Cause for incompetent PNG English speakers

Letters, Normal

The National- Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 THE outcomes-based education (OBE) system is not the problem.

I quote a part of an OBE document: 

.What information or content do we want the students to learn from our subject?

. What skills or competencies do we want them to learn or develop?

.What kinds of higher level thinking do you want them to engage in?

.How do we expect students to demonstrate what they have learned and how well they have learned it?

. At the very minimum, what should students know and be able to do when they finish the subject?

The programme seems appropriate however, are there so many complaints recently against OBE. 

Let’s look at the bad command of English from students.

We look at the kind of language used in the family. I live near a neighbour who scolds her children in a hybrid-sort of English … “You think you are what?” What kind of English is that? 

Language studies prove that a person acquires language at an infant stage. 

“When a child is exposed to the environment and by the child’s exploration and investigations acquire skills and language capabilities. 

From the ages of 0-5 years the child will become accustomed to the settings around him or her and will adapt to its surroundings absorbing any information whether good or bad.”

Recently, I corrected a couple of spelling papers from a secondary school. 

One student wrote a short story describing his trip in a Mazda truck with his uncle and aunty. It goes something like this: “I got on with my huncle and hundy in a mazenda”.

So what is the problem then? It is the kind of language a child is born into. 

The policy is not the problem. It is the people – the kind of attitude they have towards this policy. 

Papua New Guineans exude an attitude problem that is disintegrating social, political, financial, religious, educational, and moral development! From personal observations, getting a dux in school is nothing compared to stealing and riding in a stolen vehicle. 

When you compare both, in a Papua New Guinean context, the latter has more appeal for status than the former!

For all its worth, a programme can be sustainable if the transparent and capable human resources are initiating, implementing, and maintaining it. Only then will we see real development! 

The OBE programme is just another system that we should be intelligent and critical enough to make correct and calculated decisions on how it should work for us, instead of letting it drag us down by shifting the blame.

If proper attention and attitudes are taught at home by biological parents (and not uncles, aunt, caretakers and grandparents), the child will cultivate the best of what is learnt at school.

I applaud the government for pumping funds into developing the education sector from this year.

The question is not how efficient and effective the programme is or how much is invested; rather who will implement them.



Peter Sevara Jr