Thousands to miss out on Gr 9 spots next year

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SOME 3,000 Grade Eight students from primary schools in the Eastern Highlands province will not find space in high schools to do Grade Nine next year.
This is because authorities did not plan earlier to create space in existing high schools to cater for this increased number.
“There has been lack of proper planning over the years to accommodate the increasing student population and expansions of primary school in existing high and secondary schools,” Eastern Highlands provincial examination supervisor, Felix Dennis, said.
He said out of the 5,000 Grade Eight students in more than 1,000 primary schools in the province, who will be sitting for their final national examination starting on Monday, only 2,000 would find spaces in existing high and secondary schools.
Mr Dennis blamed the Government for lack of vision and planning to build more secondary and high schools and expand facilities in existing schools.
He said it was sad that a high number of Grade Eight students leaving would not have a place in high school next year.
“There are not enough spaces in the 12 high schools. Only 2,000 out of the 5,000 Grade Eight students will be accommodated.
“The cut-off mark to get them in would be higher 70 and above out of 120. More students will continue to miss out until more high and secondary schools are built,” Mr Dennis said.
He said those who miss out should not be regarded as failures and urged them to get into distance learning.
The Government last week officially launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) system, which begins next year. This system will see an expansion in elementary schools, which will be free of fees.
The UBE will be implemented over 10 years and will cost K16 billion, much of which is
to be spent on recruiting and paying more teachers, and building school infrastructure like classrooms and houses for teachers.
It is aimed at ensuring the number of those who cannot go on to Grade Nine after primary school is reduced.
Mr Dennis was speaking to 46 Grade Eight students from Iufi Iufa Primary School at a function in Goroka to prepare for the examinations.