By BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
EDUCATION Minister James Marape is eyeing the windfall from the US$15 billion (K42 billion) PNG LNG project to facilitate the universal basic education (UBE) programme.
Mr Marape said the current budget allocation was insufficient to meet the UBE demands and said K1 billion a year would do the trick.
“To make the UBE programme work, we need close to a billion kina a year dedicated to the education sector,” he said.
“The reality is the Government does not have the means to implement the programme,” Mr Marape added.
The reason, according to the minister, is that proper infrastructure and systems have are yet to be put in place.
He said education played a key role in the development of a nation, and it must be sufficiently funded to realise the full potential.
Basic education is one of the Government’s seven priority areas under its medium term development strategy (MTDS).
The Department of Education has been taking the lead to improve access, participation and quality of all levels of education, under the education reform since 1993.
Although there has been some progress, the road towards achieving the international goal of UBE remains a challenge.
And that is why the minister is confident that the PNG LNG project has immense potential to make a difference, in education and all other development aspects.
“I am confident that immense changes will also take place in the education sector, once we start receiving revenue from the LNG project,” Mr Marape said.
The Government believes the UBE should be considered as an investment in the country, as education is closely linked to other social and economic indicators.
Mr Marape, the MP for Tari-Pori, also assured the Government and the operator of the PNG LNG project that the project’s security would be guaranteed by his people.
“The Government remains committed to achieving the UBE, one of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.