Weekly Commentaries

This is Sunday Chronicle's weekly commentaries on various issues of interest affecting the country. All individual commentators are done by elite Papua New Guineans from diverse educational backgrounds.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Universal education in first 20 years of Vision 2050



Fully paid up costs of education for all by Government in the first 20 years of PNGV2050 as a prerequisite for pillar number one
GOVERNMENT and people of this country ought to rethink in the way we have been used to doing business to develop and advance in this century. From the seven pillars of the Papua New Guinea Vision 2050, the number one priority is acceleration and sustaining of human capital over the planned period.

To help all citizens to realize their full potentials, revolutionary, innovative and creative ways must be instituted to help everyone who needs education in all faculties. This will mean opening up opportunities and offering incentives. The practice of paying school fees must be reviewed with the view to abolishing all fees. National high schools must be fixed from their run down conditions, boarding schools built for remote communities, with preferences given to the girl child to attend. Faith based organisations, especially the mainline churches be encouraged and supported financially to run educational institutions. Tertiary and institutions of higher learning should be the first to be reviewed in 2010.  

State owned universities in this country have been allowed to run wild without proper control by authorities regarding various charges being levied to students undergoing studies. High fees prohibit bright students from poor families from entering universities and colleges. This one single act alone help sort out people as to their station in life - poor remain poorer, while those with money get better, thereby they end up climbing higher in the socio economic strata in society.

This year, it was reported that an increase of ten per cent has been imposed right across the board. There seems to be no authority on the land, not even any educational authorities including the Commission for Higher Education have ingenuity or the powers to screen or vet proposals for increases, leave alone providing an oversight into the hefty fess arrangements and the break up. University Councils which approve fess have no way of verifying reasons why or how university administrations, indeed general educational administrators come up with certain percentage of increases in a particular year.

Already many parents are complaining about school and university based fees increases, especially when these increases are announced in the beginning of the academic year. There are parents from uneconomical back waters of Papua New Guinea who cannot afford these fees, leave alone town dwellers. Parents who can afford are able to pay their children's fees, while many academically good students will miss out again this year. A girl child is certainly going to be the biggest victim of institutionalized discrimination and class perpetuation.

What are the parents paying for when increases are announced? Presumably to subsidize administration costs for overheads. Items for purchase might include top of the range vehicles for vice chancellors, registrars and bursars. These monies however do not go towards funding of field trips or experimental fluids in some science classrooms.

University Councils and their respective vice chancellors have little or no control over the activities of their academic and research staff. There are far too many of these needed staff who are busy trying to make ends meet, some will end up taking consultancies and such like engagements to make ends meet, or simply they are engaged so as to supplement their meager salaries. These academics do not find time to devote to the work relating to serious research, and teaching.


Anonymous said...

The PNG Vision 2050 is spot on the human capital- putting money from oil and gas to human development- schools and universities must be restructure to accommodate the PNG Vision 2050

Anonymous said...

Public discussions about education, training and human capital development must continue