Education Looks at Tightening Controls

by Scott Waide – EM TV News, Lae

The Acting Deputy Secretary for Education, Dr. Uke Kombra, says education standards officers are being tasked to personally verify school data to improve the flow and accountability of Tuition Fee Free (TFF) funds.

This comes after revelations by the Education Minister, Nick Kuman, that 50 million kina of TFF remains unaccounted for.

One of the biggest challenges facing the education department today is the integrity of the information that comes from schools to the Education head office in Waigani.

Dr. Kombra said some of the figures supplied by schools are deliberately exaggerated, while some figures reflect the expansion of the schools.

Like every other sector of government in Papua New Guinea, the Education department cannot easily refer to a single source to draw reliable data.

Since the introduction of the tuition fee free education policy, the problem has become more pronounced.

Headquarters in Port Moresby has come to realise that it can’t trust enrolment figures coming from the districts.

There are two sides to this story of inaccurate data. The one that has attracted a lot of public anger, is that school boards and administrations are deliberately inflating enrolment figures to get more money.

The other side is that the schools are expanding and need more money.

On Monday, Education Minister, Nick Kuman, told the gathering of senior education officers that 50 million kina remains unaccounted for and that taxpayers money were being paid to ghost names.

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