Rumet: New school facility timely

He said the high enrolment has placed a lot of strain on schools to make spaces available to take in extra students; and schools are struggling with infrastructure to cater for these influx.

MP Rumet highlighted this when witnessing the opening of a new classroom and launching of the 1-6-6 Primary Education Stricture in Volavolo Primary School, Balanataman LLG in Rabaul yesterday.

Schools need to adhere: Official

Assistant secretary of early childhood education, Michael Mera, outlined that upon request by the Provincial Education Board (PEB), a school inspector will visit the proposed institution to see whether it has complied with the minimum operating standard.

Some of the factors that will be taken into consideration include infrastructure, the general environment, catchment areas and teachers.

The inspector then presents the report to the PEB, who will make a provincial recommendation to the general education division within the education department.

“Suspension of school heads unrealistic”

CPS PNG President Paul Harricknen was referring Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombradirective as unrealistic.

“Every year school subsidies do not reach schools on time. Schools have to run on empty for almost the whole year before some drops of their funds arrive.

“That is why schools charge project fees to help them start on a good foot for school year.”

Mr Harricknen said that any suspension of school heads questions the Government’s policy slogan of ‘Leavign No Child Behind’, when children’s education is delayed and jeopardized as a result.

Education Minister warns schools

The Department of Education emphasizes that no school fees or project fees are to be charged by schools in the national education system in 2023.

Following the Education Minister’s policy statement made in Parliament regarding the government’s Tuition Fee Policy for 2023, Minister Jimmy Uguro held a press conference in Port Moresby to clarify the details on Thursday 19 January 2023.

Education needs more funding: Officer

The province budgets for K300,000 annually however, that is also insufficient.Morobe’s provincial program advisor for education, Keith Tangui, highlighted that the province needs over K300 million to effectively conduct activities in the education sector.

The province is massive, with 1,427 schools, over 2,600,000 students and 3,656 teachers.Tangui said in line with the 3-6-6 structure, schools need more infrastructure.

“We need money to erect infrastructure, put more desks in, buy more curriculum books,” Tangui outlined.

Teachers, Students Urged To Return

Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra says instructions were issued to all schools to resume normal classes on July 25 and August 1 for other schools due to election-related violence and disturbances.

Provincial Education Advisors were also advised to assess the situation in their provinces and decide on an appropriate decision.

However, news reports of schools still closed and low turnout by students and teachers in the last two weeks has caught the attention of the Department.

'Xi Jinping Thought' added to China's school curriculum

The Ministry of Education said Chinese President Xi Jinping's "thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era" would be taught from primary school level all the way to university.

The move is aimed at strengthening "resolve to listen to and follow the Party" and new teaching materials must "cultivate patriotic feelings", the guidelines said.

Since coming to power in 2012, the Chinese President has sought to strengthen the ruling Chinese Communist Party's role in all areas of society, including its businesses, schools and cultural institutions.

Back to school

However, for some schools in Port Moresby, it was a slow first-day as students were sent home.

Waigani Primary School in Port Moresby was among others that opened its doors to its students, but only for a mere 4 hours before they were sent home.

They were told that classes will officially start tomorrow, Tuesday 5th May.

Tough instructions have been issued to schools, to follow certain guidelines, or face closure. One of this, is social distancing.

Education dept to address overcrowding

With schools to resume next week on the 4th of May, Education Minister Joseph Yopyyopy says his office is still looking into possibilities of safe teaching.

He said schools can have two classes per day with one batch to start from 8 – 1 o’clock and the other from 2 o’clock till the end of the day.

“This is what we face in the urban schools, schools in Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, Mt. Hagen. Those main centers that you have overcrowding of students in one class, we are working on that.

Classroom attendance ‘optional’

When giving a rundown on the relaxation of certain SOE restrictions, Controller David Manning said tertiary institutions have recommenced this week while secondary and primary schools are set to start next week.

“However, if I can remind all parents and guardians, that this is optional – to either allow your children or those under your care to attend classes as of next week Monday,” Manning stated.

“Let me again remind you all that COVID-19 is here to stay. To stop it from spreading, it will not kill you to follow simple health measures.”