UNDER the leadership of Governor Paias Wingti, education in Western Highlands is a priority as demonstrated by the Governor’s initiative of building more high schools and secondary schools. (Green House Policy).
The idea is good to give basic education up to grade 12 to the increasing young population.
As a former student, I had many dreams after reaching grade 12 and most important dream was to further my education to a college to University to qualify for a job.
However, today two thirds of grade 12 school leavers do not have that opportunity, only one third manage to pursue further studies into tertiary institutions.
It is a national issue but for Wingti, a former prime minister and advocate of free education, what are the alternatives for these increasing number of school leavers every year for the province?
My suggestions are as follows;
Improve our elementary school system by recruiting all elementary teachers from teachers colleges. Many teachers college graduates are still roaming the streets. They should be utilised.
All elementary schools should use English as a medium of learning.
Build more technical and agricultural schools.
We have few existing ones to accommodate the school leavers.
Fund the existing technical and agricultural colleges i.e. equipment for learning and more classrooms and teachers houses to be built.
Bring in more qualified technical teachers and further training for our existing local teachers.
Give students lifetime skills so they are useful in their lives and communities and so they are not frustrated.
For now, Western Highlands province has sufficient high schools and secondary schools to accommodate the increasing student population.
The governor focus on building more teachers houses, classrooms, science labs, computer labs and dormitories for students.
Try pay a visit to a secondary school and see the appalling conditions for yourself.
Recruit qualified teachers from recognised intuitions who have better GPAs.
It’s very embarrassing and frustrating to teachers who teach in the classrooms can’t even speak and write proper English.
Specially trained teachers in different subject areas should be recruited especially in science, math, computing and social science.
Principals and headmasters in schools should be properly screened.
These days many principals and headmasters in schools are politically appointed.
Looks like most of them are cronies of certain group.
Some of them become overnight rich.
The question is where are they getting the money from?
They need to be properly audited.
I have witnessed some principals addressing crowd and students in very poor spoken English.
Western Highlanders are generally hard working people who work on their land to pay school fees.
However, at this time due to the current economic situation as an impact from the Covid-19, parents are really having tough time paying fees.
While the idea of free education is a brain child of Paias Wingti, other provinces are utilising to the maximum especially the neighboring provinces.
How about Western highlands?
I recommend for a committee totally independent without any form of interference from outside for principals and teacher selections.
I have seen politicians directly involved in the selection process.
The education board (PEB) has lost direction with so many outside influences.
We will have hope for our increasing number of school leavers and also have quality education system for Western Highlands if my suggestions are adhered to.
Education and human resource is the backbone of any province and country as a whole.