Tech schools to absorb dropouts

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The National,Monday June 27th, 2016

Education acting secretary Dr Uke Kombra says academic and vocational skills will have to be combined in schools to give the increasing number of school dropouts every year a chance.
He said this at a meeting of department heads in Port Moresby on Friday in answer to a question from the National Development Bank managing director Moses Liu.
Liu said the increasing number of school dropouts was becoming a major concern and asked Dr Kombra what his department was doing about it.
“There seems to be a big time-bomb that we are sitting on,” Liu said.
“For instance, the latest statistics we’ve had states that about 17,000 out of 22,000 students who come out of the high school system every year are not employable.
“So there is this stifling 85 per cent of students who drop out of the system.
“What is your department doing in respect to this?”
Dr Kombra said there would be about 50,000 students coming out of Grade 10 and 25,000 out of Grade 12 this year.
“Of this, about 25 per cent of the Grade 12s are getting into institutions,” he said.
“The bulk are not going into formal institutions.
“Therefore, we have to provide for these children coming out of our Grade 12 system.
“Going into technical education is one pathway.”
Dr Kombra said there were some institutions in the country that were already combining academic and technical teaching.
“There are some very good model schools like Caritas, Don Bosco that teach 50 per cent academic and 50 per cent vocational subjects,” he said.
“We also allow for that to happen so that when students graduate, they have two different qualifications.
“The department is looking at establishing that type of education where there’s 50 per cent vocational and 50 per cent academic.
“But if the school wants to offer academic only, then there must be a stronger component of practical skills or home economics.”