The National, Thursday 20th September, 2012
By STARZA PAUL
OPPOSITION member of parliament Tobias Kulang has criticised the government’s tuition-free education policy, saying it will only eat up public funds.
Kulang, the shadow minister for public enterprise, said from Kundiawa the policy was implemented without proper planning and analysis.
“The prime minister is expanding an inordinate amount of national resource, estimated at over K2 billion, to achieve his dream without proper analysis and planning,” he said.
He was reacting to O’Neill’s statement during independence anniversary celebrations last Sunday that his government was committed to pursuing the policy and making it work.
O’Neill said the government was serious about growing the nation’s future through prudent and stable economic and political management.
Kulang, the Kundiawa-Gembogl MP, said related issues of quantity versus quality, delivery modes, teacher to student ratio, infrastructures such as classrooms and teachers houses, salaries and community empowerment, were not even considered when the policy of free education was implemented.
Kulang warned that the free education policy could lead to a budget shortfall forcing the government to either re-allocate money or raise taxes to balance it.
“When the government does this, the ordinary people will pay dearly through increased prices of goods and services and the people will have to face these consequences sooner or later.”
He said the government must be realistic and let the people know that they would face hardships and make sacrifices to make these million-kina policy workable.
He described it as probably the most expensive policy undertaken by the government.