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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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

Government Releases Subsidies To Schools In PNG
11,000 schools expected to receive funding by weekend

By Kolopu Waima

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 30, 2013) – The O’Neill-Dion Government has released K238 million [US$112.3 million] as the first tranche cash payment of tuition fee-free funds for 2013 to all schools throughout Papua New Guinea.

Acting Education Minister James Marape, while announcing this yesterday, said that the Government was honoring its commitment of providing free education for the citizens of this country.

Mr. Marape, who is also the Minister for Finance, said the K238 million would cover fees for students attending elementary schools to grade 12 and vocational centers and subsidized fees for permitted schools. Mr. Marape said the funds would be disbursed to all schools through their school bank accounts.

He urged schools which did not have accounts to ensure they immediately opened their accounts with banks and advise the Department of Education headquarters in Port Moresby.

The Minister said the Government was committed to providing quality education for the children of this country and had placed education among its top priorities since assuming office in August 2012.

Mr. Marape has appealed to the schools not to collect any school fees from the students during enrollments.

He said projects frees charged by schools must be based on fees approved by the Provincial Education Boards (PEB).

Minister Marape said according to statistics provided by the Education department, 11,000 schools had their accounts ready while 5,000 schools had yet to open their bank accounts, and a total 1.3 million students would benefit from the Government’s free education policy. The 11,000 schools will receive their funds by the end of this week.

He appealed to schools that do not have accounts to open their accounts as soon possible so they are not inconvenienced.

Mr. Marape said it was the schools’ responsibility to open their accounts. Any school that did not have a bank account would miss out on receiving their funds, he said. These funds are from the K652 million [US$307.7 million] appropriated for the tuition fee-free policy and money will be paid in three tranches.

The second tranche will be made available in late February or early March.

Acting Secretary for Education Luke Taita said the Government had fulfilled its commitment.

Mr. Taita said the Department of Education was appealing to the students to study hard and get value out of what was invested in them.

"We want quality education so the students of today can help develop our country in the future," Mr. Taita said.

Minister Marape has appealed to schools to accept students and ensure that there is no disruption to the resumptions of classes next Monday February 4.

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