Showing posts with label vocational training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vocational training. Show all posts

Quality Education: Secretary Recounts Achievements

png education deprtment gov.pg

INTRODUCTION

On behalf of the Department of Education, I send Christmas Greetings to all our students and their families, teachers and school administrators and our important stakeholders like the development partners, churches, Non-Government Organizations (NGO) and service providers who supported us in our efforts to provide quality education and training for our children in Papua New Guinea.

I acknowledge the minister for education Hon. Joseph Yopyyopy for his elevation during the change of government and taking up the challenge with the Ministry as a political head. He has served humbly for the past 6 to 7 months with patience and with a spirit of servanthood.

We acknowledge the services of all the officers who passed on this year while providing vital services in their capacities and being committed to the education sector.

Also, at this juncture, we recognize and salute the retirees who will leave the Education Department for their commitment, dedication and tireless effort for their roles and responsibilities in the development of the education sector.

This year a total of eighteen (18) officers will be retiring while the second batch of retirees will leave next year (2020).

Our vision is to provide quality education and training to every citizen in the country. This year we have aspired and advocated our overarching theme to ‘Christian and Values Education for a Better Future.’

We exist to serve the parents, teachers, students and schools so that every Papua New Guineans is given a fair opportunity in education to achieve a better future.

On behalf of the Minister and the Office of the Secretary, I like to acknowledge and thank everyone for contributing to the long-term vision that is to improve the quality of education to every citizen for a better future.

We as public servants are here to serve our people in good and bad times, in rough and calm times, in happy and sad times. We survive to serve our people.

I’m grateful and satisfied that with the guidance of GOD Almighty and the leadership of the Minister, Top Management, line managers, staff and with the partner organizations, development partners and of course the spouses and children with your support and perseverance, we have all worked hard to make this year a success.

We have achieved a lot in terms of policy development and implementation as we remain resilient and strong despite the challenges.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2019

Let me highlight some of the accomplishments made this year.

First, the development and implementation of Standard Based Curriculum which we started in 2015. I am pleasured to announce that by 2020 we will complete the whole cycle of the SBC.

This year the officers have worked tirelessly with the leadership of Mr Walipe Wingi, ‘Mrs Annemaria Kona and Mr Steven Tandale for ensuring that the Secondary school curriculum is completed. We thank CDD for your patience and hard work for the completion of this important task despite the challenges faced.

All the curriculum materials that are developed is PNG made. It is something we all must be proud off for the children in the country.

Secondly, we acknowledge that work put in by the Policy & Planning Division for spearheading the ‘1-6-6 school structure’ and completion of the next ‘10-year Education Plan’.

Also, the completion of the ‘Corporate Plan’ which the Minister launched and the implementation of the ‘School Learning Improvement Plan (SLIP).’

Thirdly, to the Guidance and Counselling Division and the leadership for the development of the ‘Scout Policy’ and the ‘Behaviour Management Policy.’

Credits go to the Research & Revaluation Division, Policy & Planning Division, and Guidance Division and other line divisions that contributed enormously to develop the ‘Early Childhood Policy.’ The policy will be launched by the Minister before the end of the year.

Another milestone policy that was developed for the Secondary sector is the ‘National Schools of Excellence Policy.’ The policy is already approved by the National Executive Council and will be launched soon.

TVET Sector also has finalized and updated the ‘Technical Secondary Schools Policy.’ The National Examinations held this year was a success with no major problems.

The Finance Division must be thanked for commitments, despite the pressure in sorting all our claims. They worked tirelessly to ensure our tasks flow smoothly.

I personally acknowledge the commitment everyone in the department has put in. Next year all the divisions will have increases in their recurrent budgets. For example, the Curriculum Development Division’s budget will increase to cater for development, publishing and distributions of school materials.

Likewise, the Guidance Division will ensure that inspectors visit schools throughout the country.

In Tuition Fee Free (TFF) we have almost dispatched K600 million except for the last K100 million that is being held back to be released in early 2020. The TFF team in the department and the provinces must be acknowledged for making sure schools get their allocations.

This year we have decentralized the TFF functions to the provinces. We had successfully given the functions to 5 provinces namely New Ireland, East New Britain, Milne Bay, Morobe and Enga. These provinces were able to ensure all their schools received their funds.

The Department will be passing on the functions to other provinces in the country who are ready to take on the responsibilities.

Lastly, the Department has really embraced the advancement of technology. This year we have developed the ‘Document Management System Application.’ We are now converting all our hard copies of documents to e-copies so all our documents can be accessed by the press of the computer button.

We have also developed and launched “My Payslip Application’ The public servants and teachers can now access their current payslips online. ‘My PNG School Application’ is another intervention that is now been implemented and rolled out with officers from headquarter visiting provinces to impart the use of the system.

With the NID project, we have almost 30,000 teachers registered and working closely with the NID office to ensure all the remaining teachers are recorded. In 2020 all teachers will be required to attach their photos and NID numbers when submitting their resumption forms.

As many teachers have not yet received their NID this will take time however, photos will be a requirement on the forms next year.

CONCLUSION

I would like to conclude by once again acknowledge and thank the many long-serving officers and teachers who retire this year for your commitment and dedication to the education sector and wish you well in your future endeavours.

The onus is now on us to embrace the Government’s education developmental agendas to convalesce education for the betterment of the children of PNG into the future.

As we head into the New Year, I wish for all of us to share the same spirit of togetherness, ownership and teamwork to further enhance education to meet our overall goal of providing quality education and training for all.

Christmas is the time where families get together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ joyously and peacefully.

Therefore, I wish you all a blessed and safe festive celebration and a prosperous happy new year 2020. May GOD Almighty continue to bless Papua New Guinea.

DR. UKE KOMBRA
PhD SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION

UNDP: Graduate Development Program - Intern

Are you in your final year of studies or a recent graduate? Here is an internship program that will set you up for a job in the environment and conservation sector.



UNDP is looking for interns to join the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) Project team.

Field of studies includes business management, agriculture, economics, environment and geography, sustainable development, climate and disaster resilience. Attach the following documents in your application:

- CV
- copy or academic transcript
- letter of interest or motivational letter
- Reference letter from a tertiary institution

Email applications to registry.pg@undp.org or hand deliver at UNDP Country Office, Level 14, Kina Bank Haus, Port Moresby.

Applications close on 8th of July 2019.

Exxon Mobile: Intern & Graduate Engineering Recruitment Program

Job Description:
ExxonMobil PNG Limited is a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation and Operator of the PNG LNG Project, an integrated development that included gas production and processing facilities in the Southern Highlands, Hela, Gulf, Central and Western Provinces.
JOBS INTERNS JOB PNG LNG JOB

The Project commenced production in the middle of 2014 and supplies liquefied natural gas to customers in Asia.

ExxonMobil PNG Ltd is looking for students and Graduates who are eager to explore relates job opportunities with us in below programs.

The positions will be based in Port Moresby Headquarters, LNG Plant Site or Hides Gas Conditioning Plant.

Intern & Graduate Engineering Recruitment Program. (Applications close by 28 July 2019)

Job Opportunities include positions in process surveillance, electrical power systems, instrumentation and controls, computer networks and systems, civil, geotechnical, machinery, mechanical integrity and pipelines.

 Job Requirements:Graduate Opportunity: About to receive or have received a bachelor's degree in Engineering within the last three years.Students and graduates of all engineering disciplines are invited to apply.

To find more information and apply online, please go to https://jobs.exxonmobil.com/


  • Type 'PG' under search by location
  • Click job titleClick on 'Apply now' button and 
  • choose 'Apply Now'Register your email address and remember your password for future login.
Please follow the steps until you reach the page where there is 'Submit' button, click 'Submit'

Please do not submit application through the mail

Jobs in PNG: An Observation on Immigrants, Opportunity and Development In Papua New Guinea

I have been thinking about the different people who have visited, lived and worked and called PNG home. Many foreigners arriving in PNG (Immigrants) either are married into PNG or have white-collar jobs, but there are five (5) groups who fall outside this description. These groups were (are) influential in developing the country during the post and pre-independence era, even to this day. Actively creating jobs in PNG.

Jobs in PNG and Observation on Immigration and Development

I was born 4 years after PNG gained independence. That meant that I grew up with relatives who have seen the early stages of development through their own eyes. Many stories I’ve heard: 
  • missionaries making the first contact, teasing people with salt and introducing to the Good News; 
  • Tultul and Luluais encouraging people to use digging sticks to build roads or getting them together for patrol officer’s visits; 
  • young men employed to work at the Bougainville Copper Mine; 
  • Highlanders and Sepiks recruited to go to the New Britain provinces to plant cocoa, coconut or oil palm; 
  • companies like the Dillingham Brothers cutting their way through the inaccessible highlands provinces; 
  • the gaining of independence itself; and many other good-old fore stories. 
The Jobs back in the early 1960s were for PNG locals. Expatriates were trainers and mentors. 

Just before I turned seven, I’ve seen Australian and New Zealand contractors (like the Transet Contractor and Paragon) building roads into places like Okapa in the Eastern Highlands and Gumini-Salt Nomane in Simbu provinces and other parts of the country. Apart from all national workers, several of them were senior Philippines tradesmen who were very influential imparting skills to new PNG apprentices.

Then, I went to schools – community school, high school, secondary school and university. Many expatriate volunteers and missionaries have been a big part of developing the young men and women of this country, and create jobs in PNG.

Perhaps it is important to know that the foreigners, especially missionaries, have given their lives to help develop PNG. Meanwhile, sharing their expertise and skills with locals.

Another group that came into the country following independence was skilled people and expert expatriates entering the country as contractors and entrepreneurs. They were highly educated and experienced people who saw opportunities. Their aim was business.

So, let me put in perspective how each group contributed insofar as providing services, employing and educating Papua New Guineans is concerned.  I think the idea is to give meaning to immigration (the movement of outsiders into Papua New Guinea) and the impact their skills and knowledge has had on people associated with them and creating PNG jobs.

1.       Missionaries – Good News, health and education

Spreading the stories in the Old and New Testaments were their main goal. But as missionaries entered remote places, there was a need to learn local languages. Learning local languages was (and is) challenging. Almost every other village has a distinct language. So missionaries either learn several languages at the same time or introduce new language – so, there was the need for education.

Apparently, infant mortality and death due to infections would have been high then, as it is now. Many denominations, in addition to their primary role of spreading the love of God, would have seen it as their other responsibility to provide needed health care.

Today, many Papua New Guineans have relied heavily on education and health services provided by missions of different denominations. Among the leading churches are the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist, New Tribes Mission, United Church and Baptist Church. Their mission is to faithfully spread the word of God. In doing so, they will continue to provide the much-needed health, education and humanitarian services in places where government services are lacking.

2.       Colonial administration era – colonialism and agriculture

This group of people have long gone, their era only remains in the memory of many. But, remnants of that time can be seen from coffee plantations in the highlands to cocoa and copra plantations in the coastal areas.

One of the lessons we could learn was the heightened interest in agriculture. It is important to note that apart from many things going on, the colonial era was also a time when huge portions of land have been developed for agricultural purposes. A significant milestone in agriculture shift in the country, from subsistence gardening to crop for cash.

3.       Independence buzz – Educators, health Workers, planters and contractors

The mid-seventies the to late eighties had seen a wave of human resource and physical infrastructural development. Many Papua New Guineans went to universities. Others continued onto trade courses, secretarial studies, seminaries and other colleges. PNG’s human resource growth was, to some extent, at par with developments that had been happening at that time.

There were lots of foreign contractors in the resource sector, many involved with infrastructure development around the country. Some of them working in road constructions, partnering with the National Department of Works (NDoW). They cut roads into areas never accessible by road vehicles in the past. It was a real-time for both human resource and national development. 

One group of Papua New Guineans still remained the forgotten generation to this day. Many of them have settled in new places. These were the volunteers from the Highlands and Sepik provinces who were enlisted for oil palm developments in West New Britain. My grandpa, who had actually returned home, told me that they were taken to Kimbe and Bialla where they were then given three hectares of registered land to grow oil palm.

Enviously, that was also a time when Kina was strong against Dollar. You could buy Ox and Palm for just K1.00, or a carton of beer for K10, or a Wopa biscuit or packet of cigarette for just 20 toea! People were not paid a lot, but what they earned could buy them a lot more than today with some to save. It was a real buzz.

During that time, there was a pocket of expatriates, especially Australians who took PNG at heart. They were the ones who had (have) lived here calling PNG home. From missionaries to government officers, educators and health workers. They loved PNG. Many of their children and grandchildren are Papua New Guineans.

4.       Entrepreneurs – business and opportunities

The country's purse is never empty. Money from natural resources and minerals, especially gold and copper from developed mines like Panguna, OK Tedi, Pogera, Misima, Lihir and other mines in the country had replenished the purse every year. Tax revenue had increased as many people earned and spent.

So, eventually, many outsiders have seen the opportunities available in the country. There was this wave of temporary immigrants who came into PNG:  setting up law firms, technology companies, medical hospitals, logging companies, retail shops, hotels, etc.

Many of them can speak fluent Tok Pisin. They mingle easily with the people. They also call PNG home. But, they came for business – one leg in, the other out. They set up business in PNG but resided overseas. They were very successful and well known in their own rights. They contributed massively to developing PNG and creating PNG jobs.

5.       Opportunity Seekers – recent entry

This group of immigrants came recently when the country saw unprecedented growth in the economy. Money circulating within the country was a pull factor for many other outsiders to make quick bucks. The frenzy of infrastructure development happening since 2013 and oil and gas developments had added fuel to fire. For example, with Chinese companies winning big contracts, they brought in Chinese workers who took up the opportunities otherwise would have been available to Papua New Guineans. Unlike Independence Buzz, this immigration wasn’t about development. It was purely business, self-enrichment and it happened quickly.  

Perhaps, this movement was more organised than the others. What happened was that well-established business preferred to use their own workforce. By this I mean these companies were employing their own kind, placing them in jobs that could be easily done by Papua New Guineans. Obviously, the 12-doors chain of stores in Lae and other parts of the country was a typical example, including the road and building construction companies in Lae and Moresby.

Another sub-set of this group was outsiders looking to Australia as their final destination. However, bureaucracy may not have allowed them to get in to Australia. Many possibly have families and friends living there. They remained in PNG and took-up jobs, some married to locals making PNG transit home. It could only be a matter of time before they would have the opportunity to make it to their Promised Land.

Here is where a line can be drawn: many outsiders have contributed, within their capacity, to imparting skills and knowledge to young Papua New Guineans. In turn, they are (were) making a living, bettering themselves and contributing to national development. On the contrary, it is clear that the more the other immigrants concentrate their businesses within themselves, the less there are training and jobs for ordinary Papua New Guineans.

A Year In Review: Education and Politics in Papua New Guinea


Every year has been a challenging year for our country, both in education and politics. The political policies on education and how the government is 'setting the course' for the future of young men and women is one area of concern.


The O'Neill-Dion led government's efforts to improve education was, in fact, promoted by the tuition fee free (TFF) policy. Perhaps many people have seen it to be of 'some' double standard. On one hand is aimed to skew parents opinions. On the other, meet the millennium development goals (MDGs). 

The balance between a good government policy on education and one of preserving the interest of government of the day can only determined by the results. 


The government and education leaders should be commended for 'a few' good work they have done in 2015. But, they must be reminded that what they are doing must for the best interest of the country - young people first. 

The new year must bring blessing to our people. This can happen through a good education system, which is the one thing that matters the most. Many parents will agree that not just mass education, but a proper education is the best thing for their children.

A proper education can only be a proper education WHEN policy makers, including well-off parents, START sending their children to a - any - public school in the country. Also, an education system that outsiders would be tempted to send their kids to. This should happen sooner rather than later in our public schools.

One area needed much attention is vocational and technical training colleges. Strengthening manpower and infrastructure development at universities, vocational centres, technical colleges, institutes, seminaries and other  colleges  has to  come first. Focusing on Grades 8, 10 and 12 drop-outs was second to increasing retentions of students at primary and secondary schools this year. This must reverse to cater for the large number of students passing out.

One positive the country can take from here is the implementation the 12/13 recommendations of Ganim's report. Despite government accepting the recommendations in principle, there is more needed to be done in areas of teachers' appointment, salary, leave fares, retrenchment and other benefits. Government must remain true to its promise of funding to make the recommendations of the report come to fruition. 

It is time to leave politics out of education. K605 million allocation for the TFF has not been paid in full to schools. The government paid TFF money in quarterly instalments. TFF funds must be paid in wholesome rather than in parts so that school can continue without the need to remind government to pay up. Last quarter of 2015 - the last payment - was not done on time. 

Some schools prematurely closed for 2015 Christmas holiday, like Lae Secondary School. This must not happen in 2016.

I'll end here by summering the five changes that have been happening (planned to have happened) this year:

1) Policy change - Ganim report and its 12/13 recommendations have been accepted by NEC. Funds promised (and budgeted, if any)  must be released for this to happen. 

2) Curriculum Change - Standard Based Education replaced the controversial outcome based curriculum - change that came after the controversial OB curriculum (1993). A welcome change, but more awareness is required to freshen teachers' skills and ability to deliver revised Standard Based Curriculum. 

3) Structural Change (2-6-6) - this change was hinted to have taken effect in 2016. This change is not necessary, if it goes ahead. It would only complicate the whole system. We are likely to see secondary schools taking in grades 7 and 8.

4)  Phasing-out examinations at grade 8 and grade 10. Again, this change ( if it happens) is unnecessary. The education department would do well if it strengthens the examination processes. Reconsiders function of Measurement Service Division (MSD). Makes examinations at grade 8, 10 and 12  tough and secure. It is better to play it safe then taking a risk. Phasing-out exam is highly risky. There is no proof that letting students through without examinations is a better change.

5) Restructuring school of excellence (the national high schools). There is no clear plan. Little is known about what to do with the national high schools at this stage.

My one wish for next year (as far as educating young people is concerned) is to see the government giving prominence to developing vocational training and technical education, as well as other colleges and institutes in the country. It is time to FOCUS on Grades 8, 10 and 12 school leavers, time to give them a second chance. 


INSPIRED: Story of a young University student who became a truck driver


Updated 23rd December 2018

This story cuts through the topics I've been contemplating lately, apprenticeship and seeking for jobs in PNG. The story of a first year university student who left his accounting studies because he cannot afford the tuition fees.

Trained by a woman truck driver to be a truckie and find job in PNG trucking industry. I liked the story.

If only we could have a wide range of second chances like this, available to many young Papua New Guineans who are leaving school at Grades 8, 10 and 12.

Here is the story as seen on the Facebook group Humans of Papua New Guinea.

“I went to university to study accounting but ended up becoming a truck driver instead.”“How did that happen?”“After...
PNG needs a good numbers of readies and truckies in the PNG Job seeking area. Many well trained skill Papua New Guineans are in the mining and oil and gas sectors at present. But the country also need a good number of skill people in other areas.

Pathway For Grade 8 and 10: PNG Government To Increase Vocational Training Centres from 141 to 325, One LLG One VTC


Policy and documents on TVET
In 2013 there were 141 provincial vocational centres (up from 132 in 2009) and 9 technical and business colleges in Papua New Guinea. The number of colleges excludes Police College, Bible Institutes and others that have opened recently.

In fact, the need to improve Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) was well documented since 2005, evident in TVET policy 2005 [pdf]. The case study  by a Patrol Maino also provided a great deal of insight on expansion of TVET titled Efforts In Reorienting Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) System In Papua New Guinea (PNG) To The Global Economy [pdf, 2013]. The documents gave depth to developing TVET programs. 

These written documents explicitly echoed the need for government (who is the driving force for change) to invest in training at vocational level for Grade 8 and Grade 10 school leavers. Had the government and TVET division of education had done it right, there would be a good number of skilled workers in the country by now.


This does not mean either the government or the TVET division had done nothing. Actually they have done some fantastic jobs over the years. But, what is needed now is to take into account the HIGH number of students leaving school at the end of Grade 8 and Grade 10.


There is an urgent need to look into expanding capacity, finding avenues for job placements for vocational trainees and helping them to find their place in the society- an attractive package has to be developed for them now. 

There are no more that 150 semi funded vocational centres and technical secondary schools around - not enough to take in a good number of Grade 8 and 10 drop-outs. As a result, the TVET division must realise how important it has become of late.

The course work and curricula, workshop practicals, work placement and continuous training are the main areas needed both the government and TVET division of education (urgent) attention.

Government to put the money where its mouth is

Is it too late for the government to take an interest in this forgotten generation? The answer is no. It is not (never) too late. The need to harness the power of Grades 8 and 10 school-leavers is increasing as the number of these young people leaving school increases. If this population is left to its own, the nation will see a generation of unskilled young people who are good for nothing, but burdensome. 

Skills learnt early is vital. There is nothing wrong with the existing training provided at vocational and technical schools. The problem is that the national and provincial governments have been doing very little to improve vocational training in the country.

In the past, vocational training centres where set up to cater for the then Grade 6 school leavers. However, with the structural change [1993], Grades 8 and 10 school leavers have been competing for a space at vocational centres. Recent figures showed that 96% of Grade 8 and 94% of Grade 10 students drop out of school. These group of kids have little or no chance to enter a college, or institute or university. Many colleges and technical institutions are taking in Grade 12.


The Grades 8 and 10 are the ones who are in desperate need for attention. These are  the youths who between 15 and 18 years of age. We can not neglect them!

There is a genuine need for the government to develop a strong base by focusing on vocational training for students leaving at Grades 8 and 10. There is a difference between building a skilled and knowledgeable generation, and merely educating a population. Unless (and until) the politicians and education leaders see this difference, their attempt to achieve any development goals will be nothing but a wasted opportunity.

Each Local Level Government (LLG) to have a vocational training centre

To make a difference is to invest in those 15 to 18 years old. Is it too much to ask? Why not every Local Level Government is task with building its own vocational training centre? Why shouldn't each LLG have its own technical secondary school? Papua New Guinea has three hundred and twenty five (325) local level governmental boundaries. A government focused on developing its younger generation must also have 325 vocational centres - 141 is not enough. A responsible government must build 184 more vocational training centres. This is the right thing to do if PNG is to harness the power in this forgotten generation.


I would like to take a look at Pathway for Grade 12 – what is available for them and how the school leavers can be seen to have fitted into the system. This will be the next topic Teach Them How To Fish series on PNG Insight.

***Knowing how many of those institutions are available is not easy as no updated data is available online or I may not have seen any relevant data during my Internet search to compile this post. If you are reading this, you can do your part by including the institutions that are not available here – Wikipedia.


Access vs Retention: Statistics Favours Improving Vocational Training and Apprenticeship Schemes Than Phasing-out Examinations



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 town and cities. Whilst they are enjoying their vocations, they are sure to ask two important questions: How have I performed in the national examinations?;  Will I be selected to continue to the next level?

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

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 the 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. 

What about the bulk of students who would not have continued? What will they do? It saddened me to think that the first year out 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 university access rate (ACCESS), but only maintain the number passing through from Grade 8 to 10 to 12 (RETENTION). 

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

Other factors needed thorough consideration before exams are phased out are the availability of resources, number of teachers as well as primary and secondary schools capacity to hold larger students' population. This exercise, if goes ahead, will put 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 4500 - 10, 000 spaces would not be enough to suffice the appetite for higher education. 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 current 4500) to 10, 000. Still there wont be any improvement - nil. 

For it to work, the government needs to improve 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 Grade 12 drop-put rate of over 90% in the next 5 to 10 years with this change- the same as today! 

So the public statements about phasing out examination has 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 have passed (are passing) out of the formal education system can be addressed by focussing on Internship, apprenticeship schemes and vocational training. I will exploit this in the next topic (Give 'Them' A Fish And You Feed 'Them' For A Day - Teach Them How to Fish) on PNG-Insight. 

Meanwhile, here is what I've posted several month ago on the Key To Addressing Skill Shortage and Grades 8, 10 and 12 Pass-outs

Apprenticeship Scheme: Upskill Grades 8, 10 and 12 Dropouts – Government To Fund, Industry Majors to Implement the Scheme



Recent Opposition statement reported in the media about developing skilled workforce in Papua New Guinea cannot come at the right time when over 80% Grade 12 students were unable to secure a place in tertiary institution. 

It is important to note that the K3.7 billion mentioned by the Opposition leader is a lot of money, especially when it is aligned with skill development. Program duration (How long it will take) and checks and balances remains to be seen.

The Opposition said ‘revenue to implement this policy would be sourced from the proceeds of LNG tax, resale of controversial K3 billion UBS loan and the Sovereign Wealth Fund via parliamentary budgetary process.’ [PNG Loop 19/02/2015]

It seems Don Polye, who was once deputy prime minister and treasurer, knows well how much money is floating around in government coffers. This is just politics but there is merit in his statement.

In the early years of our nation (1950s – 1960s) students choices were limited but policy makers can learn from it. Those who continued to be teachers and pastors were able to read and write well.

On the other hand, given the demand for work force, others became mechanics, drivers, operators, labourers and nurses among other skilled jobs. Many of the early schoolers have worked with construction companies like Dillingham Brothers, Department of Works and subcontractors to build the national highway we now called the Okuk Highway. Others started in Bougainville, Port Moresby and Lae during and after independence and eventually settled in various parts of the country.

So, why am I retelling the story of my father? He was a form 2 going onto form 3 but decided to be a mechanic. So he did – he became a Heavy Diesel Fitter Mechanist a few years after leaving school. His was successful in finding a place because there was demand for workers from companies like Bougainville Copper Mine, Dillingham Brothers and subcontractors.

Any government who wishes to develop skills today will have to create a working plan. A plan that would take into consideration the Grades 8, 10 and 12. And, how these young men and woman can be given the change to develop to their full potential. Begin by asking if are there any companies in Papua New Guinea who would want to make space for the 15 – 16 (Grade 8s), or 17 – 18 (Grade 10s) or 19 – 20 (Grade 12s) year olds. 

The key words are vocational training and apprenticeship. How can the Government creative incentives to attract companies to take in dropouts?

The Opposition (an alternative government) must know that with a K3.7 billion skill development plan, they do not have to create lots of vocational schools, or technical colleges of poly technological institutions. It is not only important to expand the facilities and resources, but to secure a working environment where newbies can rub shoulders with experts. This must be done through work placements and apprentice programs.

In fact, apprenticeship schemes are best programs as students are going to be working with company’s experts and equipment. No doubt, companies will welcome manpower addition to their workforce. But they will not want to pay or accommodate as they are companies wanting to make profit.

If a government comes up with a funded scheme, companies may step in to help. Unlike the early years, today there are World scale extractive, manufacturing, agricultural, building and logging industries in the country. Our current generation can be given the best opportunity if the Government creates are workable platform for companies to take in dropouts.


The opposition have come up with an alternative plan to develop skills. This was a call that came at a time when over 80% of Grades 8, 10 and 12 were dropping out of main stream school. Any government-private partnership for developing skill set in those age groups would be a step in the right direction.