By YVONNE HAIP
Teachers in Western Highlands are planning to go on strike to get rid of the outcome based education (OBE) system.
The teachers have given a 20-days notice to Education authorities and Minister James Marape to publicly debate the system, which has drawn widespread criticism in recent times.
The 20-day notice expired last Friday with no response.
The teachers, through their organisation Teachers Rights Movement group, signed a petition and held a public rally in Mt Hagen last month, challenging Marape to a public debate.
The teachers argue that OBE was not in the best interest of teachers and students.
They said as implementers of the system, they were concerned about the students and were willing to engage in a public debate with authorities so that solutions could be discussed.
They now plan to hold a sit in protest or would not return to classes until education authorities meet with them.
The teachers said they had deferred their strike to next week due to the Grade 8 examinations being conducted this week.
Teachers from the elementary, primary, high, secondary, and technical schools have all shown interest in the public debate.
Spokesperson, Nius Rom, who teaches Grades 11 and 12 history at Mt Hagen Park Secondary School, said the public forum would discuss factors brought on by OBE.
He said these included class size where teachers taught more than 30 students in a class, lack of student material, failure in the education delivery system, teachers work conditions, and the purpose of the teachers union.
He said teachers would be “exercising their freedom of expression to professionally call for changes for the betterment of the future generation”.
He said the teachers would take a firm stand on the matter and were willing to “put their jobs on the line” as it was for a worthy cause.
“We are now on the crossroads, that is whether to make changes and improve the failing education system or ignore these calls,” Rom said.
“We cannot pretend that nothing is wrong and start to jump up and down later after the whole education system has collapsed,” he added.
Rom also said that from the classroom perspective, the reform system which began in 1995, had failed to achieve its intended purpose of quality relevant education over the past 15 years and would continue if not addressed.
The teachers said they had carried out their research and would produce facts and figures during the debate.