Government Continues Education Subsidies In PNG

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Australia pitching in with $11.9 million

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 7, 2013) – Parents and guardians of students in elementary to grade 12 schools and vocational centers have been informed that Papua New Guinea’s national government will continue to assist them by paying the full school fees for their children this year.

The Acting Secretary for Education Luke Taita reassured the parents, guardians and students in a statement last week.

Meanwhile, Flexible, Open and Distance Education (FODE), Inclusive education and approved permitted schools, will receive a one-off payment of 75 percent of the total cost of the fees. Parents have been reminded to pay the remaining 25 percent

Mr. Taita also said the National Education Board (NEB) in its final meeting last year endorsed the maximum fee limits for 2012 to be maintained in 2013.

Acting secretary Mr. Taita also announced that in 2013, the National Government will purchase and distribute K40 million [US$19.08 million] worth of basic curriculum material kits to all schools, including vocational centers.

Mr. Taita said the Australian government will complement the PNG government’s contribution to the tuition fee free and subsidy payments by paying tuition fees for all elementary children with its share of K25 million [US$11.9 million].

"I would like to thank the government and people of Australia for continuing to fund major programs like the provision of quality education to the children of Papua New Guinea," Mr. Taita said.

He advised all school authorities to read the information provided in the secretary’s circular and Minister’s policy statement which will accompany the payments, and comply with them.

"I would like to remind all parents and guardians that the tuition fees and subsidy from the government will only cover teaching and learning in the classrooms," Mr. Taita said.

"Parents and guardians must be prepared to assist their children’s schools in any projects the schools come up with to improve teaching and learning," he said.

He called on all schools to get approval from their provincial education boards before they can charge parents and guardians project fees.

In order for the smooth distribution of tuition fees and subsidies to happen this year, Mr. Taita is calling on all provincial subsidy coordinators and school census coordinators to send in their schools, 2012 census forms and correct bank account details.

"The payments will be based on the 2012 enrolment data in the school census forms and deposited in the school bank accounts. It is therefore very important that schools open bank accounts with a commercial bank of their choice and send in their correct bank account details to Waigani so that their payments can be deposited into their accounts," Mr. Taita said.

Meanwhile, one of the strategies the department has come up with to start addressing the exit of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) as instructed by the government is the introduction of English as the medium of instruction in all schools from elementary up to higher learning institutions.

"English and local vernacular will also be taught as subjects in elementary schools," Mr. Taita said.

He said local vernacular will not be thrown out altogether but teachers will have the opportunity to continue to use vernacular to explain concepts better.

Mr. Taita said that Ministerial policy statement No. 1/91 and the secretary’s circular No. 1/91, Ministerial policy statement No. 3/99 and secretary’s circular No. 38/99 on language policy in all schools state that while children must be encouraged to learn and use English, all schools at all levels should not discourage free communication in vernacular languages.

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