Free Education Policy Framework, Governance Arrangement and Policy Implementation Policy - REPORT

The Tuition Fee Free (TFF) Education Policy in Papua New Guinea was an attempt to meet children's right to free and compulsory education. These sections are a compilation of the PNG Auditor General’s Report on the effectiveness of the management and payments of the Tuition Fee Free subsidy to schools registered under the national education system from 2012 - 2018.

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Performance Audit Report on Tuition Fee Free Education Policy 2012-2018

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Key Findings

Chapter 2: Policy framework, Governance Arrangement and Implementation of the Policy

10. The AGO review found that the implementation of the TFF policy over the years under review (2012-2018) can be divided into two periods. 

Period 1 from 2012 to 2014 and period 2 from 2015 to 2018. During period 1 the TFF policy was implemented before the TFF policy document and Guidelines were developed to guide the implementation of the policy, and there was a lack of management and operational capacity to administer the policy. This was evidenced by gaps in the reports on the management and implementation of the policy for this period.

11. In 2015, a single integrated TFF policy document was developed with Implementation Guidelines which established the TFF Unit within the National Department of Education to administer the policy. 

The TFF policy document and guidelines comprehensively set out the: objective and intended outcomes to be achieved; 
  • the percentage break-up of the payment components; and 
  • procedural and compliance requirements for the implementation of the policy. 
The objectives and intended outcomes of the TFF policy are aligned with the objectives of the broader education plans and legislations, specifically the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Plan (2010–2019) and Education Act 1983 (as amended). 

The TFF policy also aligns with the key government development plans such as Medium Term Development Plans, Vision 2050, PNG Development Strategic Plan and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

12. The TFF policy delineates the roles and responsibilities of each player in the management and implementation of the policy at the national, provincial and district levels.

The key players identified under the TFF policy to manage and implement the policy at the
national, provincial and district levels were not fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. This resulted in a lack of oversight and governance to effectively coordinate, monitor and report on the policy in a timely manner.

13. The 2015 TFF policy document stated that: 40% of TFF funds are for cash administration (to be paid directly to the school account); 30% for infrastructure and capital works (to be paid and held in District Treasury); and 30% for teaching and learning materials (to be paid to the supplier and centrally managed in the regions). 

There was a subsequent NEC decision No.129/2016 made to withhold 15% of the TFF funds component under commodity trust for teaching and learning materials to be procured, supplied and distributed to schools across the country. 

The 2016 NEC decision has been implemented, with the current practice of 15% of TFF funds withheld in a commodity trust account to procure teaching and learning materials for schools and 85% for cash components (directly deposited into schools' bank accounts).

14. Despite these changes to the TFF payment components being implemented, there was a lack of clear directives or communication from the TFF Grant Management Team and
education authorities advising schools on this change, and the 2015 TFF policy has not been
updated. This led to many schools visited by the AGO raising common concerns thinking that the 30 percent TFF infrastructure component was paid to the District Treasury, while in practice there was no TFF funds paid to the District Treasury. 

With this common misconception, there needs to be clear communication from the National Department of Education clarifying the current TFF payment percentages paid to schools. 

Amendments to the policy documents are also needed as a matter of urgency to reflect the way TFF funds components are divided, managed and paid to schools.

Free education policy in PNG - Free Education Policy Framework, Governance Arrangement and Policy Implementation Policy

Content layout

Executive Summary and Recommendations


Overall Audit Conclusions and Key Findings

Recommendations & NDoE Responses


  • Recent changes to the TFF policy
  • Audit rational
  • Audit objective and criteria
  • Audit scope and methodology
  • Previous audit coverage


  • Background
  • Applicable legislation and national education plans/policies
  • Alignment of TFF policy to broader education plans and legislation
  • TFF Policy implementation
  • Governance and management arrangements
  • Conclusion


  • School data collection and verification
  • Data management system and enrolment data validation and TFF calculations process
  • Financial management approval process and payments of TFF funds to schools 33
  • Timely payments of TFF funds and impacts on schools
  • TFF funds used to pay for administration expenses
  • Commodity components- Teaching and Learning Materials
  • Approval to withdraw TFF funds at the Provincial level
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation 3
  • Recommendation 4
  • Recommendation 5
  • Recommendation 6
  • Recommendation 7


  • Background
  • Monitoring arrangements and framework
  • Reporting and acquittals of TFF funds
  • Performance measurement and evaluation
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation 8


Recommendation 9


Performance Audit Report on Tuition Fee Free Education Policy 2012-2018

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