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PNG Education Department To Print School Certificates
Acting secretary says ‘cheating’ schools’ papers will be left out

By Wanpis Ako

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 8, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s Department of Education will print certificates for more than 17,000 Grade 12 students in the country despite legal action taken against it by a secondary school in Chimbu, acting secretary for education Luke Taita announced yesterday.

"Under the certification policy of the department, we will not print certificates for schools that are alleged to have cheated in the national exams," he said.

However, serving an interim restraining order to stop any move by the department to print the certificates yesterday in Port Moresby, the lawyer representing 312 students from Kerowagi Secondary School, Jeffery Siki, told The National his clients would claim damages if the defendant did otherwise.

Taita said they would consider other options to give equal opportunities to those students from the 11 schools in the highlands that allegedly cheated, adding that they did not deserve their certificates.

It is understood that the court order was only for Kerowagi Secondary School.

The schools reported to have been penalized for allegedly cheating are Sir Tei Abal Secondary (Enga), Kopen Secondary (Enga), Pausa Secondary (Enga), Minj Secondary (Jiwaka), Togoba Secondary (WHP), Mt Hagen Secondary (WHP), Fatima (WHP), Kerowagi Secondary (Chimbu), Pangia Secondary (SHP), Ialibu Secondary (SHP) and Mogol Secondary (SHP).

"If the allegation is true, we will lose credibility from our government and international partners who have invested much in the sector," Taita said.

"I condemn those students involved. I do not want to hear of such allegations in future."

The changes of grades in the certificates, Taita said, would depend on the terms of reference recommended by an investigation committee.

"For other students from technical, teachers and business colleges, we have already printed 10,000 certificates and dispatched them during their graduation days."

Only Rabaul Business College students, he said, would get theirs during their graduation day in March.

Apart from the outcomes-based education and examination processes investigation teams sanctioned by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the Department of Education would establish a team of its own to investigate the cheating claims.

O’Neill announced last Friday that only 150 students from the schools allegedly involved were selected to continue their tertiary education.

Office of the Higher Education director-general Prof. David Kavanamur said 4,027 Grade 12 students have been selected to further their education.

Kavanamur said that represented a 3% drop in the enrolment compared with the previous year.

There were more than 17,000 Grade 12 attending 116 schools last year.

Only a quarter of them had secured places in higher education institutions this year.

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