I will not support any government who want to abolish the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) education policy.I am extremely proud of the former PNC-led Government’s policy of making primary and secondary education affordable and accessible for every child in Papua New Guinea. A child’s right to education is a basic human right that must never be denied for any other conveniences.

Kusambuk High School 4 in 1 Classroom, Numbo LLG, Yangoru Saussia District

Affordability and Accessibility

The PNC-led Government’s TFF policy has delivered on its intent of making primary and secondary education in PNG economically affordable and physically accessible. The TFF policy’s implementation has actually increased student enrolment from 50% in 2012 to 90% in 2018. The results justify the investment. In 2012, fifty percent (50%) of school-aged children were not going to school. Economic affordability and physical accessibility was a big challenge, particularly for parents and children in rural PNG.In 2012, fifty percent (50%) of girls in PNG did not attend school because parents invested their limited economic resources on boys’ education, could not afford or schools were far from home. Last week, I was at the graduation of Nagum SDA High School in my District and I was very proud that girls did extremely well, taking out the Dux price and most academic awards. I’m extremely proud that the PNC-led Government’s TFF policy has educated more girls in the history of Papua New Guinea. I call upon the Marape–Davies Government to continue the TFF policy and enhance quality and administration. I also call upon every Member of Parliament to support the policy by building education infrastructure from the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) funds. It is through education that we can transform our country. The Yangoru Saussia District has proven that it’s doable.

Quality

Decline in the quality of education as a result of increased enrolment, inadequate education infrastructure and teaching quality are some of the challenges the nation faces. Our opponents have used that to criticize one of the best policies since independence – the TFF policy! For Yangoru Saussia District under my leadership, we seized the opportunity to strategically create solutions, utilizing the limited resources we are given and our networks and partnerships, particularly the Churches and development partners. In the rest of this article, I would like to share some of our strategic interventions we undertook progressively to improve economic affordability and physical accessibility first and now we are focused on quality education.

YSDDA Total Investment in Kusambuk K 570,000. Water supply and school truck coming soon.

K 40 Million Investment

So far, education is a K40 Million investment (and counting!) for Yangoru Saussia District. The District has progressively invested in education because that’s our future. The future of our District, Province and Nation must be built on a well-educated population. For seven (7) years now, we have invested over K40 million in education in the District. Under my leadership, God is first and education is our second top priority. And it will always be that way. We strategically utilize the scare resources we have to address some of the challenges like over-crowding, inadequate classrooms and not enough educational institutions due to the increase in student enrollments. Today, the District has three (3) Secondary schools (Nagum to commence next year), one School of Excellence and four (4) junior high schools. In addition to the K40 Million education infrastructure, we have also invested in associated infrastructures like water and sanitation, roads and electricity. But having education infrastructure alone is not enough!

District Academic Board

 YS District may be the first District in the country to have established a District Academic Board. The board will be responsible for ensuring that educational institutions in the District are well resourced and managed and our children receive quality education, with improved academic results. The main focus of the Board is quality education. In YS District, we enhance the TFF policy through a holistic approach as follows: • Invest in education Infrastructure;• Build other necessary infrastructures like roads, water and electricity;• Make rural schools attractive for teachers;• Ensure the presence of police in every LLG and near educational institutions to maintain a safe and peaceful communities;• We are working on the District Policy on Quality Education which will start from babies when they are born to Grade 12.• Excellence in teaching staff from elementary all the way to Grade 12• Effective School Boards and inspections to ensure quality. With patience, determination and taking small progressive steps, we aim to make Yangoru Saussia District the leader in quality education.

 Yangoru Saussia Education Awards

 I challenge all educational institutions in YS District to compete amongst each other to be the best school. Schools who do well in both management and academic excellence will be rewarded with more infrastructure and assistance. Every February, three (3) best-performing secondary, high schools and primary schools will be recognized for having best teachers, students and well-managed school boards and management. The District Academic Board will put in place the policy and criteria for the District Education Awards.

Effective community leadership and support is required for better outcomes in education

Kusambuk Junior High School

 Today, I had the honour of opening the 4 in 1 classroom at Kusambuk Junior High School in Numbo LLG. I’m grateful Kusambuk was upgraded to Junior High School in 2017. It has so far graduated two (2) Grade 10s. The institution is managed by the Assemblies of the God (AOG) Church and is a feeder school to Kubalia Secondary School. I announced that next week, water engineers will be doing the scoping for the school’s water supply system. We will also give them a new school truck next year. I acknowledge the leadership of Mr Fanston Yaninen, the CEO of Yangoru Saussia DDA and the staff of YSDDA for running with the vision and to making it a reality. I also acknowledge the leadership of the Presidents and Ward Members in the four (4) LLG, community and Church leaders, Chiefs and everyone in YS District who have aligned themselves to the vision of making Yangoru Saussia a great District.

#GodFirst
#TogetherWeCan
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