PNG SCHOOL SYSTEM SETS STUDENT FEES FOR 2008

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 23, 2008) - The National Education Board has released its recommendation for fees for the year, ranging from PGK90 [US$33] for elementary prep to PGK1,300 [US$483] for Grade 12 boarders, and PGK2,800 [US$1,041] for technical colleges.

Board chairman Dr. Joseph Pagelio, who is also the Secretary for Education, said that in drawing up the fee limits, they took into account the need to keep costs as low as possible but at the same time, ensure that the schools and institutions received sufficient funds to operate.

He said the recommendations were only estimates of how much a school would need for each student in order to remain open for the year.

"They will guide provincial education authorities and the Education Department to set realistic and affordable fees for parents," he said.

The recommendations are:

The recommended maximum fee for students at the Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) is PGK80 per subject.

Fees for students attending in-service teacher training at the Primary Teachers College and PNGEI range from PGK337.50 to PGK2,3750 depending on their sponsorships.

Fees vary for technical and business colleges, depending on the length and nature of courses.

Tuition fee for a full-year (44 weeks) Diploma or Technical Training Certificate is PGK2,800 plus PGK1,800 messing fees for boarding students.

Students enrolling in full-time one and two-year courses are also required to pay PGK250 per year as administration fee.

Mr. Pagelio said in cases where the schools felt that they would not be able to manage with the fees recommended, they could negotiate with the parents.

He said they must obtain the approval of the provincial education board first before they could collect higher fees.

"Turning students away from schools for non-payment of fees should be the last resort after school boards have exhausted all other available methods to ensure that parents with outstanding fees honor their obligations to contribute to the education of their children.

"For students who cannot afford to pay the fees, they can pay in kind, such as by doing work during weekends or holidays.

"Parents could also provide labor, building materials or food for boarding students.

"The decision as to which component should be paid in cash and what should constitute ‘kind’ will be left to school boards to decide," he said.

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