has selected you.
(2) You should expect to receive an admissions offer letter directly from your Higher Education Institution (HEI). The HEI will communicate directly with you to inform you on specific details. 
(3) If your Study Program receives scholarship awards from the National Government, you may be eligible for financial support through the Tertiary Education Student Assistance Scheme (TESAS). Your TESAS status is also indicated in this National Selection List. Please log in to the NOAS ( and check MyStatus section any time before the 22nd December 2018 for further details on how to access your scholarship. [DHERST , Press Release 2019]

2021 DHERST tertiary selection list pdf

It can be fiddly to identify a student's name of the PDF selection listing. But, you can use a quick trick to solve this problem. Simply use the 'search' bar on the PDF list. 

The students' names are not on the selection list last year. Presumably, if it is the same this year, students can not use their names when searching. The best detail to use is the student's number on School Leaver's Form (SLF). 

How to quickly find a selected student on 2021 DHERST tertiary selection pdf list

1. Download the PDF file onto your device
2. Use the search button
3. Type in student's SLF number
4. Search
5. Confirm the school against SLF #.
6. Confirm your scholarship/fee status.

2021 grade 12 selection list dpf
PDF file listing by SLF number

Grade 12 selected students NOT on tertiary institutions scholarship

It is perhaps important to note that about 50% of the Grade 12 students names on the Grade 12 selection list are NOT awarded a government's scholarship (AES or HECAS) last year. 

They are, therefore, classified as self-sponsored students. (Here is a list of ideas about what to do to get a scholarship if you are a self-sponsored student).

But, what if a student's name is completely NOT on the Grade 12 selection list?  Here is what DHERST had to say about it last year:
We would like to inform you that your application has now been moved into the NOSS Admissions Pool. 
In the event that a higher education institution was not able to achieve 100 percent yield in the National Selections, your application may be considered from within the NOSS Admissions Pool. Should this happen, please log in to the NOAS ( and check MyStatus section prior to 31st December 2018. 
Also take note that in the event that a selected Grade 12 school leaver does not accept his/her admission offer, your application may also be considered from within the National Admissions’ Pool. Should this happen, please log in to the NOAS ( and check MyStatus section throughout February of 2019. 
If you have not achieved a GPA above 2.0 it may NOT be likely that your application will be considered from within the National Admission Pool. It is therefore highly recommended that you consider upgrading your marks with an intent to re-apply for further studies as a Non-School Leaver. Do not give up![DHERST , Press Release 2019]

Where to download the 2020 Tertiary Selection List

The HEI selection list for 2020 was officially released by DHERST. Last year the list came out on the 18th day of December. This year DHERST released the selection list PDF file on their website - here is a downloadable copy for Grade 12 Selection List for 2020 to higher institutions in the country.

About PNG Insight

PNG Insight is an education blog. It aims to highlight the key developments in the education sector in Papua New Guinea. Started in 2014 on Google's blogger (now self-hosted on WordPress), PNG Insight strives to be a platform for critical thinking and discussions; and a source of information.

Leave a comment and let us know about your visit. 

Highest Ranked University in Australia

Children's education has been one of the most talked about topics all year around. At this time university selection for 2019 is in full swing and many students and parents may now have known the results of universities and colleges entries. Those potentially wanting to send children to Australian universities may want to know which higher learning institution is the highest ranked university in Australia and Oceania.

NOTE: An updated verson of this post is available on

PNG Insight uses the 2018/2019 comparison stats of World universities to show some of the best universities in the region, Oceania. The 2019 world ranking of universities are sourced from the Webometrics Info (2018) and Time Higher Education (2019). The ranking is determined by the quality of the university's teaching, research and overall outlook among other criteria and compared against other universities in the world. 

The links and details of the sources are provided at the end of the post. First, the image shows Webometrics Info (2018) universities ranks (unfortunately the 2019 data is not available at the Time Higher Education website). 

Highest Ranked University PN
From the 2018 source (and presumably using the same criteria) the top 5 universities in Australia - are the  University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Australian National University and University of Sydney. 

Highest Ranked University in Australia
In fact, the 5 universities in Australia maintained the top 5 ranks in the Pacific in 2018 and 2019. However, there were shifts in the 2019 placements. It is perhaps important to note that the University of Melbourne maintained the number one place and the Highest Ranked University in Australia (= 32 rank in the World). And, Australian National University ranked 49 among all the best universities worldwide.

Highest Ranked University in Australia

This rank shows that there are 5 Highest Ranked Universities in Australia, just next door to PNG. Those who are interested or planning to secure a scholarship at one of the 5 unis will surely attain a top-class university degree.

For more information about the latest rankings of the world universities, refer to Time Higher Education website. 

Source: the links for the 2019 world ranking of universities on Webometrics Info (2018) and Time Higher Education (2019) used in this post. 

DHERST 2021 Online Selection Fact File (Updated Jan 2021)

The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) clearly differentiated between the 2021 Grade 12 Online Exam Results and 2021 Grade 12 school leavers online selections to tertiary institutions in PNG. The message below is DHERST's explanation of the online selection.

*Updated January 2021.

Important: The 2021 tertiary selection list is NOT available at DHERST website. Department of High Education, Research  Science and Technology DHERST has announced that the 2021 Tertiary Selection List will be released on Friday the 8th of January 2021.

"We wish to inform and clarify to the general public that the publishing and or release of Grade 12 Results is the responsibility of the Measurement Service Division of the National Department of Education and NOT the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST).

The National Online Application Systems (NOAS) is a separate system developed by DHERST for Grade 12 students to apply for further studies. The NOAS is not currently used for publishing Grade 12 Results, but rather to allow Grade 12 students to finalize their choices for further studies.

The National Department of Education have recently launched a separate system and website to access Grade 10 and 12 final results. To obtain Grade 12 final marks, please contact the National Department of Education or check their website. [DHERST Support Service, Facebook 06/12/2018].
online slf 2020 grade 12 selection
MS PPT Image

In fact, two education departments are facilitating the Grade 12 results and online School Leavers Application (SLA) at this time of the year. 

First, the results - both Grade 10 and 12 results - are the works of the Measurement Services Division (MSD) of the National Education Department. 

Anything to do with the RESULTS is through this web address Perhaps it is important to know that the results are only provisional. That means that the results and other details like name-spelling that may have errors are subject to final changes.

Check out the latest article on Grade 12 DHERST Online Selection >>> Click Here

Second, the Grade 12 online selection for the tertiary institution is the work of DHERST. And, 2020 selection to tertiary institutions in the country comes under DHERST. This web address ( links to online application and services the higher education department provides.

Fact files: Number of students year-by-year

  • DHERST online selection began in 2017. So, the 2021 Grade 12 online selection will be the 5th year of implementation. Students going to tertiary institutions in forecasted to remain at 2018 figure of ~12000 - 13000 students. 
  • 30711 Grade 12 students completed school in 2020, up nearly 1500 students from 2019. No significant increase in the number of students entering tertiary institutions in PNG.
  • A total of 29,000 Grade 12 students did the exams in 2019. An increase of nearly 5000 spaces from 2018 
  • A total of 12,234 students were selected to commence the 2018 academic year (47% of the 25,848 who applied)

Fact file: DHERST and MSD Online result and selection systems

  • MSD's inaugural online platform is for checking Grade 10 and Grade 12 results. It was implemented in 2018.
  • Only two student's preferences on the SLA in 2017 (5 preferences in 2018, 2019 and 2020)
  • Students with a GPA of 2.3 or above were considered for selection in 2017 for 2018 entry to Higher Learning Institutions. The same for 2018 selection for 2019 and 2019 selection for 2020.
  • The students selected via DHERST online application platform are NOT automatically awarded a PNG government's TESAS scholarship (HECAS or AES). ONLY those who receive a scholarship award letter are on TESAS. 
  • SELF-SPONSORED STUDENTS - if you are selected but you did not receive the award letter from DHERST, consider yourself a self-sponsored student.

The Gr 10 and Gr 12 online results for 2019/2020

For more information on the latest results, visit PNG Insight or click on the image to go directly to the *NEW* website.

Go to mypngexamresults home page

Recommended reading

We followed the developments in education over the years and have a collection of education Apps and websites. Click here to check them out. You may also find our article on Grade 10 Online results here helpful. 

If you have any questions about the 2021 Grade 12 selection process, PDF list, etc., please leave a comment below or check out this latest update on PNG Universities Non-School Leavers Selection 2021.

About PNG Insight

PNG Insight is an education blog. It aims to highlight the key developments in the education sector in Papua New Guinea. Started in 2014 on Google's blogger (now self-hosted on WordPress), PNG Insight strives to be a platform for critical thinking and discussions; and a source of information.

You can follow us on Twitter (@PNG_Insight) for the information on Education and Development in Papua New Guinea.

Sustaining Tuition Fee Free Education Policy in PNG

The paper discusses the long term and short term plans of the National Department of Education (NDoE) and gives insights to the importance of sustainability of the Tuition Fee Free Education (TFFE) policy in Papua New Guinea. It further asks is a national review of the policy a better way to strengthen the implementation of the tuition fee-free education policy in PNG? 
UPDATED 04 December 2018

key point on Tuition Fee Free Education Policy
Tuition Fee Free Education Policy in PNG (PDF download)
1.1. Background

In 1981 the Chan government first introduced a free education policy. It was then reintroduced in 1993 by Wingti government and later in 2002 by the Morauta government. Each government saw this policy as an important driver for economic change and for achieving universal basic education in PNG.  

All three governments had three issues in common; the policy was short-lived, confusion emerged about ‘free’ and ‘subsidised’ education and each time the policy was introduced before national general elections. 

In 2012, the O’Neill government reintroduced a free education policy. The issue of longevity faced by the previous governments was effectively addressed by the O’Neill government.

The second issue was not addressed; there is still confusion among parents, schools and the National Department of Education regarding how the policy is practised. The third issue regarding implementation just before the national election is true, but there needs to be a careful analysis to confirm why.

1.2. Explanation of Tuition Fee-Free Education Policy

Free education policy is the government’s policy on subsidised tuition fees and this policy is known as the Tuition Fee-Free Education (TFFE) policy. The policy does not cover the project fee, agency fee or other discretionary fees each school may set and pass on for parents to pay. 

In fact, free education is not ‘free’ in its entirety. It is technically reasonable to refer to the policy as ‘subsidised’ education policy. This paper uses TFFE with an emphasis on ‘Free’. Furthermore, a student is the key stakeholder of TFFE policy. Though the national government is the main benefactor (sponsor) and students remain the main beneficiaries (recipients), students’ interest must be the top priority for every government.


It is important to note that compulsory and affordable education is a cornerstone of the department’s directional statements. For example, the Vision 2050 aims for free education and schooling for all is indicated in the following words: ‘Free and Universal Basic Education for all school-age children from Elementary 1 to Grade 12 PNG Vision 2050, p. 5) and embedded in the department’s vision, mission, objectives and goals. 

2.1. Vision and Mission

The education department vision states: 

Our vision is integral human development achieved through an affordable education system that appreciates Christian and traditional values and prepares literate, skilled and healthy citizens by concentrating on the growth and development of each individual’s personal viability and formation while ensuring all can contribute to the peace and prosperity of the nation.

The mission statements for the education department are to; 

  • facilitate and promote the integral development of every individual,
  • develop and encourage an education system which satisfies the requirements of PNG and its people,
  • establish, preserve and improve standards of education throughout PNG, 
  • make the benefits of such education available as widely as possible to all the people, and
  • make education accessible to the poor and physically, mentally and socially handicapped as well as to those who are educationally disadvantaged (Sinebare, 2014).

2.2. Objectives and Goals

The education department three objectives are:
  • To develop an education system to meet the needs of Papua New Guinea and its people, which will provide appropriately for the return of children to the village community, for formal employment, or for continuation to further education and training,
  • To provide basic schooling for all children as this becomes feasible, and
  • To help people understand the changes that are occurring in contemporary society through the provision of non-formal education and literacy programs.

According to the Tuition Fee-Free Policy Management Manual, the TFFE policy aims to support compulsory and affordable education by achieving five key goals:

  • Access is improved for all children, especially girls;
  • Retention is enhanced where more children complete 9 years of primary education; 
  • Quality of education is improved for all grade of elementary to primary levels;
  • Education management is strengthened across all administrative levels;
  • Equity is enhanced to ensure quality education is available for all children in all communities across the country.

2.3. TFFE Policy Governance and Management Structure

The ability of governments to maintain investment in education is important to achieving universal education. Citing a UN report on political commitment, Walton (2016) in his article ‘The importance of national and local politics for improving educational quality’  stated that ‘political will’ is key to achieving education goals (para 1). 

It is reassuring to know that TFFE funding was consistent during the O’Neill government (Figure 4 and Figure 5). But, instances of fund mismanagement (EMTV, 2015) and manipulation of project fees by schools (Robinson, 2014) are relevant issues which needed addressing at both the department and district levels. 

tff policy management flow
Policy Governance and Management Structure
One way to address policy issues is to create strong governance, management structure and reporting system. The diagram shows the governance structure of TFFE funds, with the arrows indicating the flow of data and school management reports. TFF Policy Management Manual (2014), and ministerial and successive department secretaries’ statements (Kuman, 2014; Kuman & Kombra, 2016), describe the structure and reporting channels in principle. 

However, no attempt was made to clearly define a structural framework like the one shown in Figure 2. The figure is an attempt to give a clear picture of the systems and processes concerned with the implementation of the TFFE policy.

Kuman and Kombra (2016) described the different stages of monitoring and reporting. Both education leaders further outlined stakeholders’ participation as the key. These are indicated below.
  • District Administration: Local communities, school headteachers and boards submit data collected through every School Census and School Learning Improvement Plans (SLIP) and other development plans to DEIC.
  • Provincial Education Division: DEIC in each district approves SLIP, ensures proper use of TFF funds and verifies school and enrolment data. The membership consists of a church representative, CEO of District Development Authority, community representatives and the District Education Administrator and District Standard Officers/Inspectors.
  • NDoE: Establishment of TFF Secretariat within the DoE adds capacity. It provides administrative support to the Secretary for Education and assists the work of the Inter Departmental TFF Steering Committee. Provincial Coordinators are appointed to assist the Secretariat to implement the policy. 
  • Ministerial-level: The Inter-Departmental TFF Steering Committee (IDSC) will report to the Minister for Education, who reports to NEC and parliament. All other stakeholders’ responsibilities are covered in this TFF Implementation Guide.

stakeholders report on TFF
Mandatory Reports - Honest Participation from Provincial and National Levels


The literature review attempts to discuss the introduction of the TFFE policy in 1981, 1993, 2002 and 2012 (including 2017) by the People’s Progress Party (PPP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) party and People’s National Congress (PNC) party, respectively. 

One way to understand the implications of the free education policy implemented by both the past and present governments is to analyse the time when the free education policy was announced; the duration of the policy; and the overall planning (or lack of it) at the time of and following the announcement.

A research paper, based on a survey by the Australian National University (ANU), titled Financing and the Tuition Fee-Free Policy (ANU, 2012), described the impacts of TFFE policy on the education system. 

The research paper used the term ‘big bang’ to describe the huge increase in TFFE funding. For example, the research stated that ‘a big bang approach can cause “access shock”, whereby a sudden rise in student numbers puts pressure on educational quality (p. 5). The research revealed that there was strong growth in enrollment at an average of 15 per cent in the first year, 2012. It concluded that 
‘the increase in enrolments between 2011 and 2012 is a clear indication that the policy has substantially increased access to schooling for children across the country’ (p.14)
However, the survey by ANU researchers was done in select provinces and concentrated on the cost of education per child. Furthermore, though the research discussed the political history of TFFE policy, it focused on the impacts of the policy rather than the ‘political will’, which was lacking in the past. Therefore, the literature review in this paper adds to the two issues discussed in brief by the ANU researchers: the overall spending on TFFE and the political changes.

3.1. Short-Lived Free Education Attempts 1981, 1993 and 2002

In 1981, free education was received with mixed feelings in many provinces. Bray (2002) mentioned three reasons many provinces were sceptical about the policy (Walton & Swan, 2014). Walton and Swan argued that provincial governments feared the national government was aiming to take control of their financial and functional powers. 

As a result, five provinces did not implement the policy. Others raised concerns that the policy was unplanned and that it was unsustainable. But, fifteen other provinces implemented the free education policy.  When Sir Julius Chan PPP led government was ousted in late July 1982, its free education policy was scrapped. The policy lasted less than 12 months.

In 1993, Paias Wingti PDM party-led government reintroduced the free education policy after a successful election in July 1992. Confusion arose among parents and schools. Many thought ‘free’ education was free in its entirety according to Walton and Swan (2014). 

The discussion arose when the project fee was passed on to parents to pay. The Wingti government’s attempt to introduce free education lasted 18 months, from January 1993 to August 1994.

In 2002, PDM party under Morauta made a significant commitment to subsidise school fees. The budgetary allocation of K150 million was, then, the biggest to implement this policy. Again confusion emerged over the difference between free and subsidised education. 

The Morauta government thought the free education policy was an important driver for development. But, some people saw the timing as an attempt to skew parents’ opinion at the polls. For example, Marshall (2002) reported that 

‘In a blatant pitch for votes in the approaching June [2002] election, Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Mekere Morauta claimed late last year that his government would grant free education for primary and secondary school children if it gained another term’ (para. 1)

In terms of time, Morauta became prime minister in July 1999 and made this significant commitment to free education late in 2001 only seven months before 2002 general elections. Given the unpreparedness and lack of proper coordination, as well as the complexity of the issue, the policy proved unpopular during the national election. 

The Somare National Alliance (NA) party went to elections on anti-free education policy (Nalu, 2010) and successfully formed a new government in August 2002. The new government reduced 2002 tuition fee budgetary allocation from K150 to K60 million and reintroduced school fees.

3.2. Tuition Fee-Free Education Policy 2012 to 2016

The O’Neill government TFFE policy achieved better results than previous attempts. Initiated in 2011, it was fully implemented in 2012, seven months before national elections and gained popularity. The government allocated K602 million (Walton & Swan, 2014). 

Four times more than the Morauta government in 2002 and six times more than the Somare government in 2007. The Education funding averaged K474.4 million per year for the years 2002, 2007 and 2012 to 2016. The average shows that funding allocations in the last five years were, in fact, better than the earlier allocations. 

Comparision tff funds 2002-2012
Funds Committed to TFF Policy 2002 - 2016 
It is important to know that sustaining the policy for more than five years was the most important achievement for the O’Neill government. However, there is a gradual downward trend in fund allocation between 2012 and 2016, from a high of K657 million (2013) to K602 million (2016) and this has led to implementation problems. 

An ANU survey report on Education Financing and the Tuition Fee-Free Policy (ANU, 2012) in the country also indicated that government allocation ‘is expected to increase at around 3.5 per cent per annum to 782 million [K]ina in 2017 ( p.1 para. 1).  Furthermore, at the rate of 3.5 per cent, 2016 funding would be K755 million but instead, the funding was K602 million. The year-on-year 3.5 per cent increment had not been realised. 

The literature review highlights the fact various governments have seen ‘education for all’ as the main driver for free education policy (Walton, 2016). The policy resulted in a surge in a number of students going to school mentioned by Walton and Swan (2014). This review also shows that funding from the O’Neill government was better compared to past governments. However, the introduction of free education by governments just before national elections raises a question about the sustainability of the policy. Even with the O’Neill government’s relatively strong financial commitment to implementing the TFFE policy, questions have been asked about the timing of the implementation. 

3.3. Method of Research

This research uses a diverse range of online articles and published documents to investigate and discuss the issue of sustainability of TFFE policy. The paper’s main sources are the Development Policy Centre, National Research Institute, Institute of National Affairs, Treasury Department website, NDoE website and ministerial statements on TFF policy. The paper uses raw data from budget documents in discussions relating to TFFE funding. 


4.1. Project Fee Confusion 

Many schools, fearing financial difficulty before the start of 2016 school year, decided to impose project fee on parents and sponsors. For example, Robinson (2016) stated that schools in the Eastern Highlands Province had not heeded the education secretary’s circular on project fee abolishment. For clarity, the article was based on the secretary’s first directive on project fee abolishment. 

Kukari (2015) also mentioned the abolishment of the project fee in 2015, stating that the education secretary’s directive addressed the department’s goal of ‘free and universal’ education (p. 2). The secretary rescinded his directive.  A joint statement released by the minister and secretary (Kuman & Kombra, 2016) clarified that project fee had not been abolished. Both men iterated that the department set a maximum fee limit for all elementary to secondary schools to follow. The announcement effectively clarified the misunderstandings. 

4.2. Effects of Changing Education Secretaries

Dr Sinebare (the secretary between November 2011 and September 2012) and his team responded quickly to the O’Neill government TFFE policy announcement in 2011 and formulated a policy document called Tuition Fee-Free Policy Management Manual. 

The document, widely circulated for implementation in 2012, emphasised that free education was the cornerstone for achieving Universal Basic Education (UBE) Plan 2010 – 2019. The message to stakeholders was that free education was, in fact, free in its entirety. 

School heads, parents and communities had to take ownership of the policy and ensured its success (Sinebare, 2012). Dr Sinebare served for only ten months in his position. Dr Tapo (September 2012 – May 2014) who took over from Dr Sinebare had served for twenty months as the education secretary. He was sacked due to the department’s failure to distribute TFFE fund to schools on time, and replaced by Dr Kombra (May 2014 – present). All the while, there seems to be little effect in understanding the implementation of the policy.

4.3. Missing TFF Funds and Lack of Monitoring and Reporting 

In 2015, eight per cent (K50 million) of TFFE funds disappeared without a trace. Identifying the reason for this missing money is important so strategies can be implemented so this does not reoccur. 

The PNG Teachers Association (PNGTA) and the leader of PNG’s Opposition raised concerns about the missing money (EMTV, 2015) and this received no result. Stipulated in the TFF Policy Management Manual, and recently in ministerial statements, are details of processes for releasing TFFE fund to schools. For example, in order for the fund to be released directly into schools’ bank accounts, the schools must produce students’ data and acquittals of expenditures. 

The disappearance of the money placed doubt on the department’s capacity to handle TFFE funds. In January 2016, the department intended to create additional capacity (TFFS and DEIC) and TFFE fund management system; and establish monitoring and reporting structures (highlighted in Figure 2 and Figure 3). From the education department’s standpoint, the extra capacity through the establishment of TFFS will ‘provide administrative support to the Secretary for Education and will assist the work of the Inter-Departmental TFF Steering Committee’ (NDoE, 2016).
Given these sectorial challenges, there have been positive strides in the last five years to address free and universal education goals. More importantly, the government’s commitment to fund the TFFE policy was above average as compared to past governments’ attempts. Given these points, the main challenge is to ensure effective operations of the new Governance and Management Structure, and Reporting channels.


Previous sections discussed the history and challenges of the TFFE policy. This section attempts to put into perspective the long term and short term plans relating to the education sector. Perhaps, this is an important part of the paper because it provides answers to the question at hand: Strategic Planning of Your Organisation as it Aligns With Your Country Vision’.

5.1. Vision 2050 - Subsidised or Free Education 

The Vision 2050 was a 40-year strategic plan established in 2010 by the Somare movement. Of the five National Goals enshrined in the Constitution and Seven Pillars of Vision 2050, education is number one. Documented in Vision 2050 is the emphasis on free education and UBE: ‘Free and Universal Basic Education for all school-age children from Elementary 1 to Grade 12’ (Vision 2050, p.20) 

Somare’s government subsidy ranged between 100 million and 147 million Kina (Figure 5) – also a major contribution to education since Independence. However, his government saw education as a partnership venture between sponsors (parents) and the government and not entirely free across all levels of education. Conversely, the O’Neill government’s first commitment to education was free education from elementary 1 to grade 10. 

However, this changed in 2013 when grades 11 and 12 tuitions were covered under the TFFE policy (ANU, 2012). As previously discussed, confusions emerged regarding payment of tuition fees and whether the education was either free or subsidised. In fact, between 2012 and 2014 parents had paid project fee and agency fee under the TFFE policy. This changed in 2015 when the project fee was abolished (Robinson, 2015; Kukari 2015). Education was free. Parents and sponsors paid nothing. In 2016, the project fee was reintroduced to schools (Kuman & Kombra, 2016). 

Among confusions, the department set project fee limit for schools to follow and passed onto parent to pay. The debate on whether education is free or subsidised is, possibly, inconclusive. But, it is important to know that the government funding commitment to UBE for all boys and girls increased sharply since 2007 – significant investments in education.

5.2. Sectorial Plans – Short Term and Long Term Education Plans 

Several long term and short term plans (Secretary, 2010; TISER, 2013; NDoE 2015) have been put in place to achieve the education department vision and mission. Though this paper does not intend to address each plan in detail, it briefly explains their intentions. In brief, the five directional plans include:

Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2010-2030 – A long term plan for the education department. It identifies the strategies needed addressing in order to align NDoE vision and mission, and objectives and goals with the Vision 2050. It also provides a guide for the department in a 20 year period, ending 2030;

Universal Basic Education (UBE) Plan 2010-2019 - A 20-year plan covering both the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2000 – 2015, especially MDG  2 which relates to education for all. The plan contains a situation analysis of national targets (indicators) such as students’ access and enrolment, teacher-student ratio, infrastructure development, management and capacity development and other educational issues concerned with achieving compulsory, free and quality education for both boys and girls of primary school-aged children;

National Education Plan (NEP) 2005-2014 - This plan served as a roadmap for a 10 year period. Its objective was to achieve ‘basic education for all’ and provided further opportunity for students dropping out in the first 9 years of education (Prep to Grade 8). The department launched a 5-year medium-term development plan, NEP 2015 – 2019, to ensure that its review coincided with PNG Vision review 2050 in 2020;

Provincial Education Plans (PEP) 2007-2016 – A 10-year mandatory plan specific to each province. The aim of the plan is the address each province’s educational needs whilst taking into consideration NDoE vision and mission and education targets contained in the national plans. PEP also stipulated provincial administration structure and roles of stakeholders at provincial and district levels; and

School Learning Improvement Plan (SLIP) – This plan was school based and mandatory. It provided a basis for improving learning outcomes and management of funds and resource allocation in schools. SLIP provides an overview of money spent on school administration, teaching and learning resources, and infrastructural development. This important plan is reviewed both internally (by school head, boards, parents representatives and communities) and externally (by standard officers). 

The five documents were evidence of strategy planning and operational planning within the education system. The national plans must be translated into provincial and school plans and also effectively implemented at each level. 

Even more, these plans together with the Management and Governance Structure (Figure 2) and Reporting system (Figure 3) have the potential to achieve the objectives and goals of the department.


This section aims to respond to the need to develop a strategic plan to incorporate the issues relating to the sustainability of TFFE policy. Using SWOT analysis, the section identifies some strengths and weaknesses (internal factors) and opportunities and threats (external factors) of TFFE policy in the last five years, 2012 to 2016. 

Furthermore, the section uses the factors to set priorities and ensure that all stakeholders work toward not only sustaining TFFE policy but also improve on the failures in the past.

SWOT analysis TFF
Advantages and disadvantages of TFF Policy in PNG

The literature review (sections 3 and 5) and the data analysis (figures 4 and 5) show that the government commitment to TFFE policy is better than other governments in the past. The five weaknesses are all capacity/system issues within the NDoE. In fact, the establishment of TFFS – a new branch within NDoE to assist the secretary on TFFE policy matters (Figure 2) - is an example of building capacity. However, this may be too late. 

The policy is in its fifth year of implementation, the national general election is in July 2016 and uncertainty abounds. Nevertheless, it is vital that a strong process for monitoring, recording and reporting dispersal of education funds is established and implemented with immediate effect.

The four threats are political, economic and technological in nature. The O’Neill government has made an outstanding commitment to the free education policy. For example, in five years the government allocated over 3 billion Kina in TFFE funding, an average of 614.2 million Kina per year. The Somare government (2007 – 2011) total school fee subsidy in five years was 634.3 million Kina, averaging 126.86 million Kina per year. 

Literally, the O’Neill government average funding in one year was almost equal to what the Somare government spent on education in five years (Figure 6). Having said that, the unpredictability of PNG elections is not good for the policy’s stability. Another threat is the lack of inter-department data storage and retrieval mechanism. 

Currently, national government departments have standalone websites that are not linked together. This makes producing reports difficult. For example, data from several departments will have to be manually entered or searched and collated to track progress and provide reports. A realistic solution to this problem is having one website connecting all the government departments and offices. 


In conclusion, the PNG government's free education policy was an attempt to achieve integral human development stipulated in the vision and mission of the education department. The attempts to implement the free education policy in 1981, 1993 and 2002 were short-lived. 

The attempt in 2012 by the O’Neill government lasted two parliamentary terms and its funding was consistent. Capacity to manage the TFFE funds and report on it was lacking in the department of education. The establishment of the TFF Secretariat, the Governance and Management Structure and the Reporting System to monitor the use of TFFE funds needed implementing urgently. It is important that all the stakeholders of the TFFE policy must ensure that the interest of the key stakeholders – the students – is paramount now and in the future. 


At this juncture, the paper recommends the following actions to be taken at the national level.

  • A complete review of the TFF policy is carried out immediately by a committee - a team similar to the 2015 National Examination Review Committee - to strengthen the policy and further guide its implementation.
  • The national government creates a centralised website and makes it mandatory for NDoE to collect updated school data in real-time.
  • The education department strengthens the Governance and Management Structure and carefully and thoroughly monitors school census and data supplied by schools heads; and
  • The education department creates additional capacity to work with school inspectors and district administrators to monitor the School Learning and Implementation Plan (SLIP) relating to the spending of TFF funds.

You can download the Tuition Fee Free Education Policy in PNG PDF here (⇒ PDF download)

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