Showing posts with label Education Minister 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education Minister 2015. Show all posts

RETENTION: A SHOCKING 96% OF PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS DO NOT MAKE IT TO TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

PNG government and education department would have realised that a large portion of teenagers is missing out on higher education. Stats are indicating a sad situation where over 96% of primary school students are pushed out of the system just 4 years before they could have had a chance to get a tertiary education. 

The point here is not about Grade 12 students entering colleges or universities, but to have a plan for MOST of the Year 8s to get a tertiary education. It is important to take them on board the education train, then to leave them on their own to fend for themselves when it comes to education at such an early age.

The  Acting Education Secretary, Dr Kombra, in a newspaper report revealed that this year 120 000 Grade 8, 59 000 Grade 10 and 23 200 Grade 12 students would be taking national examinations. But, there are fewer than 4500 spaces at tertiary institutions.

Take a look at the table showing numbers of students at grades 8, 10 and 12 compared to spaces available to them after leaving school at the age of 18 years.



Retention is the problem, not drop out: students do drop out at will sometimes but those pushed out are more than those leaving. So, the government has the responsibility to do something- anything it can- to increase spaces at tertiary level. If this trend is left unchecked, government's plan to give younger generation a proper education would not be realised.

Primary and secondary schools (then community and high schools) mushroomed whereas spaces at tertiary institutions remain low since structural changes took place. Number of students entering lower and upper secondary schools increases proportionately, too.

One can also argue that number of students is further growing as a result of government's free education policy. Go back to the village and you'll find youngsters are going back to classroom after years outside. This not a bad thing. The point is where else do they go after they are given this second chance, or what can be done to improve their chance of getting into universities and colleges. 

If the government is really serious about educating the younger generations, it has to start putting its money where the mouth is - increase retention within the system, especially at higher level of education.

This does not mean only creating new institutions if it needs to, but also expanding number of spaces available to students at existing higher learning institutions. This is surely not a lot to ask. Why giving Year 8 students false hope - hope that one day they could be entering a university or college when 96% are bound for the villages or streets?

Any goals in our National education plans, medium or long term, would not be of any meaning if only 4% of 15 and 16 year olds will enter higher learning institutions. It would be BETTER if 96% make it through, wouldn’t it? The onus is now on the government and leaders in education circles to see through the problem and find an immediate solution.  


Justice For PNG Children: Investigation Into K50 Million Stolen By Ghosts In The Education Department – Minister



The minister for education admitted education funds to a tune of K50 million went missing without trace during education leaders meeting in Lae recently. It is ominous though, a very important department has put K605 million (this year, 2015) in its pocket only to have realised K50 million has slipped out a hole.

Is education department on the back foot trying to find out how the hole was created or who created it? No. There is complete silence after education leaders meeting.

So, no news about any investigation would mean such theft is likely to continue? Surely the department has to look for ways to stop losing millions of kina to fraudsters and idiots who keep stealing from the children.

Obviously, people within education system and those outside of it have been able to intercept huge chunk of money easily. Whether they have collaborated at national or provincial levels can only be ascertain if an investigation is conducted.

Any baseless arguments (put forward by senior education officials) that ghost students or ghost teachers or ghost schools are to be blamed are baseless allegations. These allegations can be seen as smear campaigns to divert from catching the thieves, if the ministry of education (NEC included) are mum on this issue.

Papua New Guinea Teachers’ Association wanted the government to find out how the K50 million went missing. Opposition Leaders, Don Polye, clearly mentioned that an independent investigation into missing education funds must be carried out. Same sentiments are equally shared among education leaders as evident in recent media reports.

NEC, having sacked education secretary, must now investigate the missing funds. K50 million is a lot of money. There will be traces to follow to either recoup the money or put a stop to such wastage.

Education department should not make guesses about how funds marked for the children of Papua New Guinea have gone missing. There are no ghosts within the education system.  

What is important is justice for ‘our’ children. Therefore it is rightful to find out how the money went missing – and fix it – and punish those who stole from the poor children. This is the right thing to do.

Non-Payment of Tuition Fees | "Anyone who gets in the way of the delivery of free education will be moved aside..."PNG PM.


THE GOVERNMENT IS PAYING K300 SCHOOL FEE PER CHILD AND EXPECTS SCHOOLS TO CONTINUE TILL ACADEMIC YEAR ENDS?

It is good to see PNG government is responding quickly to the news about schools closure. However, there are certain facts and figures we, as stakeholders, need to bear in mind.

1) The government allocated K605 million to fund Tuition Fee Free education policy. With this funding, schools were directed by both education minister and secretary for National Department of Education not to charge any other fees like the project fees.

2) K605 million has been paid in two instalments: first component (K302.5) for terms one and two, and second K302.5 million for terms three and four. This is supposed to be paid with no strings attached.

3) Reports have indicated that only 70% (K211.75 million) of the first component was paid to receiving schools. The remaining 30% (K90.75 million) was now released to schools according to the Post Courier report below. Why is it released now, when some schools have closed early for term one holiday due to lack of funds? Who is the government blaming? Would schools have closed prematurely if the government released the first component in full?

4) Perhaps this is an important question: 'Are we likely to see schools closing before the end of term two?' I think yes because 70% the first component was not enough to take many schools through to the end of term one. Remaining 30% paid recently was just a drop in the ocean to complete term 2, not sufficient for a term. 

5) All in the good name of the government, this K605 million was not enough. With a national school population of 1.9 million students, the government has planned to pay about K300 school fee per child (that was for the whole year) and expected the schools to continue without closure. 

The PM, Education Minister and NDoE secretary can go dancing to the tune of K605 million for free education, but it trickles down to nothing when you have a students' population near 2 million.  

It was clear that the investigation into any allegation of abuse of TFF funds, commissioned  and talked about by the Chief Secretary of Government, would have to be withdrawn as it  was unlikely to fix the problem. It would only uncover the weak areas and threw mud at the government. 

If the government wants to see smooth flow of academic year, it must either double the TFF subsidy or allow for parents to pay half the school fees and project fees.

It is, also, time to stop the Education Minister and his department secretary from meddling with the affairs of provincial education authorities or school board of management. Let the school BoGs, principals and PEAs do their jobs as they have done before the introduction of TFF (free) education policy.


BY ISAAC NICHOLAS

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has directed that all outstanding school fee subsidies be made direct to individual schools by this week.

He said to facilitate these payments, K90 million was drawn down last Friday to pay the remainder of tuition fee free funding for the first two terms of the current school year.

Mr O’Neill outlined this plan of action that was being delivered alongside the investigation commissioned by Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc that was seeking answers to the possibility of misappropriation of school fees.

He said the investigation included where the unaccounted funds had gone, but of greater urgency the commission would provide details of schools that had been cut short of funds so that they could be paid direct by the Government this week.

"The delivery of tuition free education is a cornerstone policy of our Government and we will not let this be interrupted by incompetence or mismanagement," he said.

"We promised the people of this nation that we would get their children into school and this is what we are doing.

"Anyone who gets in the way of the delivery of free education will be moved aside and we will deliver these school fees for our families.

"I have directed that all schools still awaiting their school fee subsidy will receive this money direct from the Government this week. There is no reason for any school not to open for the new school term.

"Education is a right for all children of Papua New Guinea and our Government will continue to implement reform to ensure our children can attend school regardless of their economic situation."

He said the list of schools that had not received their full funding was being finalised and outstanding money would be released direct to schools in the coming days.

He was responding to reports last week that 13,000 public schools will close in term two due to non-payment of free tuition fee subsidy.

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. 

Education 'Two-Six-Six' Reform to be Implemented in 2016



Education Minister, Nick Kuman today told parliament that the ‘two-six-six’ reform will be fully implemented next year.

The two-six-six reform decrees two years in elementary, six years in primary, and six years in secondary education.

Once the reform is in effect, a child entering the education system will leave the system after 18 years. However, parliament house was told that the department does not have any plans to change the curriculum.

The matter was brought up, in answer to a question raised by Central Province Governor, Kila Haoda.

Governor Haoda wanted to know the status of national high schools; seeing that the introduction of the 'two-six-six' reform would eventuate in national high schools in Papua New Guinea, becoming obsolete. 

Minister Kuman responded, saying that the status of national high schools are to be reviewed, prior to the two-six-six reform being fully implemented in 2016. Before this policy is implemented, all national high schools will retain their school of excellence statuses.

A supplementary question was raised by the member for Anglimp South Waghi, Komun Joe Koim, on whether the government had any plans to introduce a new curriculum, to accompany the reform.

In response, Minister Kuman asked members of parliament to partner with the department to deliver quality education. He said the new policy is to address the increasing number of dropouts each year.

The minister said, this year there were 19,000 grade 12 dropouts, who did not secure places at tertiary institutions.

EMTV report Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 by Michelle Amba, Port Moresby

Provincial Education Advisers and Administrative Officers Are Misusing Teachers' Leave Fares

(former Education Officer in charge of teachers' leave fares in Morobe)

Pic courtesy: Post Courier Newspaper Jan 2015
The teachers leave fares issue has been ongoing matter mostly due to misappropriation by Division of Education heads in all provinces. Funds allocated purposely for leave fares were usually tampered with and diverted to cover up for shortfalls in other votes or items.

I am speaking from experience especially in Morobe where the highest allocation is given. Yet this is forever an issue year in year out. As the person formally in charge of teachers leave fares in Morobe, I can attest that the fault entirely lies with the provincial authorities and financial delegates in form of provincial education advisers and provincial administrative officers.


Every year funds have always allocated with delivery mechanism designed and in place to have all teachers receive their entitlements, but this all seemed on paper only as half of the funds has always been diverted to cover up for excessive travels, hire cars, hotel bills and travel allowances especially by senior officers.

The Department of Education and Teaching Services Commission should also shoulder blame as this is an overdue issue that should have been resolved a long time ago. Policies and TSC Act Section 130 that manages the teachers leave fares is outdated and should be updated with proper delivery mechanism in place that allows paying of leave fare without obstacles. The current delivery mechanism is effective, but needs tighter stringent measures on this funds so there is no diversion and misuse by provincial authorities, means the Finance Management Act also comes into play so this also has to be updated with stringent control on its use.

Morobe Province being the largest with highest number of teachers is a classic example of how funds meant for teachers leave fare has always had funds diverted by the education adviser and his administrative officer. Every year problems faced by teachers in regards to this has always been ignored and repeated the next year without anything being done by higher authorities.

2014 Leave Fare Woes | Former Education Minister Blames Department, Current Minister Blames Teachers - The Solution

Commentary

James Marape (former Education Minister) sympathized with teachers and  blamed the Education Department for failing to workout leave entitlements for teachers on time. He is the Treasury minister and admitted to availability of money - so money is not why teachers have not received their leave fares.  

Nick Kuman, the Education Minister, said teachers and Provincial Education Authority were at fault. Teachers are confused and or ignorant for not submitting their leave application before April. He also lashed out at provincial education officials for not facilitating submission of leave entitlements.

Obviously, the two ministers are playing cheap politics by passing the buck from National Department of Education to PEA and teachers. Are teachers confused and ignorant? Is NDoE  not doing its part? Is  the problem with Provincial Education Authority?

It is ominous politicians are politicians not educationists - they get 5 times as much as teachers. They do not live a teacher's lifestyle and they do not experience a teacher's pain at the end of the year.

They should talk about giving to the hard working teachers what they deserve. They shouldn't play politics with them. James Marape knows well. This is a problem that occurs year on year.

If I was the Education Minister, I would have summoned the Education Secretary, PNGTA president, all (22) Provincial Education Advisers and provincial education officials responsible for dealing with teachers leave entitlements to a round table discussion, and sort this MESS out - once and for all. Sadly, a simple teacher is not a 'talking'  Education Minister.

Over to your, Mr Minister. Stop the blame game. Do the right thing. Until then, the teachers will have to hope that this year ends well. 

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POST COURIER Reports (05 & 06/01/2015)


By NELLIE SETEPANO

EDUCATION Minister Nick Kuman says the issue of leave fares for teachers was caused by mismanagement from the provinces concerned, which is affecting teachers.

He said the Education Department cannot be blamed for not paying teachers leave fares.

"The department does not keep monies for leave fares and leave entitlements," Mr Kuman said.

He said there are some provinces that have not got it right while others have.

The minister explained to the Post-Courier yesterday that since certain government functions were decentralised, provinces now take the responsibility to take care of their own teachers.

The Education Department is responsible for the national functions of schools of excellence, vocational schools and teachers colleges.

The minister emphasised clearly that every teacher eligible for a six week leave (after two years) should apply for leave a year earlier and before the month of April.

This is so that their leave fares and entitlements are catered in a budget for each year.

"I have directed the Education Department to remind teachers of that directive," the minister said.

Mr Kuman said teachers are the last people who should be confused about this directive.

"Educated people such as teachers know about this directive and should not be ignorant," the minister said.

Mr Kuman said some provinces such as Morobe, which have a very large number of teachers, must be managed well by the provincial education authorities and treasury office. Teacher leave fares have been a chronic issues for years but is slowly been addressed by provinces.

Still some provinces fail teachers but the minister said authorities are in current dialogue to address this issue.

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Former Education Minister James Marape's Statement

THE Education Department should process teachers leave entitlements before the end of an academic year and allow for them to go for holidays on time.

This should be done before December, but when Government books are closed Education department cheques are not recognised by the banks.

Finance Minister James Marape raised this concern in a media conference at his Vulupindi office in Port Moresby yesterday.

"We are a Government and we have money all the time to run this country. The delay in teachers leave entitlements is not the Government’s fault nor is it a cash-flow problem in the system as claimed by the Opposition.

"It is caused by the Education Department, which failed to workout teachers entitlements prior to the close of accounts."

He says what happens is when Government accounts are closed in mid December all funds of Government held by state agencies and departments are pulled back into the Department of Finance for the accounts to be tied up therefore obviously there was no money in the education department when the cheques were drawn.

He says, instructions were issued to all agencies and departments to go to finance if they needed to make some emergency payments based on the main 2014 budget and the 2014 supplementary budget as it was the only department in operation during the close of business but the education department failed to follow the instructions.

"It has been a problem for a long time so the education department and other concerned departments and agencies should put their heads together and come up with a system which will work better," he stressed.

"As the former education minister I sympathise with all the teachers out there for the delay and I’m sure the current Education Minister Nick Kuman will get his staff to liaise with concerned agencies and come up with a solution," he said

"We have a whole year to work on the teachers entitlements, you don’t come on December 25 crying for leave pay, teachers should be already in their villages celebrating holidays by then," he said


Meanwhile, Mr Marape says he will issue the first warrant for 2015 next week Monday to officially open government business for the year.