OBE not suitable or practical for us

Letters, Normal

I would like to refute claims that OBE is practical and good for PNG (The National, Sept 15) by Wabo Wossa.
The writer has forgotten that OBE was bulldozed by AusAID and World Bank.
For the writer’s information, William Spady the founder of OBE, introduced it as a form of education for Red Indians living in reservations in the US.
It was introduced deliberately to keep them confined to their reservations and not to develop their intellectual abilities.
Do the writer and other proponents of OBE want Papua New Guineans to live in reservations and to get an inferior education while education standards around the world and the region are advancing?
We only have to look at Malaysia and Singapore for example.
Their visionary leaders such as Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Kuan Yew had a vision and invested in human resources through emphasis on science, English, mathematics and computer technology.
Today, after 40 years, these two countries are competing with the US, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and other countries in producing highly skilled human resource in science and technology.
Malaysia has a mini “silicon valley” in the centre of its administrative capital near Kuala Lumpur.
PNG has Vision 2050 with the aim to make us wealthy, healthy, happy and wise.
If we are to achieve that dream, we must ensure that we have excellent education facilities with the emphasis on science, mathematics, English and information technology.
This will enable us to produce highly qualified manpower for major projects such as the LNG, Ramu nickel, Ok Tedi, Lihir, Nautilius and others.
Western Australian parents have rejected OBE because they found it has regressed the education standards of their children.
In January 2007, the Western Australian government abandoned most of its OBE curriculum due to massive opposition from teachers and parents.
One of the problems of OBE for students wishing to attend Australian universities is that it does not provide a competitive tertiary entrance rank (TER).
The suggested model for mapping levels to TER has been attacked because it results in a score with more significant digits than the measures from which it is derived and is charged with being mathematically unsound.
Spady promoted the OBE method as a way of getting beyond “meaningless” percentages and marks, aiming for education for life beyond school, giving children and young adults a broader and more transformative education.
OBE was also completely scraped in South Africa this year as it was widely regarded as a failure since its introduction in the late 1990s by the post-apartheid government.
In the US state of Colorado, for example, organised opposition groups have forced educational agencies to rescind reforms.
In Littleton, community members felt that vague, non-academic outcomes were replacing content, and that technically unsound assessments would be used to determine something as important as high school graduation.
They also objected to students being refused a high school diploma if they could not perform 36 separate mathematics skills, despite being given good grades in class.


John M. Samar
Kairiru Island