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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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

PNG Tertiary Student Selections Delayed
School selectors unable to being student placements

By Kolopu Waima

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 19, 2012) – More than 17,000 students who completed grade 12 this year could miss out on a placing in Papua New Guinea’s tertiary institutions next year.

In a new controversy that would further infuriate the O’Neill Government, national selectors who flew into Port Moresby to select students for tertiary studies in 2013 were told upon arrival that students’ marks from the national examinations were not ready.

The selectors represent PNG’s universities, teachers’ colleges, nursing colleges and technical colleges and were scheduled to undertake the formal selection process this week.

Office of Higher Education’s assistant director (student support and scholarships) Joseph Morimai, who was to coordinate the process, revealed that the Education Department’s measurement services unit (MSU) had yet to finalize the marks.

"Normally we select the students in the first week of December. Now we are two weeks behind. We are really behind time and it will definitely affect the 2013 academic year.

"I have been checking with MSU since Monday and the reason they gave me… all I could tell you the media now is that the marks are not ready. What was the reason for the delay in processing the marks is I could not tell as I do not know. It is all up to MSU," Mr. Morimai said.

It is believed 116 secondary schools in PNG would be affected by this delay. It is not known when the marks would be ready for the selectors, who have until this Friday to complete the job.

Attempts by Mr. Morimai to get the MSU to fast-track the process failed, with the OHE official later telling more than 100 selectors at a Port Moresby hotel that there was nothing much he could do.

Divine Word University’s vice president (student affairs), Dr Andrew Simpson, said they only had five days to do the selection and had already wasted two waiting around for the MSU.

The MSU and the Department of Education are yet to give the selectors an official explanation for the administrative bungle, with Dr Simpson admitting that they would need to look at other options if the status quo remains unchanged.

The unavailability of the grade 12 marks adds to the scrutiny that the department has come under in recent weeks, with the O’Neill Government’s 40-day ultimatum to the department to remove the outcome based education (OBE) concept still outstanding.

PNG Post-Courier:
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