30% Of School Age Kids In PNG Not In School: Secretary

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Poor access, low retention, poor quality cited as reasons

By Grace Auka Salmang

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 17, 2015) – About 600,000 children do not go to school at all, have dropped out for various reasons and do not complete their basic primary education, Education Secretary Michael Tapo said yesterday.

The frightening statistic represents 30 per cent of school-aged children.

"The education sector has seen significant achievements during the past years with the net enrolment rate in basic education increasing from 53 per cent in 2007 to 74 per cent in 2013, yet key challenges remain," Mr Tapo said.

These challenges included poor access to schools, low student retention rates and issues in the quality of education and getting children to school at the right time and age," Mr Tapo said.

"The causes are many – from the prohibitive distance from school to parents not supporting their children’s attendance to fear of violence in schools, which particularly affects girls.

"Even among those children who do go to school, many drop out."

He said by 2030 every child would complete their education after Grade 12 and there would be no dropouts after Grade Eight or Grade 10.

Mr Tapo said the task ahead was not just to ensure that current out-of-school children got a good education but also to make sure that in the near future, there were no children missing out of school.

Unicef) PNG representative Bapa Danpapa quoted from a new joint report from the Unesco Institute of Statistics and Unicef saying that PNG was among countries where the 63 million adolescents, between the ages of 12 to 15 years, were denied their right to an education.

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