Showing posts with label PNG exams 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PNG exams 2015. Show all posts

Grades 8, 10 and 12 Students in Papua New Guinea Access vs Retention

Grades 8, 10 and 12 students are on a long Christmas Holiday - three months of rest and respite. Some are heading back to the villages, others to towns and cities - but will there be opportunities in the Apprenticeship and Vocational Training sectors for Grades 8, 10 and 12 students in Papua New Guinea?

Apprenticeship and Vocational Training for Grades 8, 10 and 12 students in Papua New Guinea

Whilst the Grades 8, 10 and 12 Students are enjoying their vocations, they are sure to ask two important questions: 
How have I performed in the national examinations?;  and 
Will I be selected to continue to the next level?

PNG Grades 8, 10 and 12 Students Performance in Examinations

The first question can only be ascertained by each student depending on how good they were leading up to the exams. 

Students' performance in exams can be attributed to several factors such as how well they prepared (were prepared) for the exams as well as Nature and Nurture. 

May the best students be given one of the limited places they rightfully deserve.

This brings me to the second question.

Grades 8, 10 and 12 Students Selections 2023


Based on the proportion of tertiary places available this year and the preceding years,  96% of Grades 8, 92% of Grade 10 and 81% of Grade 12 students will NOT make it to a tertiary institution this year. 

By this, I mean only a select few will end up in universities, colleges, vocational centres and other higher learning set-ups. 

Those fortunate enough to continue should be congratulated. 

They have earned the right to proceed. They passed exams - they can enjoy the privileges (pride) and challenges higher educational institutions bring. 

And deservedly, they should hold their heads up and be proud to continue.


High number of Grades 8, 10 and 12 Students pass out

What about the bulk of students who would not have continued? What will they do? 

It saddened me to think that in the first year of formal education, little or nothing is available to those students. 

What can be done now to take them on board the education train?

It is imperative to note that the planned phasing out of examinations at Grades 8 and 10 will NOT improve the number of students entering tertiary institutions. 

It will further decrease the university access rate (ACCESS), but only maintain the number passing through from Grades 8 to 10 to 12 (RETENTION). 

PNG Grades 8, 10 and 12 stats

In 2015, over 120, 000 grade 8 students sat exams. This number as a percentage of 4500 spaces (at tertiary institutions) is 96%. 

In fact, if the government phases out Grades 8 and 10 examinations, about 120,000 to 150,000 students are likely to end up completing Grade 12. 

The problem of retention is addressed, but the problem of access to higher education is not solved. It remains the same. 


Phasing out Grades 8, 10 and 12 Exams

Other factors needed thorough consideration before exams are phased out are the availability of resources, the number of teachers as well as primary and secondary schools' capacity to hold larger student populations. 

This exercise, if goes ahead, will put a huge strain on schools' ability to function.

It was good news to have heard that the Minister of higher education has given out cheques to several universities in the country to expand their capacities. This shows that there is likely to be an increase in spaces at tertiary institutions. 

But, what is the projection - what number are we talking about in 5 - 10 years' time? 

A mere 20,000 spaces would not be enough to suffice the appetite for higher education. 

Technical and vocational schools way forward

For the sake of reasoning,  if we put an estimate that in the next 5 years 150,000 grade 12 students will vie for a tertiary institution space. 

The spaces increased (from the current 4500) to 10, 000 (then to 20,000 in 2023. 

For it to work, the government needs to improve the university/higher education access rate to over 50% of Grade 12 graduating population. The fact now is that this change will make NO difference as far as access is concerned. 

Papua New Guinea will STILL have a Grade 12 drop-put rate of over 90% in the next 5 to 10 years with this change- the same as today! 
Still, there won't be enough university and college spaces to take in the high number of students. That is why there is a NEED to seriously increase the spaces are technical and vocational schools

Exams are the corner-stone of PNG education system

So the public statements about phasing out examination have to be backed by some foresight. By this, I do not mean make examinations history - no. 

The public examination system has to be strengthened - made rigorous. Address the problem of cheating. Empower Measurement Service Division. Or, come up with alternative measures to overhaul and make examination processes tough - challenging. 

The question of catering for those who are dropping out of the formal education system can be addressed by focussing on Internships, apprenticeship schemes and vocational training. 

Meanwhile, here is what I've posted nearly 10 years (2015) ago on the Key To Addressing Skill Shortage and Grades 8, 10 and 12 Pass-outs

Phasing Out Grades 8, 10 and 12 Examinations Must Be Done With Care


Phasing out examinations at Grades 8,10 and 12 can have serious impact on standard of education in the country - it will affect both students' behaviour to learning (study) and teachers' approach to teaching. 

This change (if it happens) will completely revolutionise, for worse or for better, the whole teaching-and-learning process. This change must be done with caution.

It must be done with proper planning and based on proper academic research or a special parliamentary committee findings. I don't think changing the system to meet some UN's Medium Development Goals (MDGs) is the best way. Compulsory education at elementary and primary schools and compulsory education at secondary school have to be differentiated when it comes to discussing educational changes and how each stage is catered for in terms of giving every child the best chance to excel in life.

As learnt from the curriculum change, OBE-1993, a change without clear plan is doomed to fail.Therefore, among the three main changes (Structural change 2016, Curriculum Change 2015, Examination Change) a clear plan must be set in motion prior to implementing it. The details, thereof, must be communicated to all stakeholders so that they also know what is expected, instead of expecting the unexpected.

We (by 'we' I mean the politicians, senior education officials and all stakeholders) must know what is actually changing, and not just about what is changing. So, what is the alternative to phasing out examinations? Will the 'new' assessment style be formal, informal or a bit of both? How will it be carried out and who will be responsible, teachers or Measurement Service Division?

I want to see improvement in the way examinations are conducted, I want to see spaces expanding and more students make it to Grade 12, but phasing-out exams, just,  to let everyone through without a rigorous assessment and or examination system may not be the best thing for our children now and in the future.

Here is what other Papua New Guineans are saying about this change.

CHEATING: EXAMINATION BODY LIKE EDEXCEL, AQA (UK) OR NSW BoS (AUSTRALIA) CAN IMPROVE STANDARD



2015 Legal Studies Paper  Appeared Online Before The Exam. Source: Facebook

Past and present reports have indicated students bought exam papers prior to sitting examinations. Someone along the chain of conducting national examinations (preparing, printing, storing, transporting/storing and taking exams) deliberately leaked them to sell, a serious breach of trust.


Another area where not exam papers, but exam questions are likely to be leaked is during setting (or compiling) exams. Teachers and lecturers (the exam writers) who are usually swept away to set exam questions - are they trustworthy? 

Apparently, possibilities for tempering with these important documents are many. An article here explains where exam papers are stolen, the hotspots.

You may have realised that pinpointing a hotspot is quite complicated. Many people are involved. Education secretaries and ministers have failed to sort out this mess. No wonder it has been happening (and continues to happen) for many years.

2013 and 2014 were worst years of cheating. Many schools in Highlands were alleged to have cheated. Students in Enga and Simbu were left out of selection to tertiary institutions as a result. I remember Enga governor took that matter to court. School boards from two schools in Simbu alleged to have cheated also took the matter to court.

2014 Maths A Leaked Questions Discussed on Facebook
A clear case of cheating happened last year when a teacher admitted to be given 10 Maths A questions prior to Maths  examination. He later found out that those 10 questions appeared in the actual exam, word for word including the diagrams (Here is the link https://goo.gl/z21q9L).


A recent case was also discussed in PNG teachers' Facebook group. This clearly showed legal studies exam paper (screen shot above) was circulated on the morning of Wednesday 21/10/2015.

It is obvious (AGAIN) that papers are already out there  - in students hands - before they are taking the exam this year. What is Measurement Service Division (MSD) doing about it? What can the acting Education Secretary and minister do about this serious problem? 

These examples are not intended to 'rub mud' on those responsible for examinations in the country, but to highlight their ignorance. Though there were widespread instances of cheating in successive years, nothing was DONE to stop it.

Another area exam cheaters are having an easy ride is entry to major institutions like UPNG and UNITECH. Selectors seem to have no 'filter' for identifying cheats. Leaders at tertiary institutions have to stand at the door and identify who enters their institutions. Education leaders who do not want 'rotten apples' in their establishment must play their part.

2015 exams started off with acting Education Secretary giving stern warning after newspapers reported cheating in Grade 10 Written Expression exam. So, what is going to happened when there are instances of exam papers floating around before exams?

The acting Education Secretary must act his words when he said  “If a grade 10 or 12 student is found to have cheated, all the grade 10 or 12 students in the particular  school that the student belongs to will be penalised,” warned Dr Kombra.

His words have no effect if nothing is done. In retrospect, in 2014 Enga governor and school administrators in Simbu fought tooth to nail to have their students considered for certification and selection. They knew it was unjust on other students who did not cheat. Penalising the whole school is 'just over the top'. Are we likely to see the acting secretary's words vaporise into thin air?

Individuals involved in setting examinations to storage and delivery of exam papers are, seriously, jeopardising the whole process. They cannot be trusted any more. The signs are obvious, aren't they? But, we cannot go on blaming students, teachers, invigilators, principals or other individuals. Blaming ' that someone' in the system will not SOLVE the problem. If the education department wants to halt cheating, it has to start thinking outside the box.

Measurement Service Division (formerly Measurement Service Unit and Measurement Service Board) tasked to make examination epitome shrouded in secrecy has failed on its responsibility. This division lacks the ability to safeguard exam papers. It has failed to deliver successful examinations. It has - time and time again - failed the government it is serving. The buck stops with MSD. It, surely, needs to shape up or ship out. 

Prioritising this section of education division (MSD) is the best thing the government can do going forward - give it a fresh look. How can it be done?  Our leaders in politics and education do not have to look further than counties like Australia and UK.

Establish an examination body (an agency) that is independent from and separate of the education department: yet one that is task to improve standard of examination as well as protecting it from tempering. Enable the examination body to employ and place people in strategic (full-time) positions throughout the country to make it work. 

The examination organisation has to be empowered to  perform in all areas of internal assessments and examinations from elementary to secondary schools and tertiary institutions. The body must also be given the ability to collect internal and external assessment data and make informed reports. Overall, it must be a body that focuses on effective and efficient exertion of assessments and examinations, evaluations and reports.

Edexcel and AQA in the UK, and NSW Board of Studies in Australia  are prime examples of such examination agencies. They are separate examining and awarding body focused on maintaining examination standards from setting questions to conducting, marking, evaluating, reporting and awarding merits.

I do not think money is a matter of debate. The government has allocations for exams. Last year it allocated K1 million just for marking alone. MSB is a statutory division of the education department. There is funding allocation for it to function. So, there is no question about lack of funds. What is needed is a bit of foresight and the right human resource to make it work.

Examinations are culminations of years of work from all stakeholders. Why can't PNG have a body capable of delivering successful examinations? 

120 000 Grade 8, 59 000 Grade 10 and 23 200 Grade 12 students To Sit Examinations in 2015

More than 59,000 Grade 10 students in 256 schools will sit for their weeklong School Certificate Examination (SCE) from next week, an official says.

Secretary for Education Dr Uke Kombra said: “We have reduced the national examined subjects from 12 to seven as of this year.

“The other subjects will still be assessed and results will be based on the internal assessment.”

He said the subjects examined are English, mathematics, social science, science, personal development and two optional subjects.

The examinations will be conducted from Oct 12 to 16.

Kombra said preparations for Grade 8, Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations were well underway.

Grade 10 SEC papers are currently being dispatched to the provinces.

“All provincial education advisers and examination supervisors are urged to ensure that the examination papers are well secured before they are dispatched to the respective schools.

A total of 23,200 Grade 12 students from 146 secondary schools will be sitting for their Higher School Certificate Examinations (HSCE) from Oct 19-30.

“About 120,000 Grade 8 students from 2,663 schools will sit for the Certificate of Basic Education Examinations (COBE) from Nov 2-5.”

Kombra appealed to everyone to support fair conduct of exams and to report any malpractice to school administrations, provincial and national authorities or Police for appropriate action.

“There are strategies already in place to minimise and avoid cheating in schools.


Source: The National, Tuesday October 6th, 2015 || By SHEILA MALKEN

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