More foreign teachers will be recruited: O’Neill

The Government is looking to recruit more foreign science and mathematics teachers.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has confirmed that the first lot of teachers have already arrived.

O’Neill made the announcement after being questioned by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird about the drop in the quality of education in the country.

The PM said maths and science are lacking in the number of teachers that are graduating out of colleges.

He stated the fault partly lies with Goroka Teachers College being converted into a university and not focusing on its role as teacher training institution.

“As a result the number of graduate teachers coming out of that institution are not going directly to schools right throughout the country, that’s why we see a drop in the number of maths and science teachers,” explained Prime Minister O’Neill.

Recently the government has instructed the Education Department to recruit foreign teachers to teach particularly maths and science at high school level right across the country.

“We have started recruiting some from India, in fact few of them have already arrived in the country.

“Next week the Minister for education will be presenting a ministerial statement addressing some of these issues, including some of the other challenges we have in the sector.

“We are particularly concerned about the training of medical doctors at the Medical Faculty,” revealed the PM.

“Last year I made a commitment that we will have a stand-alone university for medical doctors and the medical profession the country simply because it is a specialist profession that needs special attention to deliver the health specialisation that is demanded right throughout the country.”

O’Neill urged the University of Papua New Guinea to withdraw a court application stopping the Government from making UPNG’s medical faculty a standalone university.

“I’m certain that common sense will prevail and that proceeding be withdrawn so that we can immediately start planning so that next year we can have a standalone university at the medical faculty,” said O’Neill.

Meanwhile, he has welcomed any initiative that Governor Bird is willing to contribute in a bid to improve quality education.

Governor Bird suggested that a parliamentary bipartisan committee be formed to look into the matter.

“For the first time in the history of Papua New Guinea, no student has met the standard to be accepted to medical school.

“This is very worrying,” said Governor Bird.

(Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, right, Deputy PM Charles Abel and Finance Minister James Marape in Parliament recently)

Meredith Kuusa