Marape wants education to be priority

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, June 14, 2011

EDUCATION Minister James Marape has called on provincial governments to follow the footsteps of New Ireland, Enga and other provincial governments that have prioritised the education of their children and follow suit.
He congratulated provincial governors Sir Julius Chan, Peter Ipatas and others for allocating funds in their annual budget towards payment of fees for children in their respective provinces and for those attending tertiary institutions in other provinces.
Marape said during a press conference last Thursday in Port Moresby that while the government had a clear free education policy for up to Grade 8 and partnership school fee subsidy for high schools, colleges and universities, the responsibility was on development partners and stakeholders to alleviate some of the costs involved.
He said partners could help in classroom construction and maintenance, teacher training and houses and dormitories for schools.
Marape said the National Alliance-government had a policy on paying for education for elementary and primary students to help in the implementation of universal basic education.
“As a responsible government, we have considered the impacts on the budget if we were to implement this policy across the board and at one go,” he said.
“We have decided to spread this over four years until 2013 when elementary up to primary schools will be free,” he said.
Marape said free education would require additional classrooms, teachers, teachers’ houses, science laboratories other important resources to offer quality education.
“From preliminary scoping established to holistically make the free education policy work we would need an annual budget of about K1.7 billion.
Consistent appropriation will make the education sector deliver quantity and quality education,” he said.