Better education structure needed


THE need to embrace the new education structure and curriculum reform is urgent for Papua New Guinea as a member of the global village.
It is interesting yet a very unfortunate scenario at this stage to note that the introduction of the 3-6-4 education structure to the education system in 2003, in line with the controversial outcome based education, contributed immensely to the current declining education standard in the last 12 years.
It is very unfortunate that we cannot do much for a generation of Papua New Guineans affected by a system of very grossly criticised education system.
The structure may be conducive in other countries such as America and Australia where access to the teaching and learning facilities is appropriate.
But in the PNG, it is a very sad story and we cannot continue the same trend in this fast changing time.
The 3-6-4 structure stands for: first three years of elementary education (pre-school, elementary 1 and elementary 2); second six years primary education (grade 3-8); and four years secondary education (grade 9-12).
The Education Department in the process of implementing the 3-6-4 structure had the luxury to create more employment opportunities, registering a lot of elementary schools throughout the country and creating a lot of elementary teaching positions.
It may seem a golden opportunity for those who exited the education system through grades 6, 8, 10 and 12.
However, the sad part is unqualified school leavers are given a class to teach and undergo a trainer programme called the Trainer Directed Training (TDT). It is a structure that is not only inappropriate but unethical for our generation of citizens of this country.
The TDT conducted by the elementary trainers were mostly teachers with primary school teaching background who were not adequately trained early childhood trainers, hence the content delivered was based on primary school teaching experience.
The result at this stage is the level of oral and written communication at the tertiary level of studies and declining moral and ethical values in our society. The country in 2020 and beyond needs to take careful stock of our past mistakes and embrace the current 1-6-6 structure in line with the Standard Based Education curriculum in which the children would be learning eight subjects which includes the citizenship and Christian values education.
The following should be considered: Have early childhood training institutionalised in the current pre- service teachers colleges.

  • THE country needs highly qualified and certified early childhood teachers to teach pre-school to lay a concrete foundation to an individual’s education journey;
  • HAVE qualified grade 12 school leavers selected by the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology to go into the existing recognised teachers college to teach primary grade 1-6; and,
  • THE country needs to upgrade the teachers college programmes to degree and specialised teaching in primary education.

Our children should know which stream line they should be in primary education and not in the second term of grade 11.
With the current review of the tuition fee free education policy and the introduction of the higher education loan programme (HELP), parents would take ownership of their children’s education.
Those who cannot afford the ever increasing cost of tertiary education would be relieved by the HELP policy.
It is a win-win policy and as such there is hope for this country with the current wind of change in the Government.
The future of this country depends on the quality of education its citizens benefit from to make very well inform decisions in life.

Dzobe Aipo Lowaseksen Kaman’awau