by Scott Waide – EM TV, Lae
Education Minister, Nick Kuman, has reminded a gathering of provincial education advisors in Lae about the lack of accurate statistics of schools, student numbers and financial accountability.
Speaking this morning, Kuman said inaccurate figures are affecting government planning, and also pointed out that about K50 Million remains unaccounted for.
While improvements in the education system were highlighted by speakers, the statistics that show enormous challenges facing the country also stood prominent in the discussions.
These are figures that continue to plague education planners. 57 out of every 100 Grade Eight students do not make it into secondary schools.
47 out of every 100 do not continue until Grade 12. With the Tuition Fee Free policy, enrollment has risen but in school is a struggle.
“We’re not comfortable, that the money we’re spending is going to the right places,” Kuman said.
It is estimated about K50 Million remains unaccounted for because student figures have been inflated or understated.
For the Morobe Province which has many of its schools in rural areas, keeping track of student numbers and the number of schools that are actually open is a major concern for Governor Kelly Naru.
Western Province’s Education Adviser, Netsy Baery, says the system remains heavily dependent on information supplied by teachers.
“The problem we have is getting out to the schools,” he says, citing Western Province’s geography and scattered populations.
This is the fourth year of Tuition Fee Free education policy. Over four years, funding and planning have been adjusted to cater to figures that are either understated or exaggerated.
The government has spent about K10 Million to get those figures to Port Moresby.
So far only 11 provinces have submitted their statistics in full.