AusAID hands over assets

National, Normal


THE time has come for Papua New Guinea to take over the AusAID- funded basic education development project (BEDP), a senior education offical has said.
First assistant secretary for policy, planning and research with the Education Department, John Josephs, said this on Wednesday during the handover of assets under BEDP to education advisers in the New Guinea Islands region in Kokopo.
“There will be time when PNG will have to stand on its own two feet and what the Australian government through BEDP has provided, is only the tip of the iceberg and not everything, it is for us to look at it do the same.”
He said PNG could do the same and it must not be scared of the change but look for ways to find money and build more infrastructure and not rely on Australia.
Josephs said the education system in PNG dealt with about 1.6 million children,  40,000 teachers in teaching service and 10,000 schools and was a mammoth task to think about providing education facilities and infrastructure to make schooling environments more conducive for both teachers and students.
He added that the size of the system was so huge that even the Education Department and the  government could not do it themselves and, for that reason, the government had asked the Australian government to help implement the country’s ideas.
“The classrooms, teachers’ houses, toilet facilities being built at our school are our own ideas but we do not have the resources to build them.”
Meanwhile, BEDP team leader Chris Manu said six years ago, since BEDP’s inception, it now operates in all provinces providing capacity building to support the Education Department, districts and communities in the development and maintenance of school infrastructure.
He said the scope of BEDP was also broadened this year with a national distribution of school text books and training resources distributed to all primary and community schools.
All works are due to be completed by next month.
This was when BEDP would wind up and a newly designed education sector support programme will commence next year.
He said the handover ceremony where AusAID, in partnership with both NDoE and provincial education divisions, fulfilled the contract condition between AusAID and the Australian managing contractor and Coffey International Development.