PAPUA New Guinea is expected to require more than 211,033 spaces for elementary enrolments in 2014, according to the 2000 national census and 2005 enrolment figures.
Lae MP and Deputy opposition leader Bart Philemon said this meant that capacity for 4,000 elementary schools would be needed to be expanded by some 20%.
Speaking at the PNG church Partnership forum in Lae at the Melanesisan Hotel on Tuesday night, he said by 2015, more than 800 elementary schools would be needed.
Last year, the nation had 165,185 students due for enrolment, based also on the 2000 census and 2005 enrolment figures.
Mr Philemon said by 2014, this number had to be expanded to 194 with 460 students.
With 3,300 primary schools at present, an additional 20% capacity or 660 schools will be needed.
Although the universal primary education target was Grade 12 for all children, Mr Philemon said the Government had not discussed how to facilitate this.
“We have not discussed the number of teachers required, the curriculum materials, land for the schools, water and power access and even transport access,” he said.
Mr Philemon said they had not also even discussed the secondary schools’ capacity requirement for Grades Nine- 12.
He also highlighted that PNG’s current illiteracy rate is 44%.
Aside from this, Mr Philemon said the country still had high drop out rates arising from family and school fee problems and peer pressure.
He stressed that it was important that people were educated to understand their rights and be empowered to improve their livelihoods.