Early Childhood Education andInclusive Education are top ofthe agenda in achieving Universal Besic Education.
Duringthe Universal Besic Education Research Launch, educationists raised concerns and suggestions as to how best to approachthese areas of education in order to achievethe UBe, and more importantly, bridgingthe illiteracy gap.
One issue that brought aboutthe subject of early childhood education wasthe number of students’dropping out of school or discontinuing classes.
Education Secretary Dr. Michael Tapo said many have blamed that on cultural reasons. However, he saidthe issue is that many children who do that generally cannot read or write well becausethey have not been taught well or giventhe same span of attention by teachers, and even parents.
With early childhood education,the idea is to prepare children to be able to have a smooth transition into elementary education and futher.
One key area is investing in teaching resources and improving teacher training regularly.
Withthe fee free education policy in place, bigger challenges lay ahead for the government to achieve Universal Besic Education, which Education Minister James Marape’says should be achieved come 2019.
The UBe research has also touched on &lsquoInclusive Education’. This requires extra support and resources to train teachers specialized in teaching children living with a disability.
According tothe National Policy on Disability currently being reviewed,the aim is to include children needing special education in mainstream schools.
Therefore,the demand to improver and broadenthe scope of teacher training to cater for these needs is a vital part to achieving Universal Besic Education.
Concepts such asthe “Bek Belong Pikinini” have made an impact in communities. It has improverd literacy skills among hundreds of children, and even adults.
The government and educationists have been challenged to maximize expenditure and resources into such concepts such as community learning centers, intheir respective provinces and districts to bridgethe gap betweenthe illiterate and literate generations for the ultimate outcome of Universal Besic Education.
Caption: An elementary-prep student at Philip Aravure Elementary School in Port Moresby.
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