The National, Friday 24th August 2012
EDUCATION Minister Paru Aihi wants to see a highly educated and skilled nation in the near future.
He said his primary job was to ensure the government’s desired outcomes for education were realised.
“One obvious outcome is that we must provide quality foundational education because it secures greater opportunities for individuals who work hard at this level.”
In a statement this week, Aihi said this would not happen unless there was a quality foundational education and a shift in the current “paradigm”.
“If, for example, the relevant laws that govern the education sector are proven to be counter-productive to delivering quality foundational education, they must be reviewed and amended.”
He preferred the hierarchy of Education Department provided advice on this as soon as possible.
Of great concern to him was that educated people did not have faith in public schools, resulting in them sending their children to private schools despite the high costs.
“I want us to close the obvious widening gap between private and public schools,” Aihi said.
“That means we must raise our standards and our research units must ensure our curriculum are world class,” he said.
He said unlike the previous governments since the Wingti era, they had introduced and funded a fee-free tuition fee policy, releasing a total of K602 million in the last 12 months to fund the concept.
He said critics would say that what they were doing was not sustainable but successive governments had “squandered or misapplied” millions of kina with nothing to show for the expenses.
“This is the money the government is adamant it can save and spend on education.
“In the long term, all things well, citizens will have more money in their pockets, Papua New Guinea will realise the medium-term development goals and have educated citizens,” Aihi said.
He said the government was focused on delivering its education policy, beginning with the fee-free concept that had begun throughout the country.
Funding for the second phase of the project was made this week.