Showing posts with label education and development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education and development. Show all posts

Govt: Clear and Precise Response to Coronavirus Implication on Education Calendar

A response to our question Will PNG School Close Because of Coronavirus? The comments are from the senior educationist and former Education Secretary Dr Michael Tapo EdD. 

Valuable insight into the likely impacts of Coronavirus on Education and what can be done...

Foremost, before discussing closing the schools or not to close, think about the interconnectedness of the economy, social, educational, trade, technology, scientific knowledge, and many challenges of Papua New Guinea as a country and its people.

Paying the teachers while they are not working, school time calendar, examinations, public views and comments, and others are just as pertinent before a final decision is made.

Coronavirus: Interdepartmental communication

Coronavirus matter is a 'national disaster' and not regular health and hygiene matter. 

Current law allows health and education officials such as the two departmental heads to communicate and reach the verdict. 

Next, the National Education Board decides the final outcome. The Education Minister is advised who then, as the Minister responsible, informs the NEC to close or not to close.

Legislative responses and disaster management 

Beyond the decision to close the schools is that there are serious considerations by the Parliament. The members of government and opposition should join forces to legislate laws for the Coronavirus as a national disaster. This must be immediate and urgent because of its massive great consequences.

This virus will wipe out a percentage of our people once they are infected and spreads widely. Papua New Guinea absorptive capacity right now cannot control the spread of virus amongst members of communities, at the village, districts, rural areas and towns. 
Coronavirus is a matter of life and death to every member of Papua New Guinean society as a nation. 

Coronavirus management efforts overseas 

For instance, the developed countries like UK, USA, Australia, France, Italy, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, China and South Korea and many others have taken quick actions. 

These nations, their politicians, virus medical experts and scientists are spending every day to find ways to fight against the Coronavirus. 

They recommend clear and precise laws and policies for members of the public and its total citizens to understand and comply.

Coronavirus cannot be treated to date. It may take at least two to three years to find the dine to cure it completely. Worldwide 200,000 are infected. 8,000 people as of today's date have died.

No one, and I stress no one, is immune to Coronavirus. There is no cure for this virus. It is passed on from persons-to-persons.

Social media information can cause confusion and panic as experienced by the countries mentioned above.

Legislative responses – urgent 

I recommend authorities and leaders in responsible positions from the Health Department, Provincial Government, Organic Law, Education Act, and Parliamentary Acts are diligent. 

This virus has massive nation-wide consequences and challenges the application, implementation and implications of these regulations.

New laws must be approved to deal with this virus. The only Directive must be from the government and no one else.

Closing schools - decision

In the case of the decision to close the school, the new law must be introduced alongside 'National Disaster” law to realistically control the Coronavirus Pandemic.

ABC website is recommended for Papua New Guinea policymakers, health officials, hospitals, governors of provinces and school authorities, radio and TV stations to have access to 
  • the latest evidence-based information, 
  • the types of the required new legislation, and 
  • the questions of what, when, how and where, the national and provincial government can and or cannot do.

The comment was updated for easy reading. Published with permission from the writer.


Schools Shutdown due to Coronavirus COVID-2019


HELP: Higher Education Loan Programme - New Fee Policy

PM Marape: Government taking the bigger burden off parents with tertiary loan scheme.

HELP PNG higher education loan sheme a tuition fee loan for tertiary students in papua new guines
Approved for Release. 1st December 2019

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says his Government is taking an even bigger burden off the shoulders of parents by introducing the K200 million students’ tertiary loan scheme in 2020.

He said this when addressing a full-house crowd at the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) graduation at its Koiari Park Campus outside Port Moresby today.

They applauded when Prime Minister Marape made the announcement.

“Next year onward, we will have the students’ loan programme,” he said.

“No more will you pay (tertiary) school fees.
“As long as you have NID (national identification) and residency as a Papua New Guinean, you will go and get money for your school fees.”

Prime Minister Marape said parents would pay 50 per cent of school fees from elementary to secondary school, with the Government to foot the balance, until students were ready for tertiary education.
He said the money would be parked under a programme known as HELP – Higher Education Loan Programme – “where we will have funding easily available to assist our students to pursue higher education”.

Prime Minister Marape said he had heard many people complaining, since the 2020 Budget was delivered last Thursday, about Government reducing funding for primary and secondary schools.

“I put it back to them: Which is most-burdensome? Is it high school or primary school education, or university and college education?” he said.

“I think university or college education is more-burdensome – that is where we are stepping in right now.” 

Prime Minister Marape said those who dropped out of Grades 8, 10 or 12 could be easily absorbed by vocational schools or SME training that would be made available.
“Government wants to do all of these things, but Government alone cannot do it,” he told the graduating students.

“Government and your country need an army of responsible citizens, who are out there making it happen for our country.

“I am sure I am speaking to an army of good citizens who have learned very well in your students, and spiritual upbringing here at PAU.”

China Not a Development Partner But Loan Shark in PNG

WHICH DONORS CONTRIBUTE THE MOST TO PNG? While discussing 2020 Budget papers many members of NEC were surprised to find out just how much PNG receives from our donor partners. (Facebook/Kramer Report)

Note: This post was later retracted by the writer)

In 2020 PNG will receive close to K1 Billion in free development funds to assist us in our development goals.

Topping the list was Australia contributing K745m while China only contributes K7m
  • Australia K745.0 m (81%)  
  • European Union K80.0 m (8.7%) 
  • United Nations K41.7 m  
  • New Zealand K22.9 m
  • China K7.0m
  • USA K5.0 m 

In contrast when you look at it from how much we borrow, China tops the list on K450m. 
  • China K446.2 m 
  • ADB K437.6 m 
  • World Bank K185.50 m 
  • Japan K181.3 m 
  • India K7.7 m 
  • Australia K0.0 m 
Some countries are happy to lend us money where they benefit from the interest earned and conditional to their companies being awarded the contracts. Source National Planning Department 2020 Capital Investment Budget.

This piece of article is damning. Read here

Papua New Guinea has highest rates of use of off-grid solar lighting in the developing world - IFC Report republished

Access to sustainable and clean energy, even the ability to be able to have a simple light at night to read or study, can have a huge positive impact for those people in need. For a country like Papua New Guinea, which is undergoing economic and social transformation, the ability of its people and its businesses to access energy has been a challenge. 

Off grid solar in png

Papua New Guinea has, in fact, one of the most acute energy access challenges in the world. Only 13 percent of the population of over eight million people are connected to the electricity grid. Yet, as this report shows, in just five years Papua New Guinea has achieved dramatic growth to become a leader among developing countries in the use of off-grid solar products.

It’s in this environment that IFC’s Lighting Papua New Guinea program has been able to demonstrate impact by developing a market for quality verified solar products. 

Six years ago, only two percent of the population used any type of solar product and relied on firewood, kerosene and other products, harmful to people and the environment. It was a time when cellphone penetration was growing rapidly, but the means to charge those phones was lagging. 

Now kerosene has been usurped, and there’s a prevalence of generic offerings, battery powered torches and lanterns, alongside quality-verified off-grid solar products – many with an ability to charge a phone.

The report’s findings reveal a dynamic market. It’s evident in the numbers – the market for lighting solutions in PNG is estimated at $259 million a year and is expected to grow over the next five years. 

The report’s focus on the demand and supply sides will help companies understand market potential, in-country challenges, and the opportunities for growth.

Credit: A report by IFC.

2023 PNG Education Institute (PNGEI) Application Form and Course Information

The  PNG Education Institute (PNGEI) contributes toward the professional development and training of teachers, both in the in-service and pre-service programs. Here is some information about PNGEI application forms and programs. 

2023 pngei application form

2023 PNGEI application forms

The 2023 PNGEI Application Form is likely to have the following residential programs similar to the 2023 programs (get in touch to find the latest courses on offer at PNGEI):

1. Bachelor of School Leadership and Management - (2 yrs full-time)
2. Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching, Secondary /Tertiary (1 yr full-time)
3. Post Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education (1 yr full-time)
4. Diploma in Teaching English, Primary - In-service (6 months full-time)
5. Diploma in Teaching Mathematics /Science, Primary - In-service (6 months full-time)
6. Diploma of Teaching Technical Vocational Education - Pre-service (1 yr full-time)
7. Diploma of Vocational Education Training - In-service (28 weeks)
8. Diploma in Education Junior Primary - In-service (1 yr full-time)
9.Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education - Pre-service (both School Leavers & Non-School Leavers), (2 yrs full time)

Interested applicants are advised to request for the application forms through the following email addresses:



The closing date for the 2023 application is around July every year. The applicants who have completed the application forms for entry into PNGEI, take note of the date when submitting your applications.

It is important to ensure the 2023 applications are sent together with the required documents before the closing date.

Send application 

The applicants must complete their applications and send them to the  PNG Education Institute using the address below:

      PNG Education Institute
      P O Box 1791
      National Capital District

Or, you can scan all your documents and send them to or

Those who scan and email documents note that at the time of registration, PNGEI will ask for your original application fee receipt.

Ensure you keep your original receipt safely and provide them at the time of registration if you are offered a space to study at PNGEI.

Programs info

Details of the courses are available through the links provided at the bottom. In brief, PNGEI offers the following programs:

  • Bachelor of School Leadership & Management
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Tertiary /Secondary)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education
  • Advanced Diploma in Teaching English Primary (In-service)
  • Diploma in Teaching Mathematics / Science Primary (In-service)
  • Diploma of Teaching Technical Vocational Education (Pre-service)
  • Diploma of Vocational Education Training (In-service)
  • Diploma in Education Junior Primary (In-service)
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education (Pre-service)


Application Form and Instruction (download) 

Interested candidates wanting to study at PNGEI can now download the information package online. Get the information about the (detailed) course structure, program requirements, finalised fees and more from the links provided below. 

Applications for the 2023 intake close around July.

We will let you know as soon as the acceptance list is out. See below what PNGEI say about the release of the list.

PNGEI 2023 Acceptance List

For the applicants who have been waiting for the 2023 PNGEI acceptance list, here is what the institution said about it on its Facebook page last year.
'For those who are requesting for the Acceptance Lists, we would like to advise you all that the full acceptance list of all programs should be published here (on this page) early next week. Keep eyes for more updates on our Facebook page. 
Thank you and Congratulations to those who have been selected to study here at PNGEI.' [PNG Education Institute (PNGEI) Facebook post]

So, if you have applied to study at PNGEI in 2023, check for the updates here or on their Facebook page. 

Recommended for you

Here are two further study programs that you might like. 

If you are a non-school leaver and want to apply to secure a university placing, check out this post - NSL Application Forms 6 PNG Universities

Join PNG Insight on Twitter and Facebook for more information on education and development. 

Western Highlands Province | Road Network and Agriculture a Powerful Combination

I have little understanding of Western Highlands Province, especially its vast inter-linked road networks that link the province's fertile highlands and valleys until I visited the province. The roads are sealed and in excellent condition. All feeder roads lead to Hagen City. 

One road worth mentioning was the road connecting Ogelbeng, Baiya Gorge, Baiya Valley and Kitip and Waghi Valley - sealed and in perfect condition. 

Local Western Highlanders are very hard-working people, toiling the soil. To name a few:
  • Pabrabuk gives you the best pineapple.
  • Paglum gives you the best Kaukau and potatoes. 
  • Tambul gives you the best Karuka. 
  • Fruit and vegetables, banana and you name it, grows in abundance. 

Western Highlands is probably the province in PNG that has a very good road network and its people cultivate the land to make ends meet. In fact, they are empowered to sustain themselves through the road excess to market. 

There are other roads like Tambul and Nibiliyer, Pabrabuk and Paglum roads which are in bad condition. The roads into Hagen city are, sadly, in an appalling state. I believe the Chinese are going to do a good job upgrading and sealing the Hagen City roads. 

So, if I were to give WHP a mark out of 10 for its:

1. Road network I would give it       9.5/10 
2. Road condition......................      8/10 
3. Working the Land.................      10/10 
4. Taste of Pabrabuk pineapple....  10/10, and 
5. Tambul Karuka..........................  9/10

These are very high marks for road excess to market and service.

Curriculum and Structural Changes: Intensive Early Childhood Education Has Long-lasting Effects on Learning

The education system has undergone several changes. Here are some highlights of the changes in the School Curriculum and School Structure in Papua New Guinea. To clarify, curriculum change would mean the the change from the Standard-Based Education (SBE) to Outcome-Based Education (OBE) and vice versa. Whereas the Structural Change refers to the arrangement (and rearrangement) of Grades composition within the schools. 


Many students in the 1990s will remember the curriculum change that took place. Talks about the change started in 1993/1994. The actual curriculum shift - from the more established SBE to the troublesome OBE - happened in 1995.

 Twenty-one (21) years later, (and after much criticism of OBE) the curriculum reverted to SBE in 2016. This year, 2017, would be the second year of implementing SBE in classrooms around the country. The interesting observation is that there is *no* information about what actually is transpiring in classrooms. It could imply either all is well or something is seriously not right.

Change as a process

Understandably, change – as a process – needs monitoring and reporting on an on-going basis. After 2 years of SBE many questions needing answers as the country's education system moves into the third year of SBE implementation:

  • How are all the key stakeholders monitoring the progress and reporting? 
  • How are the teachers coping in the classrooms? 
  • Is there any significant transformation happening in classrooms nationwide?

Furthermore, in 2015 the Education Department hinted a change in overall School/Education Structure. And, implied to take effect, in 2016, starting with schools in the main centres (This had not materialised). The image gives details of the structural changes, including the attempt changes: 

1.    Pre-1995 (6-4-2 structure) 

  • 12 years of schooling
  • Primary School Grades 1 – 6 
  • High School Grades 7 – 10
  • National High School Grades 11 – 12
  • Up to 1995 was the era of SBE
2.    1995 and ensuing years (2-6-4 structure) 

  • 12 years of schooling
  • Elementary school Grades 1 – 2
  • Primary School Grades 3 – 8
  • Secondary school Grades 11 – 12
  • The era of OBE curriculum dominated by a slow move from the 6-4-2 structure to 2-6-4 structure

3.    2015 structural change (2-6-6)

  • 14 years of schooling
  •  Early years/pre-school Prep 1 – Prep 2
  • Primary School Grade 1 – 6
  • Secondary School Grades 7 - 12

This was supposed to have taken effect in 2016, but did *not* eventuate. In fact, the change would have completely turned the system upside-down. The pre-primary levels would stay the same. But the primary schools were likely to take in Grades 1 -2 and dissolve Grades 7-8. And, the Secondary Schools would (in turn) have taken in Grades 7-8, hence have Grade 7 - 12 (6 grades altogether!).

4.    2018 - *indication of another* structural change (1-6-6) 

  • 13 years of schooling
  •  Pre-school Prep 1
  • Primary School Grades 1 – 6
  • Secondary School Grades 7 – 12

Indicated recently through the media, this is another changed hinted to have started in 2018. Teachers, especially the Tok Ples Elementary and Grade 7-8 teachers, will be the obvious group caught in the changing structure. 

Foundation years (ages 3, 4, 5 and 6)

It is indicative, in the structural changes, that there are only one or two years at the pre-primary levels. This level of schooling remains a lesser focus area among the on-going educational changes. By this I mean, there is a need for *more* emphasis on *quality* at the early-learning (preparatory) years. For example, the education changes could look at widening the base to 4 years of early learning; or ensure children at these early years are a own group apart; or setting a benchmark where teachers with degree and honours teach the children of ages 3, 4, 5 and 6 years.

The changes cannot ignore the fact that learning taking place at the earlier ages has significant effect on children's cognitive and academic development. A research finding pointed out that:
The early childhood education can have long-lasting effects on the children's cognitive and academic development. (Source: RAND, a renown research organisation )
One impending question is: 
Do the educational changes, such as the structural and curriculum changes, place emphasis on the pre-primary level and early-learning?

The changes in PNG's education structure (and curriculum) are for the good of every child, nonetheless. The challenge, going forward, is to re-evaluate and prioritise the early-learning structure - create a stronger foundation.



In this review titled ‘A Way Forward: Review of Papua New Guinea’s Millennium Development Goals 2015 Dismal Performance’ I take a look at three recent articles that address the reasons Papua New Guinea (PNG) had not performed well in its national tailored Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets between 2000 and 2015. The reasons range from technical to geographical and cultural as well as political. In addition, I would discuss what PNG could do post-2015 to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. 


The article The Millennium Development Goals in Papua New Guinea: the response of government [pdf]’ was written by Marjorie Andrew, Deputy Director & Research Leader at the National Research Institute. On the 15th of March, 2015 she presented her research work at a three-day conference on ‘Resource Development and Human Well-Being in Papua New Guinea: Issues in the measurement of progress’. She highlighted several reasons why PNG’s performance on locally tailored MDGs indicators was ‘off the mark’ (Andrew, 2015, p. 22).

In her remarks on pages 3 - 4, Andrew indicated that PNG national indicators we tailored twice; first in 2004 for the Medium Term Development Strategy 2005 – 2010 and re-tailored in 2010 for Medium Term Development Plan 2011 – 2015. Of the 91 PNG tailored national indicators, only 40 were the same as the United Nations’ MDGs 1 to 8. The others (51 tailored indicators) were either blurred or less complying with UN's requirements and therefore cannot be measured internationally. This was of the reasons why PNG was put in the area of ‘no data’.

On pages 5 - 7, Andrew distinctively pointed out that the PNG government lacks the internal technical expertise to collect and analyse important statistical data for the 2015 MDG Progress Report. Though several departments produced reports annually, overall technical expertise across public institutions is ‘weak’. She mentioned that PNG’s reliance on international donors to do reporting showed that without them, vital reports may remain undone.




Dr. Genevieve Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Kokoda Track Foundation, gave some insights on the eight MDGs and put forward several reasons why PNG had difficulty achieving the MDG indicators. In her introduction, she thought 2015 was ‘...a time to reflect on that past decade’s [and-a-half] progress towards meeting the goals and setting a new framework for post-2015’ (Nelson, 2015). Furthermore, she highlighted that progress was made in the area of poverty reduction worldwide. Quoting McCarter (2003) she said the estimate for people living under $1.25 per day had halved from 43 per cent in 1990 down to 21 per cent in 2010 – an indication of a reduction in poverty. Nonetheless, Dr Nelson said disparity emerged from individual countries. She clearly indicated that according to the ‘MDG Progress Index developed by the Centre for Global Development Think Tank’, PNG is awarded a dismal score of just 1 out of 8. 

Dr Nelson further put emphasis on several challenges why PNG is one of the few countries in the world that did not meet the MDGs. The two technical reasons she identified were that the PNG’s tailored development indicators change very little every few years; and PNG had capacity issues within government offices, including the government departments. Often there was ‘no data’ in tables due to their inability to produce reliable data on a regular basis. In addition to the technical reasons, others reasons that potentially contribute to PNG’s inability to meet the MDG indicators include Geography, Linguistic and Cultural diversity, and Governance and Corruption.

Dr. Nelson remarked that PNG was ranked low on the MDGs Progress Index (1 out of 8) should be a wake-up call for the government. She reiterated that the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude has to change – there is no room for complacency going forward. PNG must improve on the technical, geographical, cultural and political challenges, by developing an appropriate policy framework focused on human development and the provision of services.
In summary, Dr Nelson said the post-2015 era should see governments, donors, businesses and NGOs working together to improve people’s lives. Though it may seem hard, the future of the nation depends on ‘innovation and new technology, collaborations and partnerships, and strong action focused on the delivery of basic services to remote communities, to improve outcomes for all Papua New Guineans’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 15).


The article was written by Ann-Cathrin Joest for an NGO group called the Seed Theatre Incorporation. Her emphasis was on how PNG could use its lessons learned on MDGs as a stepping stone for developing a policy framework for the 17 SDGs, post-2015. Joest introduced her article by stating the obvious - PNG had difficulty achieving the MDGs. She also mentioned that according to the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), PNG is rated among the thirty ‘Low Human Development’ (UNDP, 2014) group of countries, ranked 165 out of 187 countries. She also mentioned that low life expectancies at birth, school retention, maternal health, high infant mortality and increase sexually transmitted infections were among the human development issues. Joest also mentioned that PNG is ranked ‘one of the lowest on the Gender Inequality Index’ (Joest, 2005. para. 2). In addition, she mentioned that urban crimes and tribal fights were major challenges.

Joest reasoned that this poor performance was the result of poor education and food insecurity; inadequate access to sanitation, clean water and energy; and failure of past and previous governments on its MDG responsibilities. Joest said that the MDGs expired in 2015. Yet, under those circumstances, the SDGs2030 policy framework will not be successful post-2015 if the government does not take action to address issues relating to education, food security, and institutional capacity among the others.

Furthermore, Joest contrasted MDGs to SDGs and thought that ‘previous MDGs did not address the root causes for inequalities and poverty, [while] SDGs address these through the focus on economic development and human rights (Joest, 2015, para. 5).


The three articles, written last year, had identified several reasons why PNG MDG's performance was dismal. Dr. Nelson is attempting to discuss a way forward through ‘collaborations and partnerships, and strong action focused on the delivery of basic services to remote communities' (Nelson, 2015, para. 15) in the post-2015 era would improve people’s standard of living. By the same token, Joest said PNG’s poor performance in MDGs was the result of poor education and the failure of [past and current] governments to monitor its MDGs progress (Joest, 2015).

Both writers have identified three key areas of service delivery: collaboration, partnership and government responsibilities. However, to work collaboratively and in partnership with development partners, the public institutions (and offices) in PNG needed to take their responsibilities seriously (Andrew, 2015). There is a need for capacity building in the country in view of the fact that public institutions either needed donor help in reporting MDGs achievements (Andrew, 2015) or institutional capacity was ‘weak’ (Andrew, 2015) and unreliable.

On July the 20th this year, Helen Clark gave an ‘Opening Statement at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) Side-Event on “Building Capacities of Public Institutions for Implementing the SDGs: A Focus on Concrete Challenges and Potential Solutions’ said ‘Institutions which are effective and accountable will play a central role in achieving the SDGs…the 169 SDG targets make direct reference to the need for institutional capacity' (Clark, 2015, para. 3). It is seemingly obvious that through capacity building, PNG can participate effectively and in collaboration with partners going forward into the SDGs 2030 era.


6.1.            Reflection on Andrew’s paper

 I thought Andrew’s presentation was spot on. She critically dissected the eight MDGs through her research. She also stated the obvious fact that the PNG government needed thorough self-examination of its dismal performance, on the tailored MDG indicators. She further mentioned the reality that reporting on MDGs progress had been difficult due to a lack of positive responses from institutional offices like the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Office of Environment and Conservation (Andrew, 2015, p. 16). I gather that her use of words such as ‘difficult’ and ‘weak’ was more diplomatic. But even so, her research experience and the responses showed her frustration over the lack of capacity from her PNG sources. Though I agree with most of the facts she produced, she squarely laid the blame on PNG’s institutional offices she considered to be her data sources for her paper presentation (Andrew, 2015, p. 16). By way of contrast, little did she compliment the Department of Education for data on enrolment and retention (National Education Plan 2005 – 2014 [NEP2005-2014], pp.65 -67), or the NSO data on Household Income and Expenditure Survey (Andrew, 2015, p.8) she used in her analyses on MDGs 2 and 1, respectively.

The point is that though all the data required to compile reports on MDGs were not available, there was the existence of some form of data in other PNG institutional offices. As Nelson pointed out, two factors could affect data usage: either there were few changes over a period of one to two years (Nelson, 2015, para. 8) or the methodology used at that time to ascertain the use of those data may be flawed (Nelson, 2015, para. 8). Andrew (2015) inferred that the ‘lack of robustness of the methodology’ (p. 8) was the reason why the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) produced by NSO was excluded in the MDG Second National Progress Comprehensive Report 2010. Here, Andrew (2015) saw methodology as the problem rather than data. Nelson (2015) clearly identified the remedy to this problem (para. 8) when she implied that methodologies can be adapted, given the type of data available, to achieve realistic measurements.

6.2.             Reflection on Dr. Nelson’s Article 

In addition to technical reasons such as period of data gathering, methodology for analysing collected data and capacity issues, Dr. Nelson’s article also delved into other reasons why PNG had not met the MDGs (Nelson, 2015, para. 8). I thought she had good insight into PNG’s struggles to achieve the MDGs in the last 15 years when she mentioned other reasons like 'Geography, Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, and Governance and Corruption’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 8).  Even though Nelson was succinct in her explanations, her summary was either difficult to understand with the use of the word neo-liberal (Nelson, 2015, para. 11) or generalised when she used phrases like ‘wake-up call’ and ‘business-as-usual’ (Nelson, 2015, para. 11). By this I mean she was too technical with little explanation or too loose in her choice of words. Either way, there was a possibility for her readers to misunderstand or misinterpret what she intended to say.

6.3.            Reflection on Joest’s Article 

Joest was explicit in linking the key indicators of MDGs 2015 to SDGs 2030. Her web article was less academic but more informative. She gave a lot of relevant opinions on what PNG can do going forward into the SDGs era. She made relevant connections between each of the 17 goals. For example, ‘With improving poverty (SDG 1), an improvement in malnutrition, health, education and the economy can take place. With improved food security and nutrition (SDG2), children or youth can perform better in school. Children and youth are our future, by investing in their education (SDG4) community and economic development can take place, better education will generate increased income which can be directly invested into community health care or other community needs’ (Joest, 2015, para. 6). In principle, Joest portrayed an overview of what PNG could do in terms of aligning national policies framework and termly development strategies and plans going forward (Joest, 2015, para. 6). In saying that, I felt that her article was, more or less, her personal take on the relevance of SDGs in PNG rather than a practical analysis of how SDGs could be implemented.


Finally, each article showed that PNG performance on its tailored MDG indicators was dismal. PNG’s nonperformance would only improve if it learned from its past failures and took a more proactive approach to build capacity within its public institutions. The writers viewed capacity building at public institutions as essential for PNG to move forward.



Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiated a Global vision for improving the standard of living, sustaining the natural environment and living coherently in the 2nd Millennium. 

Papua New Guinea (PNG) as one of 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) signed up to this union right after its independence on the 10th of October 1975. MDGs from 2000 to 2015 had eight goals related to 
  • (1) Poverty; 
  • (2) Primary Education; 
  • (3) Gender Equity; 
  • (4) Child Mortality; 
  • (5) Maternal Health; 
  • (6) HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; 
  • (7) Environmental Sustainability; and 
  • (8) Global Partnerships for Development. 
PNG’s government departments, and donor agencies, were instrumental in developing, assessing and reporting aimed at achieving the MDGs in the last 15 years. The then Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, in his remarks on the 2004 MDGs report, stated that performance at provincial and local levels was ‘mixed’ (Undporg, c2004).


There is an urgent need for the National Department of Education (NDoE) to have a centralized data collection mechanism to collect, analyze and present accurate reports and or disseminate them to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government and stakeholders. 

Even after 40 years of independence, the NDoE through the Measurement Service Division (MSD), lack the ability to gather accurate data nationwide. 

This write-up emphasizes the importance of achieving not only Universal Primary Education (UPE) completion but also proposes a way to improve educational data gathering in PNG. 

One of the main constraints of achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE)/Universal Basic Education (UBE) is the unavailability of accurate data for developing sectorial policies and plans or making realistic future projections. 

Key indicators for measuring educational achievements like retention rate, enrolment rate and education quality must reflect real situations.


UPE is Goal 2 amongst the eight MDGs. The goal emphasized the need for compulsory, free and quality education for both boys and girls of primary school age children. 

Primary education, especially the education for children seven to fourteen years of age, is seen as a powerful driver for social and economic development and for archiving other MDGs. (Worldbankorg, c2003).

Structural Reform (1993) came into effect in PNG where community schools ‘ topped up’ to primary schools. Instead of Grade 1 to Grade 6 with an examination at the end of year six, the elementary schools had Grade 1 and Grade 2 identified as Elementary 1 and 2. 

The transition happened at the end of Elementary 2 where pupils move into Grade 3 and continue to Grade 8 without having to sit any national examinations in between. 

Evidently, the structural adjustment increased the progression rate from 41 percent in 1992 to 73 percent in 2001 (Primary School Age, UNICEF PNG, n.p.).

The diagram illustrates a standard educational structure by considering existing structures in the United Kingdom and International Education Agency (IEA) in PNG. 

The focus, as far as UPE was concerned in PNG, was geared more towards the seven to fourteen years old and less on preprimary and post-primary levels.



2.1. Policy targets in Elementary and Primary Schools

Specific Gross Enrolment Rate (GER), Cohort Retention Rate (CRR) and Youth Literacy Rate (YLR) were marked for achieving in 2015. 

Policies on structural, examination and school fees at primary schools were implemented to achieve GER of 85 percent, CRR at 70 percent and YLR at 70 percent by 2015 (MDGR, 2004). 

In fact, the rates were set below 100 percent to be more realistic and achievable. For example, expanding access at elementary schools is directly proportional to GER. The understanding was that if elementary schools were established in each village, enrolment would increase. 

Also, within the primary schools, the number of students continuing school to Grade 7 is maintained with the phasing-out of examinations at Grade 6.

The NEP 2005 – 2014 identified enrolment age at six years of age. Enrolling students early, at an age of 6 or 7 years, in elementary schools increases their chance of remaining until completing primary education. 

Cultural obligation (especially on girls) and intrinsic social norms tend to force students out of school, especially when there is a disproportion in the age gap within the classroom. 

It is a serious concern for students who may have been in their late adolescence and early teens and doing Grades 6, 8 or 10. 

The table shows a projection of students’ enrolment age. Over a third of students enrolled in Grade 1 on 1999 aged nine and ten. In Grade 10 they would have been in their late adolescence.

Specific Gross Enrolment Rate (GER), Cohort Retention Rate (CRR) and Youth Literacy Rate (YLR) were marked for achieving in 2015.

2.2. Pre-reform and post-reform: Comparison of Grade 6 and Grade 8 data

Recent policies, in particular, the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) Policy 2011 have been thought to have positively impacted school enrolment and retention.  

However, data from primary schools before and after the reforms have indicated little improvement. 

The number of Community Schools (now Primary Schools) increased every five years in the hundreds until 1999, but was unchanged in 2015: 
  • 2224 schools, 1983; 
  • 2503 schools, 1998; 
  • 2673 schools, 1999; and 
  • 2663 schools, 2015. 
Examination statistics for Grade 6 in 1990 and Grade 8 in 2015 showed 112,763 (NDoE, c1996) students and 120,000 (The National, 6th October 2015) students sat the national exams in Grade 6 and Grade 8, respectively. 

The projection for the Grade 6 population in PNG for 2004 was 151,513, yet the population for Grade 8 in 2015 did not reach the target 10 years later.

There is a strong indication that after 15 years of MDGs, the numbers of primary schools had remained static, and there was very little increase in the number of students taking exams. 

PNG's inability to maintain and identify the development dilemma in these two key areas could be attributed to several factors. 

The key inadequacies are the inaccurate data and a lack of policy guides: either way, there was gross misinterpretation and representation of data from the start.

2.3 PNG Education Plans and Challenges

PNG government plans on education showed that achieving UPE is working progress (MDGPR, 2004) and for PNG to achieve UPE it needs careful planning (Richard Bridle, UNICEF, 2007). 

A holistic approach is required at all levels of education. 

At elementary levels, the demand for teachers saw untrained teachers, who were educated to either Grade 6, Grade 8 or Grade 10 recruited to teach elementary pupils. 

The pupils would have been taught by certificate holders at Grade 1 and Grade 2 were now taught by teachers with very low English and mathematics competencies. 

Improved training for teachers, particularly in Literacy and Numeracy, at Elementary schools can improve the quality of knowledge and skills (Ivan Ngoboka, c2015) that are being imparted to students early during their education life.

Educational Sectorial Review (ESR) 1991 recommended the need for PNG to improve access rate, maintain students in school and reform curriculum (A Kukari, c2012, p.3)

The report uncovered that ninety percent of school-age students have not attended school, the attrition rate at forty-five percent and the curriculum was long overdue for reform. 

Several education plans were developed after the review including National Education Plan 1995 – 2014, Universal Basic Education (UBE) Plan 2010 – 2019 and recently PNG Vision 2050. 

The plans after the 2nd Millennium also took into consideration the MDGs. In particular, UBE was aligned towards achieving compulsory, free and quality education for all young boys and girls - a sectorial policy framework built on MDG Two, the UPE.

The focus of these plans was to increase access, retention and quality by: 
  • improving pupils’ indicative rates like the enrolment, retention, attrition and progression rates; 
  • improving teachers' training and achieving students to teacher ratio of 40:1; 
  • improving educational services and procurements; and 
  • developing relevant curricula to be implemented and monitored.


3.1. In Numbers: Rwanda From Civil War To Achieving UPE

Rwanda Civil War ended officially in 2003. Reports on Rwanda achievements indicated that they have achieved major UPE milestones in under twelve years though they had more to do with reducing the high drop-out rate (Ivan Ngoboka, 2015). 

The numbers indicating their positive story are: 
  • 1870 preprimary schools were constructed for three years of pre-primary education targeting children between the age of four and six years of age; 
  • two institutions offered degree courses for pre-primary teachers, including 13 colleges offering diploma and certificate courses in the same field; 
  • 9 years free basic education implemented in 2006; 
  • the number of primary schools between 2000 and 2012 increased by 24 percent; 
  • enrolment in 2013 figures increased by 68 percent; 
  • rate of students who have never been to school halved to 9 percent from 18 percent; 
  • the ratio of boys to girls in school had increased within 12 years from 50.9:49.6 to 49:3: 50.7, a shift which saw an increase in the girls’ school population.

3.2 Pakistan’s Constraints

It was indicative that Pakistan was not going to achieve UPE two years before 2015. 

A report on Pakistan’s constraints and challenges summed that the government needs to show a ‘high level of political will’ to achieve UPE (Zakar, Muhammad Zakria et al, 2013). 

There was significant variation in enrolment rate where some parts of the country were at 60 percent whilst one was at as low as 39 percent. 

A constitutional amendment in 2010 granted sole responsibility for policy reform, implementation programs and monitoring. 

The decentralization of education functions resulted in complacency in many parts of Pakistan. 

The following are obvious constraints, among many, that hindered achieving UPE: 
  • insufficient educational service; 
  • untrained teachers usually appointed by political recommendation; 
  • lack of community participation; 
  • Illiterate parents; lack of political commitments; and 
  • Poor infrastructure and learning resources.

3.3. PNG In Perspective

PNG’s government policies on education and challenges are manageable and achievable.

Challenges for Quality Primary Education in Papua New Guinea—A Case Study

Correct data and careful planning are required to achieve educational goals going forward. 

UNICEF Deputy Director for East-Pacific highlighted that if Cambodia, a poor country, could achieve UPE ‘there was no reason why PNG could not do it’

Figures released by NDoE in 2015 showed that of the 120,000 Grade 8 students, 50.83 percent (61,000 students) do not continue to Grade 9 at lower secondary school. 

The projected number of primary school enrollment by 2014 was at 90,703 students (NEP 2005-2014). Indicatively, the number of students sitting exams surpasses the projected figure, and students present in the classrooms at lower secondary schools remain very low. 

There was a glaring disparity between the number of primary schools and the number of secondary schools. In the same year (2015), there were 2263 primary schools and 256 secondary schools. In view of these figures, it appears that infrastructural development does not catch up with population growth.

To fulfil policies and plans on UPE in the country, both educational and political leaders at national and local levels must know that there is a need to invest time, money and effort in education. 

In the research article Challenges for Quality Primary Education in Papua New Guinea—A Case Study the researchers stated:

''… the quality of leadership demonstrated to lead the educational change [in PNG] has been disappointing. Inadequate leadership at the administration and curriculum levels had a negative impact on the quality of education. Achieving quality education has also been hampered by inadequate funding, scarcity of skilled human resources, and inappropriate infrastructure in all educational institutions'' (Hindawicom, c2011,Volume 2011).

In fact, there are similarities between PNG and Pakistan as far as constraints are concerned. It was difficult to identify a developing trend given limited facts and figures. 

Whereas, Rwanda had presented a clear case. PNG needs to learn from success stories. 

This means having strong leadership in education circles who can be the main drivers in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030 Goal 4 about achieving quality education in early childhood development, care, preprimary education, primary education and secondary education (Wwwunorg, c2016)


PNG has many constraints with its growing population. There is a need for collecting and disseminating vital statistical data. 

This study proposes that a data collection mechanism is established to address the problem of the unavailability of reliable data. 

To create an independent data management organisation, separate from and from the National Planning Department, NDoE and MSU. 

One way to make it happen is to create a customized website for collecting useful data for measuring key UPE indicators. 

This exercise has to be negotiated and made mandatory for schools in the country to comply with.


Though the achievements of MDG were mixed there were strides made in the formulation of educational policies and plans aligned to achieving UPE. 

Learn the lessons to learn from Rwanda and Pakistan. 

To achieve the MDG 2, it is recommended that the government of PNG, through NDoE, implement the following strategies: 
  • Increase the number of secondary schools from 256 to 2000.
  • Expand the existing secondary schools by increasing classrooms.
  • Promote vocational and technical secondary schools for Grade 8.
  • Develop stringent planning, monitoring and management mechanisms.
  • Train preprimary teachers up to degree level.
  • Increase capacity at teachers' training institutions.
  • Mandatory Grade 1 school-age at 6 years old.
  • Develop data collection and dissemination mechanisms.
  • Reduce the dropout rate (50.83 percent) at Grade 8, by setting targets for the 8 points.


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Education, National Department of. National Education Plan 2005-2014. Policy Framework, Port Moresby: Government Printing, 2004.

Kukari, A. Universal Basic Education Policy Research Framework: A Focal Point for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation. Discussion Paper, Port Moresby: National Research Institute, 2012, 39.

MALKEN, SHEILA. Examination Population at Primary and Secondary School. News, Port Moresby: The National, 2015.

Maureen, Gerawa. Potential to abolish fees. Newspaper, Port Moresby: The Post Courier, 2007.

Ngoboka, Ivan. MDGs: What has Rwanda done to achieve universal primary education? News, United States: SyndiGate Media Inc, 2015.

PNG, United National Development Program. MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOAL - Progress Report for Papua New Guinea 2004. Progress Report, Port Moresby: UNDP PNG, 2004, 50.

Rena, Ravinder. "Challenges for Quality Primary Education in Papua New Guinea." Challenges for Quality Primary Education in Papua New Guinea—A Case Study (Education Research International), 2011: 11.
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Zakar, Muhammad Zakria, Shazia Qureshi, Razza-Ullah, Rubeena Zakar, Nauman Aqil, and Riffat Manawar. Universal Primary Education in Pakistan: constraints and challenges. News, Lahore: Centre for South Asian Studies, University of the Punjab, 2013.