Showing posts with label NDoE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NDoE. Show all posts

2015 Tuition Fee Free: Is K605 Million Enough To Complete the Academic Year?



I thought I should clarify some points following my previous post on conflicting information from National Department of Education (NDoE) and schools about project fees for this year. The minister for education and secretary has given a ministerial directive to parents NOT to pay any project fee:

''Schools that impose projects fees on students will not receive their component of the ‘Tuition Free Fee’ (TFF) from the Government.

That was the message from Education Minister Nick Kuman at a media conference today in Port Moresby.

Kuman said project fees should not be imposed as the government was paying the fees of students to attend schools.

He said a circular will be issued  by the Department Secretary to all the schools around the country not to collect project fees.

“Every child is supported by the Government and schools have no choice but to allow them into the classroom.

“Any school that imposes project fees will not be given TFF,” said Kuman.
Education Secretary Michael Tapo said the first component of school fees will be made available in the first two weeks when schools resume this year.

K605 million has been allocated for TFF around the country, with half of that to be paid first.

PNG Loop [19/01/2025]

However, some schools in the country fearing Tuition Fees delay have gone ahead and charged project fees to get started. Local media reports revealed that schools in Bougainville and Morobe have decided to do that. This has resulted is stern warning from NDoE’s recent circular:

''To all Parents and Citizens in Papua New Guinea whom your children are attending Elementary, Primary, Secondary, National High Schools, Vocational centres, Flexible Open and Distance Education and Special Education schools : 

You MUST REPORT IMMEDIATELY to your Regional Directors if you are charged any PROJECT FEES in 2015 academic year, below are the names and contacts of the Regional Directors and their Digicel hotline:

SOUTHERN Paul Ainui 72228304. 
HIGHLANDS. Aloysius Rema 72228266. 
MOMASE Joseph Moide 72228273. 
NGI Henry Vainak 72228280.

National Newspaper. [12/02/2015]

It is ominous that schools will have to refrain from charging any fee. Schools that have incomplete projects or are planning projects are going to have to face the reality. The big question now is whether K605 million is enough to get every school through the end of the year. 

Is this money (K605 million) enough? Take a look at this conservative estimate: if the students’ population is 1 million, that would mean that the government is paying only K605 school fee for every child. If the population is 500 000, then the government is paying K1210 per child. This estimate gives you a perception of what a child would have paid this year, though the fees are different in every school.  

School principals and head teachers - especially those that have incomplete projects (or are planning one) - will have to either beg their provincial governments for funding or use portion of TFF to realise fruit of their project. I am being sceptical but are parents likely to see schools closing prematurely before the year ends?

I am of the view that project fee is an 'access fee' that schools add on to annual school fee and passed onto parents to pay. This is only done when there is need for a school project: for example building new teachers' house, running agricultural or practical skills project, etc.

If NDoE is serious about this directive why don't they make it clear in 2012 when TFF policy started? Many schools collected project fees in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Why the change this year? Does this mean the government has allocation takes into consideration project fees? How did they work that out? What is the actual student population? How much is the government paying per child attending Elementary, Primary, Secondary, NHS, Vocational centres, FODE and Special Education schools?

Another point worth mentioning is the decentralised education system. Provinces like the Autonomous region of Bougainville and Morobe have some powers over internal affairs of their education system. This means that Provincial Education Authorities are in control over teachers' salary, leave fares and Project Fees among others.

Perhaps it is important to note that most of the funding comes from the national government. In regard to project fee directive, the national department for education stand is clear. Every stakeholder must obey.

Yes, schools must obey the directive. But, NDoE is not clear on the composition of the tuition fee. Everybody presumes that the fee covers everything. I would be convinced if the education officials and minister give a break-down of a student's school fee for this year. 

Instead of sending out one circular after another, they would do well if they had indicated how much the government was paying per child and what percentage of the school's fee was meant for project.

Misunderstanding Clarified: Project Fees, By Definition, Not Covered Under Tuition Fee Free Policy

There is complete chaos because of misunderstanding. Senior education officials at Waigani and the minister do not know what the word mean or what Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy was meant for. 

Tuition is often used in connection with 'instruction'. TFF policy would rightly refer to fee the government pays to school to provide a comfortable student learning experience. Tuition Fee  is for funding of staff and up-kept of facilities, including maintaining day to day running of school. 

For example, ancillary staff members are needed to keep schools running. Therefore their wages/salaries are covered in TFF policy. 


However, project fee does not fall under this policy. Project Fee is to be agreed by school board and approved by Provincial Education Board. The NDoE secretary and education minister do not have much say whether it should be either charged or not

In order words, school would continue if a project isn't carried out. But, test would be affected if the typist didn't turn up or A4 papers ran out. Whatever is necessary for daily/weekly/monthly up-kept of school is catered for under TFF. Whatever is not remains the prerogative of the school, school board, parents and PEB. 

Education secretary and the minister can talk about 'not' charging project fee if they are running a school. They are not running schools. In fact, both are running a department  - the National Department of Education. They must refrain from (or withdraw) the directive given about non-payment of Project Fees and let schools decide.


Ganim Report: National Department of Education and Teachers' Service Commission Need Proactive Leaders To Effect GR Recommendations

Commentary 

TSC Chairman, Mr Baran Sori, and NDoE secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, must be suspended for incompetency. Why a report - the Ganim Report - sanctioned by the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education and conducted between March and April last year failed  on its 'Initial Findings'? 

As reported (in Post Courier) Ganim report was a working progress, but given that these leaders in Education are committee members, you would have thought last year should have ended well for teachers. They have seen the findings, they made submissions to PRCE, yet why have teachers not given 2014 leave entitlements?

The heads of education in the country are as dumb as any provincial education authorities and past and current education ministers. A bad combination!

PNGTA is planning court action. If a nationwide strike by teachers stops 2015 academic year, heads must roll. 

Get someone new to effect the recommendation of Ganim report. 

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PC report
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TEACHER woes in the country is no "overnight" problem which all 48,000 teachers in the country must first understand and bear with before help and long term solutions can be sought, Chairman of Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education (PRCE) and Wabag Open MP, Robert Ganim has said.

As such, he urged all teachers to refrain from any sort of industrial actions that could jeopardize the start of 2015 school year which millions of school children could be affected unfairly.

Mr. Ganim who led a PRCE nationwide investigation into the issues of teachers in the country between March and April last year said details of his findings (Ganim Report or GR) were presented to Parliament in its August 26 session.

Parliament adopted the GR and resolved that the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and the Department of Education (DoE) undertake the recommendations and report back to Parliament within three (3) months.

Pic courtesy: Post Courier - Cyril Gare file pic 
TSC Chairman, Mr. Baran Sori flanked by his Commissioners was addressing the PRCE Committee at the Parliament B2 Conference room on April 10, 2014 during the nationwide investigation into teachers’ issues. Cyril Gare file pic.

Upon which, a combined approach was taken by the TSC and DoE between September and November last year through the establishment of a Working Committee (WC) comprising TSC Chairman, Baran Sori as Chairman, Dr. Uke Kombra, Mr. Titus Romano Hatagen, PNG Teachers’ Association General Secretary, Mr. Ugwalabu Mowana, and Fr. Paul Jennings.

The WC undertook the recommendations of Parliament which resulted in a detail Report that is ready to be presented to PRCE Chairman Ganim who then will present to Parliament for adaptation when it resumes on February 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm.

The WC Report provides specific policy directions, identifies strategic outcomes, provides general guidelines in implementing these policy directions, set out the monitoring and evaluation framework, and provides costing – about K26 million - for its implementation over a five (5) year period (2015-2019).

According to the WC, the Government has work to do - in the long term - in addressing the teachers’ problems in these key areas:

 Review functions of Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and Department of Education (DoE);

 Review and define teachers’ salaries and allowances;

 Review the teacher appointment process;

 Review the tenure appointment process;

 Review salaries and entitlements of teachers;

 Decentralize ALESCO pay system to provincial education authorities;

 Adopt an effective and efficient teacher leave fare management;

 Create a leave fare data base;

 Make TSC assumes financial autonomy as a separate entity of State;

 Review process of retrenchment, retirement and resignation of teachers;

 Establish a centralised teachers’ information database; and

Provide manpower and capacity development for teachers.

K1 Million for Marking Grade 12 Examination Papers: Consultants, NDoE and MSU To Give Back To PNG Government Factual Stats

Papua New Guinea’s National Department of Education (NDoE) and Measurement Service Unit (MSU) should look forward to this month, just like Grade 12 teachers and principals would at this time. Every school representative gathers in the capital city for marking Grade 12 examination papers.

Coming to Port Moresby is icing on the cake for many teachers. They have ‘slaved’ away in classrooms during the years preparing students for further education. What better way to start an early Christmas holiday with the visit to nation’s capital, a nice room in one of the expensive hotels and some spare coins from NDoE. Well deserved!

Principals and school Board of Governors are anticipating tip-off from select markers on how well their students are performing.

Take a look at how much one province spent on marking of Grade 10 exam papers. Morobe Provincial Government allocated K20 000 for Grade 10 marking which was exhausted before completion of marking. Apparently, marking resumed after two days.

A senior marker said (see EMTV NEWS report) K30 000 was needed to complete the marking without any hindrance. He cautioned that due to additional papers from newly introduced subjects mean increase funding - a total funding to a tune of K50 000 was sufficient to cover all costs. 

Obviously, marking of Grade 12 papers would require more money. So, how much would this cost the government? No one knows how much NDoE is planning to spend on this exercise to this date.

NDoE will bring teachers to Port Moresby (how many teachers are involved in the marking?); NDoE must provide accommodation (where are markers living and what is the rate per night?); NDoE must feed the markers (how much does it cost per meal?); Logistics have to be provided (who provides it and how much does it cost?)

One province put the estimated at K50 000. Think 22 provinces, it could probably cost PNG government more than K1 000 000.

Is there anything ELSE the department, including its subsidiaries, can get out from the teachers? The answer is YES. Instead of depending on data given to the department (or use consultants to go out to each province to collect data),  NDoE could use this opportunity to gather vital data.

By doing this, NDoE can use this data to avoid discrepancies by comparing them against the data from schools. This idea could also save time, effort, resource and money. 

Why not collect much needed data whilst representatives from every secondary and national high school in the country is in Port Moresby? This is a good time to confirm the number of students given to NDoE. It is the right time to find out if 21 430 Grade 12 students are actually doing the exams.

I showed irregularities in data presented by the education secretary where shocking discrepancies were highlighted when education officials accept data from schools. They should have their own research done - collated and confirmed - before advising government on development agendas in education.

5 data NDoE can CONFIRM from teachers at marking venue:

1) Total number students in each school
2) Total number of teachers in each school
3) Total Number of Students Intake from primary schools doing Grade 9 in 2015
4) Total Number of Grade 12 students passing out
5) Number of students sitting for each subject

Education consultants,  NDoE and MSU can collect a whole lot of other data it needs when teachers and principals are in Port Moresby. Give to the government what the it can use to better plan for the future.


http://www.unesco.org/education

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PNG NDoE will work on a new 10-year plan, the National Education Plan 2015 - 2024. This will be the topic of my next post.