PORT MORESBY - So much has been said on the quality of education in the country.
According to a recent news article only 9,000 Grade 12 students out of 27,000 were selected to attend tertiary institutions in the country (The National, 23 December 2020).
I have been involved in an education project for little over three years. I have travelled to more than 100 elementary schools. Some of these schools are in very remote locations.
Towards the end of last year, my colleague and I went to one school where, they told us, we were the first government officers have visited in 15 years.
There are web of issues that have created the predicament we are in today. I hope to find time and highlight them in a future post.
However, I want to bring to light one of the fundamentals in all this and that is the quality teachers training, professional development and its benefits.
Almost all elementary school teachers are Grade 8 and 10 dropouts with little professional development or training. They are teaching what they can with the little they know.
They even lack basic teaching and learning materials. Some said it’s difficult for them to interpret the curriculum to teach the students. At the end, they just give what they can.
Most of them are not paid a government salary. As a result they close schools after half day of class and go to their gardens. The stories of the struggles they face each day in classroom and at home are depressing.
The politicians and bureaucrats in Waigani are not doing enough to diagnose this disease. Many of their children go to private schools and overseas while majority of the students in the villages across the country like myself have fallen victim to the negligence of authorities.
Let’s not blame the boom box generation or critique the English of university graduates. The systems created produced these problems.
This is a time bomb. It must be seen as a national security threat.
We have a war coming if we don’t create better systems and give meaning and purpose to the 70% of our population.
We saw the drunkenness and chaos when we the new year arrived.
Disclaimer: This opinion piece does not represent the views of my employer or the project I am engaged in. This is my personal observation as a concerned citizen