Govt’s commitment should be praised

Editorial

THE Government’s commitment to continue to make education accessible to all children must be praised.
With the introduction of the “tuition fee free” policy, we have seen an increase in the number of children entering the classroom.
It is reassuring that this Government had added the component of quality education into the equation.
Education is normally the acquiring of knowledge as well as the skills that are accepted by a given society.
Education creates an enlightened society.
This is a crucial prerequisite to nation building because the more a people become enlightened the more they would refrain from doing things that will endanger the nation-building efforts.
Education is the key to unlocking the full potential of a country’s human resources
That is a standard by which many nations operate and base their developmental strategies.
In PNG, ask most parents what they prioritise as an important goal for their children and they will most likely say that education and the further training and enhancement of their children is what they strive to achieve.
It is a simple premise: the better educated you are, the more chance you have of finding employment, well-paying employment with favourable conditions and the better off your life will be and following that the better off your family’s life will be.
It is a fact that aside from the everyday costs associated with living in rural or urban areas in this country of seven million-plus inhabitants, one of the biggest expenditures is on education.
The government in 2013 made a decision to abolish what was approved and implemented in 1999, the Outcomes-Based Curriculum and to change to the National Education System to Standards-Based Education by 2021.
This now means the elementary schools will be phased out throughout Papua New Guinea and the pre-schools will be managed under the ward areas.
Grades 1 and 2 will go back to the primary school system, grades 7 and 8 will be with grade 9 and 10 as lower high school, while grades 11 and 12 will remain as senior high schools.
In pre-Independence times, the challenge that faced the colonial government was building up the ranks of skilled workers among the local population to eventually take over the Australian administration.
The challenge then was really about getting as many of the best and brightest students to study and train to become the nation’s first administrators and managers as well as filling in the other positions in society in health, education, industry and so on.
But in today’s time, it is the other way around.
There are a lot more students, many of them bright, capable and keen to learn to better themselves, but they are faced with a range of challenges, one of which is the limited number of spaces available.
With the bottleneck forming at the university/college level, the system has responded with a quota system to deal with the space problem.
This quota system has been achieved twofold.
First, there is the grade point average system and then there is the selection criteria in which students, in their year 12 school lever form, pick their top-three preferred institutions.
It is clear that the number of learning institutions simply cannot accommodate the growing ranks of students pouring into the secondary and tertiary levels on a yearly basis.
It is no secret that the education sector will continue to experience problems at all levels from elementary to tertiary.
These problems in part are unavoidable for a developing economy such as PNG.
Perhaps the biggest challenge that faces the government is how to build the capacity to allow the system to cater for everyone.

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