Downsides of Free Education

The government’s free education policy has brought many associated problems not only in the city but also in many schools in the country.


Overcrowding in classrooms due to the high enrolment has been a nationwide concern.

This came when the government was boasting of the high enrolment figures because of its Free Education Policy. 


The issue of overcrowding in schools is a growing nationwide concern fuelled by the government’s Free Education Policy.


Teachers at one of Port Moresby’s oldest schools in Moresby South, Butuka Primary School have raised concerns that overcrowding puts pressure on them to teach students well.


The normal enrolment ratio is one teacher to 35 students; however that has exceeded to 50.


Every day since the start of the school year, parents and guardians have fronted up at the school administration to enrol.


The enrolment figures for the Primary School stands at 976 since 2013 and so far the school has accepted 200 more students into the school.


The Elementary enrolment stands at over 500 and Head Teachers are forced to turn away students as there are no spaces in the classrooms.


Rosemary Hahepa is the Senior Teacher for Preparatory Class for Butuka Elementary.


As a long serving staff, she says the government must build more classrooms and other infrastructures to address the issue of overcrowding.


She says it’s also a health hazard for young school children because at moment, there are no toilets for the elementary students.


They are forced to use the toilets together with the rest of the Primary School students. She raised these and other teaching concerns.


The classrooms built in the early 90’s can cater for only 35 students or less and with high enrolment, the Administration fears that students will be forced to sit on the floors to learn. 


The new block of building within the school grounds will house the current Grade 8 but that alone is insufficient to accommodate the number of students expected to increase in two weeks.

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