Vital to address falling education standards

Letters, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I would like to reply to Joel Rare’s letter “Blame structural reform, not OBE” (The National, Dec 9).
The writer’s assertion that it is the structural reform that is to be blamed for the failures of OBE is not quite true; in fact, that is only part of the problem. 
For any system and establishment to function effectively, different areas within the system must work in cohesion to achieve the desired overall outcomes and goals.
OBE was not a well thought-out and planned from day one, be it structural or curriculum.
Having read part 4 of a series of articles on outcomes-based education by Aaron Hayes, someone who has been involved with PNG education system and a well respected educationist, I am of the view, and most Papua New Guinean parents would agree, OBE in general is bad for our children’s education and learning.
Not only that but also for the future of this country.
It is interesting to note that both questions put to Hayes were answered with blatant “no” and he was able to provide detailed explanations to support his arguments: Is outcomes-based learning teacher friendly, and was introducing outcomes-based learning our only option to improving our education system?
It is high time the politicians and the bureaucrats get their acts together to address OBE and find solutions to arrest falling education standards.
To revert to old system would be a more practical option, although  not perfect, the standard of education  and success rate in Grades 8,  10 and 12 examinations are better compared to current OBE system.
The old system can be improved by putting in place mechanism and resources, and identify areas that require improvement.
After all, it has served PNG well.
Not long ago, the OBE system was found to be not meeting the education and learning needs of children in South Africa with 60% failure rate and, as a result, OBE was abolished. 
A failure rate of this magnitude must be a real cause of concern for parents and I see no reason why the same cannot be done in PNG –  get rid of OBE.