By PAUL SINGE
OVERCROWDING and lack of space was common at elementary schools in Eastern Highlands province as parents flocked in with children to benefit from the free elementary education which begins this year under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) policy.
Parents rushed to elementary schools within Goroka town to enroll their children, but most found that the schools had already enrolled the number required.
Seigu and East Goroka elementary schools where The National visited, found the classes had more than the 45 required number of children.
Some parents said their children had the right to basic elementary education but could not do much as enrolment had already exceeded the required number.
Head teacher of Segu Elementary School, Inapero Lore, said this year would be a very challenging year for all elementary teachers in the country, because when the National Government announced free education for elementary schools in PNG; parents took advantage and pushed children in regardless of age requirements.
He said some children were over the required age of seven years, and the problem facing them was limited space availability in the classroom.
“Kids have every right to be educated and we do not have power to deprive them of their rights so we continue to enroll them.
“But where would we teach them, in the classroom or under the tree and what types of materials are we going to use to teach them,” he said.
He appealed to the Government saying that while providing free education was very, but there were no facilities like classrooms to cater for the influx.
He also said that free educations encourages parents to become lazy and the Government should also train a lot of teachers to meet the increasing number of enrolments.
East Goroka elementary school head teacher, Benson Tobiho, said their elementary school is the biggest in Goroka but is likely to face space problems.
“We will confirm at the end of the week and might perhaps reject some students,” he said.