Govt: Clear and Precise Response to Coronavirus Implication on Education Calendar

A response to our question Will PNG School Close Because of Coronavirus? The comments are from the senior educationist and former Education Secretary Dr Michael Tapo EdD. 

Valuable insight into the likely impacts of Coronavirus on Education and what can be done...


Foremost, before discussing closing the schools or not to close, think about the interconnectedness of the economy, social, educational, trade, technology, scientific knowledge, and many challenges of Papua New Guinea as a country and its people.

Paying the teachers while they are not working, school time calendar, examinations, public views and comments, and others are just as pertinent before a final decision is made.

Coronavirus: Interdepartmental communication

Coronavirus matter is a 'national disaster' and not regular health and hygiene matter. 

Current law allows health and education officials such as the two departmental heads to communicate and reach the verdict. 

Next, the National Education Board decides the final outcome. The Education Minister is advised who then, as the Minister responsible, informs the NEC to close or not to close.

Legislative responses and disaster management 

Beyond the decision to close the schools is that there are serious considerations by the Parliament. The members of government and opposition should join forces to legislate laws for the Coronavirus as a national disaster. This must be immediate and urgent because of its massive great consequences.

This virus will wipe out a percentage of our people once they are infected and spreads widely. Papua New Guinea absorptive capacity right now cannot control the spread of virus amongst members of communities, at the village, districts, rural areas and towns. 
Coronavirus is a matter of life and death to every member of Papua New Guinean society as a nation. 

Coronavirus management efforts overseas 

For instance, the developed countries like UK, USA, Australia, France, Italy, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, China and South Korea and many others have taken quick actions. 

These nations, their politicians, virus medical experts and scientists are spending every day to find ways to fight against the Coronavirus. 

They recommend clear and precise laws and policies for members of the public and its total citizens to understand and comply.

Coronavirus cannot be treated to date. It may take at least two to three years to find the dine to cure it completely. Worldwide 200,000 are infected. 8,000 people as of today's date have died.

No one, and I stress no one, is immune to Coronavirus. There is no cure for this virus. It is passed on from persons-to-persons.

Social media information can cause confusion and panic as experienced by the countries mentioned above.

Legislative responses – urgent 

I recommend authorities and leaders in responsible positions from the Health Department, Provincial Government, Organic Law, Education Act, and Parliamentary Acts are diligent. 

This virus has massive nation-wide consequences and challenges the application, implementation and implications of these regulations.

New laws must be approved to deal with this virus. The only Directive must be from the government and no one else.

Closing schools - decision

In the case of the decision to close the school, the new law must be introduced alongside 'National Disaster” law to realistically control the Coronavirus Pandemic.

ABC website is recommended for Papua New Guinea policymakers, health officials, hospitals, governors of provinces and school authorities, radio and TV stations to have access to 
  • the latest evidence-based information, 
  • the types of the required new legislation, and 
  • the questions of what, when, how and where, the national and provincial government can and or cannot do.

The comment was updated for easy reading. Published with permission from the writer.

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Schools Shutdown due to Coronavirus COVID-2019


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