Is education failing PNG?

Letters

I, as a patriotic citizen and student, would like to express my views on how the TFF policy has been implemented since its formulation.
In 2012, the PNG Government introduced the tuition-fee free (TFF) policy, which effectively eliminated tuition fees for students in elementary schools up to grade 10.
The policy put into action the PNG Government’s Universal Basic Education (UBE) plan (2010-2019), which aims to ensure that “all school-aged children have equal access to quality, basic education in order to contribute to the development of the country” (National Department of Education).
However, I think the Government lacks workable and realistic strategies to successfully implement it. The TFF policy has increased the enrollment of students nationwide and as a result we have 26,000 to 30,000 grade 12 graduates annually. Out of those graduates only 4000 are considered for further studies, leaving 22,000-plus student drop-outs despite many of them scoring good grades and the required GPA.
Our tertiary institution has limited spaces availabilities to cater for the ever-increasing number of students every year. Furthermore those who have graduated from tertiary institutions are roaming the streets with their degrees and diplomas because there are no jobs, and yet the government is enrolling more students through its unrealistic TFF policy.
What is the government doing? Walk around the streets of Port Moresby and you will see street vendors, thieves, beggars and criminals fighting for survival each day. They have no other hope because their rights to education have been deprived them through our so-called education system and standard.
The TFF policy appears to take away resources from other complementary and necessary components of the education system

  • Teachers’ training
  • Teachers’ pay
  • Oversight mechanisms

I therefore urge the government to invest more in the education sector and build more classrooms and engage investors in our country to create job opportunities for our graduates.

Nason Mul Solo
UPNG Student

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