10 Mar 2009

PNG Teachers Assoc questions govt's free schooling plans

9:50 pm on 10 March 2009

A group representing teachers in Papua New Guinea is doubtful the Government can achieve its plan of providing free schooling to children in grades one to eight.

The Minister of Education James Marabe says 47 percent of children are not enrolled in school and the Government is hoping to reduce the figure by covering school fees by 2012.

But the Papua New Guinea Teachers Association has reservations about the plan.

The Association's General Manager Ugwalubu Mowana says he doesn't believe the government can provide sufficient classrooms, teachers and housing for staff because of money constraints.

"When you're dealing with Papua New Guinea, you're looking at eighty percent to ninety percent of people who are living in rural areas. And that's where most children are. And if you're going to educate more children, you've got to make sure the rural schools are properly funded."

Ugwalubu Mowana says the PNG Teachers Association has submitted a paper to the National Department of Education expressing its concerns about the free schooling plan.