The National, Tuesday December 17th, 2013
THE government is making a huge K1.5 billion investment in education in the 2014 budget.
The priority on education is well appreciated and acknowledged, but a more equitable financial distribution is necessary to reflect the reality of individual schools in the country.
Such information could be collected through a survey to provide profiles of each school and its development needs.
Findings by the National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC) in partnership with the Department of Education were revealed in the national education board meeting in Alotau and needs to be considered and implemented if improvements are to be made.
The cost of running schools in remote locations is high, which in turn affects other aspects of school operations.
The level of financial commitments by remote schools is reflected by the availability and commitment of education officers.
The longer teachers wait to be served, the higher the costs and with little or no support, most of these schools make very little progress as reflected by their overall performance each year.
In comparison, schools that have easy access tend to attract more attention in physical development and have more resource material as well as staffing.
For these reasons, equitable distribution of funds needs to be considered to accommodate the needs of individual schools and lift those schools lagging behind.
The recommendation by NEFC chairman Hohora Suva to develop a need-based framework is a way forward as it would promote and streng then the five pillars of education (access, retention, quality, equity and overall management).
For such a strategy to work, the onus is on the government, through provincial education divisions to create profiles of each school that include their development needs.
The data generated would then be used to identify and prepare plans to improve overall school performance.