© UNICEF PNG, 2008, Khoi Cao-Lam
At 52.9 per cent, Papua New Guinea’s net enrolment rate for basic education reflect the low number of children not in school at the correct age, and that many more are not enrolling at all. PNG's universal basic education (UBE) Plan endeavours to address the key pillars of access and retention, especially amongst girls who are often excluded from attending school.
PNG has registered some notable expansion in basic education. The number of students in basic education (elementary and primary) increased by 31 per cent or 298,223 children in 2009 compared to 2006. Whereas the proportion of total enrolment in elementary, primary and secondary education were 31 per cent, 37 per cent and 8 per cent respectively in 2006, in 2009 the proportions were 37 per cent, 55 per cent and 8 per cent for the three levels respectively.
Through the Child Friendly Schools (CFS) concept, UNICEF is working towards making schools inclusive, effective for learning, healthy and protective of children, gender sensitive and actively involved with children, their families and communities. The Accelerated Girls' Education (AGE) programme aims at sensitizing the community on the importance of enrolling girls in school.
The expected surge in enrolment in Papua New Guinea poses serious quality challenges: overcrowding, adequacy of learning materials, teacher competencies in handling big classes effectively, and, achievement, among others. Existing data points to low achievement levels in both primary and secondary leaving examinations, while teacher capacities are increasingly constrained.
UNICEF in action
Universal Basic Education (UBE)
• UNICEF Education programme is spread across five components, namely: child friendly schools, capacity development in support of UBE, gender, education in emergencies and early chilhood care and development (ECCD). The child friendly schools engage the support of communtiy insittutions so that children's rights are met in and out of school. Teachers colleges have now included CFSas one of the units compusory to all students completing a two year program in primary teacher education.