Education first, children later

Editorial

A COMMON advice from the time of our forefathers has been along the lines of “complete your education first before getting married”.
Many who adhered to that can testify to the many benefits of it.
There are plenty of stories out there about people who defied the odds and achieved great success
Our prime minister over the years has also been stressing the same, especially to the students.
He has suggested for young people to be discouraged from having children.
In Papua New Guinea, children are the pride of a family and clan and there is nothing more everyone expects of them than to excel academically.
Parents and family members have super-high expectations for their children and are constantly reminding them of those expectations – for daughters especially, “do not get pregnant, drop out of school, or wind up in lousy, low-wage jobs”.
The same is expected for boys.
Most times, families usually throw a party for a child who has just graduated where elders are given the opportunity to share and impart what they know to the younger generation.
We have witnessed gatherings where at times the elders do not beat around telling the young not to have children until they are employed, have enough savings and have their own home.
Look at the general trend worldwide: More women get an education and enter the workforce, they marry and start having kids later in life.
There is no better way to put it then educating our children to delay having children, and of course, sometimes we have to encourage our young people to delay getting married.
In the US, census data shows women who waited to have kids had significantly higher salaries than women of the same age, with the same level of education, who had kids earlier.
That, however, should not be used on the scale as an apple-to-apple comparison against PNG.
However, one can only conclude that the analysis turned to be that way is because of education.
Quality education includes outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.
The young population must be educated to a standard to understand the advantages and disadvantages of having children very early in life.
It’s becoming a common sight to see young couples getting married early while they have not secured decent employment, have not finished their university or tertiary education, are not skilled, do not have an income level to look after the child that they bring into this world.
The burden most times falls back on the parents.
It is not just any education but quality education from the urban to rural schools.
Many definitions of quality in education exist, testifying to the complexity and multifaceted nature of the concept.
It teaches the children resilience so they can recover quickly from difficulties.
Failing that, the population of PNG will continue to increase as an alarming rate.
The population of Papua New Guinea now stands around eight million.
The growth rate is now a concern, putting a strain on government funding.
Quality education highlights a lot of things.

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