This was revealed by National Research Institute researcher Peter Michael Magury at the National Development Forum in Port Moresby last Wednesday in a discussion topic titled Free Education Policy – Quantity versus Quality and the Way Forward.
He said in 2012, when the Government introduced TFF, it did not consider lack of resources and the difficulties in delivering education services such as number of teachers, classrooms, training material, student textbooks and also the testing of different procedures for channelling the fee and putting in place transparent mechanisms. NRI described this as the “big-bang” approach.
“Access shock pressure has put a shock on education quality,” he said.
Using the Grade 8 examination results for 2013 to measure quality, he said of the 22 provinces, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands scored 80 and above while the rest scored below this average mark.
Students as young as six years old to 30-year-olds were enrolled at elementary level, according to Magury’s presentation.
He outlined some areas that needed to be looked at which included:
- Encouraging and ensuring children of correct age enrol in school;
- expanding existing schools to increase enrolments;
- opening new schools as required;
- time spent engaged in learning activities;
- classroom learning activities;
- classroom learning environment;
- teacher quality;
- expectations by teachers of students (tests, encouragement);
- parental education – early introduction to learning; and,
- Nutrition from infancy and children’s health.