By Quinton Alomp – EM TV, Port Moresby
The PNG Teachers Association (PNGTA) supports the investigation into the use of over K1 billion of tuition fee free (TFF) funds over the past two years, but cautioned the government not to hold back funding while the probe is on.
PNGTA General Secretary, Ugwalubu Mowana said the government has to release full funding to all schools to keep them operating.
Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc recently announced that former Treasury Secretary, Simon Tosali, will lead the investigation to find out the use of K605 million of TFF funds in 2014 and a similar amount this year.
The directive was welcomed by the PNGTA, but Mowana cautioned the government to release TFF funds and to not have monies withheld.
Many schools have reported receiving less than what they are supposed to receive from the first batch payment this year, prompting the PNGTA to raise concerns on their behalf.
The concerns raised are for the education department to explain why there is a shortfall in TFF payouts in the first batch; whether the department has updated teachers and students data, and to make known the finding of the Paru Aihi Committee three years back , who spent over K11 million to carry out the district school survey report.
“To date there is no report or data provided by the Paru Aihi Committee.
“The government, including the current Education Minister, Nick Kuman has to come clear on this,” said Mowana.
PNGTA is also raising concerns that the investigation team must also extend its terms of reference to include the TFF Commodity Component, saying it is substandard.
They also want the chief secretary to include the PNGTA and members of Church education agencies to be part of the investigation team.