by Benny Geteng – EM TV Port Moresby
The Department of Education (DOE) budget will increase by 4 per cent to K1.1 billion in 2015. This was made known to the National Education Board (NEB) heard last week at its latest quarterly meeting in Alotau, Milne Bay Province. The NEB is the top education decision-making body in the country.
The DOE will have to work within a budget that will be increased next year by less than the rate of inflation.
In 2015, a total of K605 million will be distributed to pay for the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy to provide free basic education. The funding will be unchanged from the allocation in 2014 but a cut in real terms, the DOE told the NEB during the meeting. Basic education funding will fall by 33 per cent to K137 million in 2015, the NEB heard.
Changes in commitments by development partners will mean a 14 per cent cut in project funding for the DOE and the two other agencies of the Ministry of Education, the Teaching Service Commission and the Office of Library, Literacy and Archives (OLA).
The overall ministry budget will be 5 per cent higher in 2015 than this year, at K1.1 billion.
Some infrastructure funding for basic education and other areas is expected to be returned to the DOE next year, following its initial allocation by the government to other education sectors like TVET sector to Ministry of Higher Education.
Spending on education standards will more than double next year—a 108 per cent increase to K106.6 million. Library services, represented by the OLA, received the largest percentage increase in funding for 2015—up by 164 per cent to K10.8 million, the NEB members heard.
A 24 per cent increase in the appropriations next year for personal emoluments for teachers to K146.5 million, is a result of the funding for 2014 pay increases being deferred until the necessary data about teachersbecame available.