The current government’s plan to ensure every school-aged child is in school under its compulsory education plan looks grand to many.
But not to a Catholic priest who is already helping vulnerable children, including orphans whose tuition fee may have been paid for by the Government, but cannot afford to pay for project fees and uniforms which are requirements of schools.
"There is nothing in the constitution, laws, rules or regulations of the Education Department that says children can only be educated if they wear uniform," Father John Glynn said. "Likewise project fees and other costs are requirements of the school. Children are in danger of being rejected and suspended if they do not meet the requirements of their schools and some families do not even try to get their children into school because they know they cannot meet the requirements. An orphan child I have been supporting is being forced to pay K50 to receive her Grade 8 certificate."
Fr Glynn has co-founded WeCARe, which stands for The Women and Children at Risk, a non-profit organisation in Port Moresby that is meeting project fees, lunch for children and bus fare for children who have no one to take care of them.
He said if education becomes compulsory as planned by the Govenrment, how can poor families be held to meet requirements of the school. "In other countries where education is compulsory, schools, or at least the education authorities, are required to meet the needs of the students. How could that be made to work in PNG?’’
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