Showing posts with label National Department of Education PNG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Department of Education PNG. Show all posts

Papua New Guinea Education System: A System Battered Since Tuition Free Policy, No Plan Of Action

The National Department of Education has seen many changes. Dr Joseph Pagalio, Dr Musawe Sinebare and Dr Michael Tapo were at the helm and saw the changes through. They can attest to the fact changes are not bad.

But it is ominous PNG’s education system is undergoing four changes since Tuition Free Fee policy was introduced without clear guidelines. This is a recipe for disaster. It is better to avoid repeating mistakes encountered when implementing Outcome Based Education (OBE). This is a generational change. It must be thought through properly.

Lack of planning was obvious before school started. First, Papua New Guinea did not have a 10 year education plan to date. National Education Plan 2005 – 2014 (NEP 2005 – 2014) lapsed last year. If there was a committee working on it, why was it not out?

A 10-year plan is crucial. It puts in perspective a working plan for all stakeholders to follow. It would be better if NEP 2015 – 2024 was made available to everyone sooner rather than later.

The second change is the change is structure, Two-Six-Six: two years of elementary school, six years of primary school and six years of secondary school. I highlighted differences between new and old structures in an earlier post.

The education system is expecting a structural readjustment – just how this will happen is as important as when it will happen. The education minister mentioned that structural change will take effect next year, 2016. However, it would be better if he stated how NDoE would roll it out nationwide.

The third change is the change is curriculum. Make no mistake, reverting to Standard Based Curriculum (from Outcome Based Curriculum) is change in educational curriculum. It is about changing educational instruction – the way works is done. So, what kind of instruction is changing? What unit (or topic, or objective, etc.) is changing? What makes it different to OBE? How can stakeholders, including teachers, compare and contrast OBE to SBE? It is better to give answers to those questions to clarify misunderstanding, is it not?

The final change that needs taking place is implementation of 12 recommendations made by Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education (PRCE) on teachers’ welfare.  Ganim report cannot be left to gather dust. The education minister has to table this report. Parliament must deliberate on it findings. There is never a better time to hear our teachers’ cries than now.

All in all, since the government’s Tuition Free Fee policy started, the education system has got its fair share of battering. It is time to put in motion a clear plan of action and reward our teachers properly.

Education Minister Table Ganim Report, Parliament Must Act on the 12 Recommendations: Why Neglecting Teachers?

Hon Robert Ganim Chariman PRCE | Inset Education Minister Hon Nick Kuman
The Ganim report is what teachers have been waiting for. It has been completed by a committee sanctioned by the national government called the parliamentary referral committed on Education (PRCE). The working committee (WC) was headed my member for Wabag Robert Ganim, a long time educationist. This report was conducted between March-April 2014. It is gathering dust for 10 MONTHS. His frustration is obvious: why hadn’t the education minister table the report in Parliament?

Here is the report from Post Courier newspaper: ''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:  
  1. Review functions of Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and Department of Education (DoE);  
  2. Review and define teachers’ salaries and allowances;  
  3. Review the teacher appointment process;  
  4. Review the tenure appointment process;  
  5. Review salaries and entitlements of teachers;  
  6. Decentralize ALESCO pay system to provincial education authorities;  
  7. Adopt an effective and efficient teacher leave fare management;  
  8. Create a leave fare data base;  
  9. Make TSC assumes financial autonomy as a separate entity of State;   
  10. Review process of retrenchment, retirement and resignation of teachers;  
  11. Establish a centralised teachers’ information database; and 
  12. Provide manpower and capacity development for teachers.''

Hon Robert Ganim expected the education minister Hon Nick Kuman to table this report in parliament during February sitting. No attempt was made to deliberate on the 12 recommendations by the WC.

Many teachers will see this as a 'slap in the face' as far as their remuneration and welfare is concerned. Right now, the education department is pushing forward with many changes in both structure and curriculum.

These changes are mounting pressure on teachers to not only implement, but also perform under trying conditions. The report cannot come at a better time than now. So, why are the 'very' people who are supposed to implement the policy neglected for a long time? Why are their welfare ignored? 

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.

SBE Awareness: English Only - Elementary Schools To Start With Teaching Phonics, Handwriting Ignored Part Two

Commentary - The Education Secretary talked about increasing time allocation to subjects taught at elementary schools. It is achievable if courses taught in Outcome Based Curriculum are slashed, giving enough time to add to Mathematics, for example. The core subjects to be taught at Elementary schools are Language, Mathematics, English and Culture and Community. 

The idea of scripted teachers' lesson plans is ideal during the introduction of SBE. It must be done properly and in detail rather than a brushed work.

Scripted plans must be complimented with worksheets or teaching aids. If the resources are missing, lessons plans are likely to have little or no use.

I like the way Dr Micheal Tapo explained teaching of phonics, though there is not enough detail. How can elementary teachers teach spelling or reading with emphasis on Phonics? Two common  ways to teach early-years pupils 'how' to sound words are either by learning the sound of letters before sounding words; and or memorising sight words. Put together and phonics make sense. 

FOr example, the 'consonant sounds' and 'vowel sounds' have to be taught at stages. By this I mean instead of learning A, B, C, D, E, F, ....X, Y, Z it would be better to sound them as Aaa, baa, caa, dee, eee, faa, gaa..... Xaa, Yaa, Zaa with the emphasis placed on Aaa, Eee, Iii, Ooo and Uuu. 

These are the basic sounds when reinforced properly at an earlier age, established correct pronunciation, eloquence and accentuation. This 'standard' if developed properly and taught rigorously, like in the days our forefathers, will see great results in students' ability to speak, read, write and use proper English.

What I can be critical about is the emphasis on 'writing'. Writing is a skill. It must be developed properly at Elementary school. But, why is not prescribed alongside Phonics?
The NDoE needs to improve on their ability to clearly set out how to teach Handwriting. This is important and must be part of early years learning. I hope the secretary can take this into consideration. 

Another oversight is the assumption that elementary teachers have teaching aid like mobile phones. The NDoE thinks that they can provide teaching resources in SD cards for teachers to use. Using mobile phones as teaching aid has limitations though the intention is good. Some limitations include battery longevity, visibility, audibility and other practical aspects within classroom setting. 

I am for the Standard Based Education. I want to see it taking off. Despite that, I am of the opinion that the change is far from creating an Education revolution in the country. Not because it is a bad idea. It is simply not prepared well - the change must be smart, sharp and efficient.  

I am afraid after 22 years of Outcome Based Education and scrapping of it, Papua New Guinea is likely to have gone down the same path with SBE as far as preparation, awareness and implementation is concerned. 

Read Page 2 of secretary release in line with commentaries in Part One and Part Two (above)


Increase in time allocation

There will also be an increase in the time allocation for teaching of English, language and mathematics. The new time allocation for English is 300 minutes per week and for language it is 300 minutes per week while mathematics has increased from 210 minutes per week to 240 minutes per week, an increase of 30 minutes at the elementary level.

Use of phonics

In the first 10 weeks of the first term (Term 1) in 2015, every elementary pupil will be taught reading and spelling using phonics, a method based on the sounds of letters, groups of letters and syllables.

Elementary pupils will also be prompted to read books that the World Bank-backed READ PNG project has provided for classroom libraries so that every pupil is encouraged to read from the beginning of their school life. 

The DOE has produced new curriculum documents in preparation for the teaching of the elementary SBC in 2015. In OBC, elementary teachers were given samples of big lesson books and asked to develop their own lessons using the language of instruction. Hence, teachers spent too much time developing resources and very little time on high-quality lesson delivery, resulting in poor education at the elementary level.

The DOE’s Curriculum Development and Assessment Division (CDAD) has produced scripted lessons and teacher guides:

• English scripted lessons;
• Mathematics scripted lessons;
• Language scripted lessons; and
• Culture and community teacher guide.

In the SBC scripted lessons, detailed lessons in English have been written by the curriculum writers at CDAD for each elementary subject. What the elementary teacher has to do is simply pick up the lesson plan for each period and teach. 

The teacher will spend less time preparing lessons and consequently will spend more high-quality time with the elementary pupils in the teaching and learning activities. Other resources will also be provided to each elementary teacher and class for effective teaching throughout the year. 

The DOE has re-introduced Shell Books to be used together with School Journals to encourage elementary pupils to learn to read English books at an early age. These are produced by the DOE. Shell books are small readers containing stories, with pictures, from Papua New Guinea. They are written in English and Tok Pisin, with space for teachers to translate the stories into their own languages and with questions for the children. 

These books complement the English and language teaching and can support culture and community and mathematics teaching at the elementary level. There are also DVDs containing dramas, songs and music. There are also SD cards for mobile phones containing songs to accompany elementary scripted lessons so teaching and learning become playful and fun, in order to allow elementary pupils to enjoy their lessons. 

The DOE believes that all elementary teachers have private mobiles phones with slots for SD cards, to be used during lessons as his/her teaching aid. In our next editorial we will elaborate on other resources to support and complement the syllabuses.

Dr. Michael F. Tapo, EdD

Secretary for Education

Standard Based Education Awareness: Analysis of Secretary's Statement On SBE Part One

Commentary - 
Papua New Guinea NDoE secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, promised to update parents, elementary school teachers and the country about developments in Standard Based Education is a step forward. In a first of a series, he has released in a three-page pdf document outlining what is likely to happen and what teachers can do to kick-start teaching. His commitment to 'outline issues and developments twice a week' should be commended.

All elementary school teachers are to check the department's website, as they are checking their bank balance every fortnight, to see whether there is an increment in their pay or any new resource for use when teaching.

Be aware that this change is the start of a complete overhaul in the Education System. A new curriculum (the secretary called Standard Based Curriculum) as well as a new Education Structure (Two-Six-six) are now taking effect, starting at elementary. Eventually Papua New Guineans will have realised 14 years of Elementary to Secondary education, instead of 12 years like in the 2-6-4 structure.

In is reassuring to know that lesson plans have been drafted as guides for teachers at the elementary schools to use. Any experience teacher can attest to the fact that a plan created by someone is helpful, but can not be used strictly in classroom by every teacher.  

As the new trend in our education system is taking effect now, 2015. I am afraid the change takes place with minimal preparation. For the changes - both curriculum and structure - to be successful there has to be proper research and guides.

At the moment we are seeing it developed in parts. It is like, building a house without a plan. 

Here is the NDoE press first release:

The Department of Education (DOE) is now embarking on improving the standards of education from 2015 onwards. This means that standards in the school curriculum, teacher preparation and professional development, examinations, inspections, school governance and restructuring of the school system and structures are some of the many components of education which will be improved by a Standards-Based Curriculum (SBC). 

The department will be outlining here SBC issues and developments twice a week to make the public and teachers aware of the changes.

Various means will be used to improve the awareness of the SBC to be implemented in 2015, including

• Minister for Education and Secretary for Education speeches and presentations;
• DOE officers giving presentations to schools and other stakeholders;
• Presentation of SBC documents to schools and other stakeholders; and
• In-service training of all elementary and junior primary school teachers (Grades 3 and 4)

Structure of School System 

The Government has embarked on free and compulsory education in 2015 and the level of resources will need to complement the school structure to enhance the standards of education and to keep the children in school.

• Two years of Early Childhood Education;
• 6 years of Primary education — Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5 and Grade 6 and;
• 6 years of High School/Secondary education — Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12 

Elementary syllabuses

• English 
Elementary teachers will teach English as a subject with the emphasis on teaching phonics through scripted daily lessons. The introduction of English as a subject is to address the low literacy rate in the nation. All teachers will use English as a medium of instruction beginning at this level.

• Language 
This syllabus is important for two reasons. First it will help current elementary teachers to bridge into teaching English. They have been teaching elementary vernacular for many years and the language syllabus will help them to teach English better. Secondly, the elementary pupils will learn English quickly when Language is used to explain different English words or concepts. It is important for the cognitive and literacy skills development of the child, in preparation for reading and writing.

• Mathematics.

• Culture and Community, with science embedded as a subject in this syllabus.

Part two of the commentary will be on use of Phonics in Elementary Schools. 

Papua New Guinea National Education Plan - Has The Education System Failed, Is It Failing?

Department of Education Awareness on SBE (CLICK HERE)
Papua New Guineans and concerned friends who do not have the means to put their child/ren in overseas schools or private schools have to take these 4 points seriously: 

1) National Education Plan 2005 - 2014 has lapsed. A new NEP (the NEP 2015 - 2024) is NOT out this year. Why is the plan - road map for the next 10 years - not out in the public before the school year begins? 

2) Curriculum change (Outcomes Based Education to Standards Based Education) is a system-wide change which takes effect throughout every stage of schooling and it starts now, 2015. The Education Minister and National Department of Education secretary mentioned that this change would take effect regardless of early awareness and preparation. How the change will happen or what is actually changing in still not clear. 

3) Structural Change (2-6-6) – The curriculum change is closely followed by structural adjustment. Unlike curriculum change where it takes effect across the system, the two-six-six structural readjustment is gradual. This means that children starting school this year will be pioneer generation. Instead of spending 12 years in schools (i.e. Elementary Gr 1 -2 , primary Gr 3 - 8  and secondary Gr 9-12, every student starting  school in 2015 will spend 14 years (not 12 years) before reaching University. So, Papua New Guineas who send their kids to start school at age 6 or 7 now have to realise that these kids will be 20 or 21 when they do first year at university, not 18 or 19. So, what is the right age to start school now? Do we want our kids to be 20/21 before entering unis? 

4) Project Fee - schools are directed by the Minister and NDoE not to charge project fees or face disciplinary action. Why now and not 2012, 2013 and 2014? Tuition Free Policy was implemented since 2012. Do the parents get a refund backdated to 2012? Most of them had been paying project fees.

These 4 points show that the Education minister, his secretary, education officials and foreign education consultants are playing around with 'human resource' of PNG. The heads are so disorganised putting parents, principals and teachers placed in precarious situation beginning 2015 school year. There is no clear direction from the top. 

These are changes that will have a big impact in the next 10 years (NEP 2015-2024) and the next 14 years (structural change). The best thing the National Department of Education needs to do is to give CLEAR directive to head teachers about what is expected as far as the changes and NEP are concerned.

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


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. 

PC report
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.

Why Teachers Leave Fare Not Done on Time?

James Marape (former Education Minister) sympathized with teachers and blamed the Education Department for failing to work out 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.  

2022 Teachers 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 the submission of leave entitlements.

 Cheap politics by passing the buck

Obviously, the two ministers are playing cheap politics by passing the buck from the 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 that 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.

Deal with teachers' leave entitlements properly

They should talk about giving hard-working teachers what they deserve. They shouldn't play politics with them. James Marape knows well. This is a problem that occurs year after 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 yours, Mr Minister. Stop the blame game. Do the right thing. Until then, the teachers will have to hope that this year ends well. 


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 to 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 to 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 chronic issues for years but is slowly been addressed by provinces.

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

Former Education Minister James Marape's Statement

The Education Department should process teachers' leave entitlements before the end of an academic year and allow them to go on 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 work out 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 teacher's 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.

OBE Vs SBE | Education Policy Change, English-Only Language of Instruction in 3 Months

Many changes are taking place. For the last 22 years, the elementary years are when local languages were mandatory under the  Outcome Based Education (OBE) Policy. This will change beginning 2015.

Standard Based Education (SBE) is now set for the new academic year. This means that English will be the only form of communication starting at elementary school.

There is no clear indication of any structural reform and what could be done to balance the change. It appears, for now, that PNG expects this policy change in such a very short time without any adjustment to embrace the change. Does it mean SBE will be absorbed into OBE structure? Government, education planners and NDoE assume it will work, but how effective can it be? The last thing Papua New Guinea wants is another failed education policy.

One change that stood out was English to replace Tokples at elementary level. This is a welcoming change. But, has it been properly thought through? Here is my response to a discussion on PNG Teachers' Facebook group.

PNG education planners, policy implementers, NDoE officials, teachers and government must not mix structural reform with curriculum changes. 

Teaching English from Elementary Schools up is policy change. This is one change at the crucial stage of learning - the elementary school. It must be done properly. This, I infer, is the subject of this post. Now, to Rebecca's point: to be able to speak, read and write properly - English syllabus  at elementary (the early years) MUST be directed to improving students ability to speak English, Read in English and write in English. 

Emphasis must be placed accordingly starting with speaking the language as this is the best way to learn it. This can be effectively done by reinforcing use of phonics and sound. For example instead of learning to say A, B, C, D......X, Y, Z elementary teachers can start by introducing tthe consonant and vowel sounds: Aaaa, Baaa, Caaa, Daaa, Eeee, .....Xaaa, Yaaa, Zaaa. These sounds MUST be drilled into young kids. This must be followed by irregular/compound sounds like ay, ow, th, st, mo, kn.... and vowel sounds, aaaa, eee, iiii, oooo, uuu ....

So you see, if the policy has to change - regardless of whether the structure changes or not -  it must be both PRACTICAL and REALISTIC! You cannot just say 'okay we'll start teaching English . It is SBE. That is ridiculous. The change-makers must point out how to do it right the first time. 

Every stakeholder has to have a complete understanding of HOW English as a language can be taught from elementary to secondary schools without compromising on basics ideas that matter in early learning. Don't tell me curriculum is already there. What's there is as good as the results we saw. 

The challenge: if PNG education planners, implementers and govt make change it has to be done at the right stage with the right approach. So, what is the approach, any ideas?

Not much can be done to change the syllabi at at primary and secondary schools. English has been the mode of communication. What needed fundamental changes is the structure of elementary schools syllabus.

If it has to change from local languages (TOKPLES) to English, clear pathway has to be set to ensure every elementary school child is fully prepared to speak, read and write in English.

Growth, A Challenge Turned - Papua New Guinea National Education Plan

To make progress in a changing world, the education system has to evolve and adapt to social, demographic, technological and other modern changes. Reforming the education system was one way to adapt to these changes.

Papua New Guinea National Education Plan

Papua New Guinea National Education Plan 2005 to 2014 was an important document. It encompassed the development phases of elementary, primary, secondary and technical education in detail. It was a 10-year working plan, thoroughly outlined to guide every stakeholder involved in giving and receiving educational services.

Education department of papua new guinea

The aims and time-frame for achieving each outcome was clearly indicated in a 148-page documentChallenges identified by the working committee have remained the same to this day. 

Why were those challenges not addressed according to the timeline? What made it so difficult? 

Growth, Quality, Financing, Maintainable and Management.

There were (are) 5 main challenges: Growth, Quality, Financing, Maintainable and Management.

Lets start with the first challenge. 

The NEP 2005 - 2014 working committee realised that retention of students population between elementary and secondary schools was challenging. This was recorded in the Situation Analysis report:

….improving retention through the years of basic education; improving the delivery of education services in rural and remote areas; strengthening the vocational education and training sector to support appropriate courses to make better use of partnerships with the private sector and community agencies, and securing adequate government budget support for the reform to manage the enrollment growth. [NEP 2005 – 2014, Situation Analysis pp 21 – 37]. 

PNG Education reform and retention problems

By 2005, the Reform would have been implemented for 12 years. There were two retention problems - students pulling out (those leaving the school at their own will between elementary and secondary school) and students dropping out (those leaving after examination at Grades 8, 10 and 12). Controlling the earlier problem was documented. 

But, the latter was not. The WB and working knew maintaining school attendance was going to be tough. What they didn't foresee was the increase in the number of students who would have actually left at the end of Grades 10 and 12.

Any responsible government would have seen the need to prepare universities and colleges to accommodate students at the end of their examination years. That was where successive PNG governments have failed, and continue to fail their young citizens. 

When is retention likely to improve? Perhaps Papua New Guineans who are supposed to advise successive governments on policy matters failed the people. Maybe the WB could have looked at things differently at the beginning of Education Reform.

National education system cannot sustain a growing population

The fact of the matter is that two decades later, the national education system cannot sustain a growing population. 

The Education Reform created a bottled neck effect. Though insignificant during the early Reform days, this effect has had a big generational impact 22 years later. 

The strain on the system is shocking when only 1 in 5 Grade 12 students makes it to a tertiary institution. 

It is reasonable to maintain a good flow of students from one stage to another. What happens to 80% of young men and women? Why didn't any development take place at the tertiary level?  Apparently, a World Bank [WB] condition restrained any growth at tertiary institutions. This was clearly indicated in a press release from Australian National University

In part, it reads “… The World Bank, for example, in the mid-1990s, was prepared to support only development projects that targeted universal basic education and would not entertain forms of assistance at the tertiary level of education.”

PNG government was bowing to WB. 

Instead of developing the whole system, it created lots of elementary, primary and secondary schools all over the country, without any expansion at the higher level to absorb the output. 

In fact, any chance of growth in higher education was stalled as a direct result of the WB condition given as shown in the ANU report.

After 2 decades of the Reform and the result is there for all to see. There are only 4500 spaces at tertiary institutions today. Of the 21430 Grade 12 students, over 16000 will be ejected from formal tertiary education. This is real, it is frightening. 

I would like to make it clear that this article does not intend to throw the egg on the government, or WB or education officials. It simply questions why government ignore a challenge identified in the National Education Plan 2005 to 2014.



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