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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

PNG Schools To Receive Split Education Subsidies In 2013
Half will go to schools, half will go to supply vendors

By Moua Omoa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 13, 2012) – Acting Education Minister James Marape says the free-tuition fee component will be provided in two parts to Papua New Guinea schools next year – cash and equipment.

The government has opted to split the subsidy because schools have failed to provide evidence of how they used the cash this year.

"We will directly deposit 50% cash to school accounts and the other 50% will be diverted to a private partner to supply teachers and students with teaching and learning material, including textbooks, biros, pencils and rulers, to name a few," Marape said.

"This will enhance the government’s private-public partnership (PPP) model and also supply the needs of a school."

Gordon Secondary School Deputy Principal Patrick Keanga said before changing the components of the subsidy, there should be an inspection of what the schools needed.

Keanga said there were different types of schools, primary and secondary, and there were day and boarding schools which had different needs in terms infrastructure.

"With the government’s intention to have Grades 7 to 12 in the one school, a lot of funding will be required. One can imagine the increase in population which requires an increase in the number classrooms, school material and teaching staff.

"Schools will then review their manpower capacities, their salaries, their accommodation, especially for boarding schools, and the required teachers training because at this time some primary school teachers are teaching Grades 7 and 8 subjects and even Grades 9 and 10 teachers are teaching Grades 11 and 12 students."

He said in terms of the cash component, there should be a monitor or inspection mechanism in place, particularly in the rural areas, to ensure schools used the money directed to development purposes.

Keanga said doing away with the outcomes-based education curriculum was good but ample time should be given to properly switch from the system.

"Reorganizing Grades 7 and 8 students back in secondary schools will be an expensive exercise and will be chaotic in terms of a number of issues, including classrooms, teaching staff, examinations and so on."

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