CONGRATULATIONS to the O’Neill Government for the establishment of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy.
This policy has been in effect since 2011.
Today we begin to see the actual realisation of the policy with the increase in enrolments, the reduction in the parent’s financial burdens, access to education and many more. However, as an educationist, I also realise that there are problems being faced by students, the school boards and the teachers and head teachers.
One is the TFF finance itself, which has three components – administration, infrastructure and teaching and learning.
Most school authorities have easy access to the administrative component, but have difficulty in obtaining the other two components because of the terms and conditions affixed to them.
I physically checked five primary schools along the Huon Gulf coast in Morobe and found the number of textbooks and teaching and learning materials did not match the number of children enrolled per grade.
Classrooms spaces were also too small and did not match the number of pupils, and there were hardly any new accommodation built to attract new teachers.
The national government, which is the initiator of the TFF policy and funder, is not getting enough real time on-the-ground situational reports by the relevant government departments in the areas of implementation, monitoring and reporting.
This is our country. Young people are the assets of this nation and I encourage all of you to share what you see around you so that adjustments can be made for us to make the most of this policy, and other policies and benefits yet to come.
Jack Kukiwa, Lae