Showing posts with label PNG Secondary Education 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PNG Secondary Education 2014. Show all posts

Educators trained on new curriculum | Too much politics, too much talk, nothing done, Dr Michael Tapo PNG Education Secretary

Post Courier report 12/11/2014 

EDUCATORS attending a week long training on standards-based education in Port Moresby have been told to work with the education hierarchy to implement government policies.

Education Secretary Michael Tapo made this clear when addressing education trainers on Monday

Speaking about a variety of issues within the education sector, the secretary told participants, especially provincial education officers, to work with him to implement policies.

"There is too much talking and nothing done. There is too much politics, too much talk."
He told educators not to blame setbacks on the unavailability of money but blame their own attitude and negligence.

The secretary was among other officers from the Education Department’s curriculum section who spoke to trainers from provinces about the purpose of the training and about their roles and responsibilities of training teachers about standards-based education or curriculum.

Standards-based education is all about improving education standards in schools. These come in the form of teacher preparations and professional development, examinations, inspections, school governance and restructuring of school system and structures. These are just some of the many components that will be improved by a standards-based curriculum.

Despite this training, there are also public concerns that the trainings are late as holidays are approaching and teachers may not have time to be fully-equipped on time for the new curriculum to be implemented in the 2015 academic year, beginning at the elementary level.

The education secretary was adamant that this Government policy would be rolled out with all components for the curriculum now being sent out to schools. There are presentations of curriculum documents to schools and stakeholders.

Lae School Fights (iv): Principals Face Dismissal If Schools’ Performance Does Not Improve

The UK government plans to create a body called regional school commissioners who will have powers to siege control from school identified as ‘failing’ by school inspection body Ofsted. The Independent  newspaper opening headlines read ‘ Government-appointed officials to remove governors and head teachers in failing schools….’ (18/10/2014). Under their control they will send 1500 ‘super teachers’ into struggling classrooms in an effort to boost students’ performance and improve schools’ ranking.

The whole idea was to challenge school governors, principals and deputy principals to pull-their-socks-up.

Lae city schools have senior education officers who have been sitting at the principal’s seats with years of experience. Some even feel as if they are irreplaceable. It is time Morobe Provincial Government comes up with a plan to challenge principals and deputy principals of troubled schools within the city.

This is not only about fighting against schools fights. It is also about improving schools’ academic performance - about improving ranking of Lae city schools.

So, if school governors and admins need motivation it must come from Morobe Provincial Government. The Government must take ownership of the schools in the province and step on the administration toes – show them who is in charge here.

Running a city school is not an easy task. This is clear from the onset, no one can deny it. But, governors and head teachers should be the force that drives a positive change, instead of being complacent. Why occupy a position in the admin when schools academic results are failing? Why doing the same thing over again when it didn’t work the first time?

 In fact, school governance must be based on systematic and workable guidelines - the school policies. Most schools do have all the policies that Education Department wants of them. These policies are cut and paste from national department’s documents with limited or no effect at school level. By this I mean, every school should look at ways to refine their policies to meet their needs.

What must school administrators do to improve school performance?

Drop in the number of Lae secondary school students going to tertiary institutions in successive years showed that there was urgent need to seriously reconsider the way things are done. Take a look at these as examples. Call it Guides For Principals Of All Schools In Lae City.

1.      Selecting Students – Begin With a Good School Culture

I pointed out in my first article one of the ways students join generation groups is determined by the part of city they come from. Targeting feeder schools can be an effective way to create good school atmosphere and stop students fights on the streets.

If negative students’ culture begins at primary school, school admin should re-think the traditional selection process. Instead of accepting students from the mainline schools, they should take students from outside the city.

Take for instance, city secondary schools should offer privileged places for students from remote schools like Menyamya, Wasu, Salamaua, Dregahafen, etc. All the boarding spaces should be awarded to these students with certain conditions attached. If it means expanding boarding space to 70% boarding and 30% day, it must be spearheaded by the Government to see a change.

Day students must also have conditions attested to their spaces. For example, parents must be from the working class or earning a certain amount of money in wage or salary, students must be living with a parent/s, students must be dropped off and picked up etc.

These are hints and examples for controlling enrolment and ensuring quality of students are maintained during selection of students.

(*Principals, you cannot stop students when they are fighting and killing each other at Eriku but you can stop it from happening)

2.      School Behaviour Policy – the code of conduct

This policy governs students’ ethos in classroom and around school. It is the code of conduct. They must be taught the requirements of being a student in a city school on day one: uniform, appearance, conduct, respect for teachers, respect for fellow students, respect for the public, etc.

The reason why a policy on code of conduct is important is that it neutralises bad behaviour students may have inherited from outside. When students come into a school they MUST pick up the school’s way of doing things, practice it and perfect it before they leave. This is how school influence students and prepare them to face the World.

One way to effectively implement such policy is to actually police it. That means that principals should know how to monitor students; they should know how to stop bad behaviour repeating; they should also know how to stop bad behaviour from spreading.

If it means doing random blood test on students to check for presence of illegal substance, by all means, school must do it. If it means suspending 25 students for the sake of 100, principals must take this bold step.

Perhaps the most important thing is to monitor, curtail and contain bad behaviour within schools.

(*Principals, you can create a way to neutralise bad students’ behaviour by putting in place a clear code where every student can follow from day one).

3.      School Disciplinary Policy – The Penalty

Disciplinary policy edges on the action school administration (including BoG) takes when a student has bridged School Behaviour Policy. This outlines what penalty one would have faced.

I clearly outline the step in taking disciplinary action in my third article and mentioned termination should always be considered as the last resort. Every opportunity has to be given to correct bad behaviours before this final action is taken.

In regards to Lae schools, a clear message has to go out to parents. They have to be made to sign a declaration to protect their child/ren. This means that parents have to agree with school’s code of conduct (School Behaviour Policy). By doing this parents agree to let school monitor and correct any behaviour contrary to schools' best practice.

END: Board of Governors and school administrators in Lae city schools MUST think about how to improve their school’s performance. Start fighting bad student behaviours. Create workable school policies to encourage good behaviour. This is a big challenge for all the principals and deputy principals in Lae city schools.


I will give a summary of articles (i) - (iv) in my final post. 

Lae School Fights III: Fighting Bad Habits Vs Fighting Bad Students

This is part III of Fight Against School Fights series. 

The article is about identifying and dealing with students’ bad behaviour in schools. Many school administrators do fear students’ reprisal when dealing with students. 

Fear lingers mainly because admins and school boards tend to fight students instead of their behaviours. Students' way of doing things against guided principles - negative students culture -  when not monitored and corrected can lead to other chronic bad behaviours. The key word is chronic as such is contagious and spreads among students. 

But, how does a one-off bad act becomes chronic? I will discuss how to correct one bad act and contain it before it established tentacles among students. 

Below are five ambiguous areas where school administrators can exploit to contain bad students’ habits effectively.

Adapted: EMTV 

I am going to use the words act, habit and character. To make readers understand them, I am putting them into context below.

Plant a thought, reap an act

Plant the act, reap a habit

Plant the habit, reap a character

The character determines a destination

1.      Discipline Vs Behaviour

Discipline is about moulding students’ behaviour. It is not the end, it is always the beginning of a process. Every student who enters a classroom whether they are from the street, village, middle class or upper class has to be seen equal by teachers and school admin.

Educators often identify students’ abilities by academic capabilities (bright and not-so-bright), leadership roles and behaviour. What is important here is the fact that regardless of the student, school has a responsibility to develop every student to live a happy and fulfilling life – many call it the integral development.

Schools are there as institutions for moulding and shaping minds and hearts of young people,  hence systemic discipline is a vital element.

2.      Home Discipline Vs School Discipline

Many have a preconceived idea that discipline starts at home. A line must be drawn between discipline at home and at school. Discipline always starts at home. This is true for those who have decent family upbringing where parents are there to drill into their children good habits.

Starting to learn about the world at home is always effective (for sure) and that is where discipline starts by default. But, this can be a ‘dead argument’ for students who do not have a place call home. What about student living with 'wantoks, or students from broken and violent homes? And what about students who have good homes, but are influenced by peers on the streets?

As long as students are in the school, school takes responsibility on all matters pertaining to shaping good habits. School as learning institution must instil good attitude in young men and women. School has the ultimate duty to ensure this happens.

Classroom is WHERE a parentless child sits with the privileged. School is where a violent dad does not exist for the day. School and classroom are neutral grounds where character-shaping can take place unobstructed.

3.      Protecting Students

Welfare of every student and teacher within school precinct take precedence. More often many school administrators concentrate on fixing fault instead of proactively building barrier to prevent it.

By this I mean school admin and BoG often overlook a few ‘rotten apples’ in school. That does not means those students are rotten. It is their way of acting contrary to school’s norm and ethos that is rotten.

In order to protect the integrity of school and majority of students who are good, those behaviours have to be clearly IDENTIFIED, MARKED and DEALT with.

4.      Targeting Behaviour Vs Targeting students

I mentioned the difference briefly above. Most school administrators and BoG often target students instead of their behaviour. This is where the problem is!

Bad habits, actions and behaviours are always common year on year in every school. This can be an effective way to discover students because you never tell from students names. Having an idea about bad habits, bad actions and bad behaviours can help to solve students’ behavioural issues forehand.

The point here is to fight the actions and behaviours that are bad, instead of fighting with students. If it means revising school disciplinary policy, by all means, do it!

5.      Discipline Within Classroom Vs Discipline Within School

This is a major challenge for Lae city schools. This is where classroom/subject teachers, class patrons, deputy principals and principals are pivotal in application of discipline.

In behaviour management, there has to be clear communication all throughout the process. Communication with student and parents is the key; starting with verbal warning, referral to deputy principal, punishment, warning letter to parents, facing BoG, etc. Expulsion/termination should ever be considered as the last resort.

Discipline is always the start, not the end. Applying discipline is about reinforcing good habits, getting students into a good school culture and ensuring prudent behaviour exits the first time, every time.

END: Following a clearly outlined disciplinary process is the best way to control and contain bad habit before it takes stronghold in students.

In my next post I will undertake to concentrate on principals and deputy principals as the pillars of discipline and what they should do to foster good school culture ....

School Fights: Secretary For Education Concern and the Action He Never Took

Dr. Michael F Tapo’s skilfully identified two important powers within school that remain inactive when discussing school fights in Papua New Guinea Schools, including Lae Schools: the School Admin and School Board.

He correctly stated that:

“School administrations must establish a good working relationship with different authorities in the province and communities to minimize the disciplinary problems going on in schools especially school fights,” [Press Release]

They have to remain open-minded. That means every provincial education authority has to work together as a unit from school principals and board to provincial education adviser (PEA) and provincial education board (PEB).

The secretary for education has to do something if he is genuine about the concern he raised. He is not an ordinary citizen, nor is he a classroom teacher. He is the secretary! He has got to either have a plan or consult with affected schools on the best way to address schools fights.

The secretary’s ineptitude would be obvious if he had not done anything. 

This is a huge fight and it has to be fought strategically - a challenge that needs practical solution. To be successful, careful planning is needed before any action.

If he is truly concerned about school fights, he has got to have a plan of action to help school admin and board of governors; he must make his concern heard. It would be incompetent to have released a press statement without strategic plan.  

Loujaya Toni's Take on School Fights in Lae

She calls on all Morobe MPs (as Minister for Community Development) to form a committee. She thinks the committee should work together to create after-school activities to keep students occupied. I think that is a great call, but it remains just a political view now.

She must take the lead, from here, as the member for Lae and the person making the call.



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