THE Catholic bishops annual meeting last week heard that legal action is probably needed to prompt the Government into action to meet its obligations in education through the church.
“If the demands are not met the following year, there will be an appropriate legal action taken to protect the rights of the people for quality education that has been destroyed by the current Government,” Bishop Rochus Tatamai told a press conference on Friday.
The president of Catholic Bishops Conference from PNG and the Solomons Islands and Kavieng diocese said sensitive issues discussed at the meeting affected people and the work the church used to do in PNG and the Solomons.
“One of the issues that really needs to be highlighted is regarding our partnership with the Government in providing basic services like education to the people,” he said. “We accordingly call for a fundamental re-orientation of our attitudes and the institutions of government, commerce, education and religion towards PNG forms of participation and consensus.
“We also call for a continuous renewal of the responsiveness of these institutions to the needs and attitudes of the people.
“These are the values that we believe should be the basis of our
partnership with the State in providing education services to our people.
“However, in the past six years, our experience in the field of education is that there has been no consultation, very little consensus and lack of participation in decision-making.”
Among many of the issues faced by Catholic church education agencies, Tatamai said, included:
- Teaching council had not met since last year;
- no consultation about the new school structure and cost analysis;
- grand in aid to help church agencies with administrative costs not met since 2011; and,
- Mistreatment by the Government and the Education Department of church schools regarding Tuition Fee Free funding.
In regards to those issues, Tatamai said that as a church, it is now asking the government to deliver what it needs to be.