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Number of schools triple in 20 years

By Jorge Rumaropen PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 8, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Department of Education has made remarkable progress with more children going to school since 1992, a gathering at the official launching of the National Literacy Week was told on Monday at Utu Secondary School in Kavieng, New Ireland Province.

According to the First Assistant Secretary, Curriculum and Standards, Godfrey Yerua who spoke on behalf of the Education Secretary Dr. Joseph Pagelio, the number of schools had increased from 3000 in 1992 to 10,000 in 2010, an increase of 7500 schools [more than a twofold increase.

Students number had also increased from 500,000 to 1.5 million within the same timeframe - an increase of 1 million students, and teachers number had grown from 18,000 to 40,000, having a growth rate of 4.5 per cent. The number of elementary teachers had also grown from zero in 1992 to 14,000 in 2010.

Mr. Yerua also highlighted in his address that the DoE has the obligation under the United Nations Declaration on Education For All (EFA) which PNG government is a signatory, to achieve the EFA goals. Two of which are to ensure that by 2015, all children should have access to free and compulsory primary education of good quality, and to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015.

He said while the country’s literacy rate was 56.2 per cent (2000 Census); there was a need to improve it to 90 percent by 2050. He said the DoE plan of ‘Universal Basic Education 2010-2019’that was implemented in 2010 with free elementary education was developed to improve access to school so that more children could receive quality education and become literate. And when this is so, these children become part of the population that will raise PNG’s literacy rate. Yerua also pointed out that DoE would try through the support of other development partners and stakeholders, to ensure that up to 85 per cent of all school aged children will have access to quality basic education by the end of 2019.

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