The Education Reform System in Papua New Guinea: Is It a Conspiracy Theory or Misconception?

By Lucas Kiap

Is there any clause in the Vision 2050 providing that in fifty (50) years from now PNG shall design, engineer, manufacture and launch its first rocket into the space – the birth of PNG’s first space program? Subsequently, the education system in the country shall be reformed to meet the standard and quality needed to produce the best brains in the country to achieve such a million years away yet achievable dream. 

I am only assuming because such visions could have been the key driver, driving the reform of the education system in the country - the so called Outcome Based (OB) - replacing English with PNG’s more than eight hundred languages – making PNG a many states country. 

If the answer is negative then, can the reformed education be another conspiracy theory to destroy the future of this country by producing more failures than successes or is it a misconception - failure by people responsible to fully understand the implications on the future of this country? 

Is this the result of Education Reform: Photo by Lucas Kiap
My view about this reform is that probably the government had made a big mistake by introducing and reforming the education system without actually understanding the implications on the future. Apparently, the government is forcefully committing suicide the future of the kids in the rural villages by making learning at early stages more difficult. 

From my own experience and understanding, I will try to explain briefly in the following what happens. 

Most of the kids in urban centers have their parents working and they exposed to and have the opportunity to learn English at an early age. They too are exposed to good learning facilities and study materials. When they go to school learning becomes easy and they catch on things very fast. 

On the other hand, their counterparts from the rural areas are the opposite. When they go to school, they find it extremely hard to adopt quickly let alone flexible. They refuse to accept that they can’t learn things that much easier. It takes so much time and effort without compensating. They lack knowledge to express ideas clearly, visually and contextually. Eventually with the aid of the bottleneck education system, the number of rural students decline and a few of them make it into further studies and eventually into the work force. 

What happens here is that those poor rural kids have not developed a bank of knowledge to draw and aid them in their learning at the early stages. Instead, they have been overdrawn or emptied by learning their own languages as there is no continuity in their learning process. 

If there are any consequences associated with this ill-conceived idea - the government is mistakenly digging a wide and deep trench separating the less fortunate rural people from the fortunate urban class people. The government instead of committing resources and funds to narrow this gap it is spending resources and funds to widen this gap. In other words, the poor get poorer and the richer get richer. Can this be discriminating? 

The education reform system itself has been creating a high degree of failures in rural villages that significantly contributing to the migration of failures from rural areas into urban centers seeking opportunities. They ended up at settlements, expanding them. They breed kids with fewer opportunities who eventually turn to the streets as prostitutes, street beggars, rascals, and street sellers. 

Most of them are not the victims of their own decisions but are the victims of the poor decisions that the government makes and they had to bear the moral burden of the government’s poor decisions. 

Logically, this is funny – I mean why do our children in the villages have to learn their own local dialect again when they naturally inherited from birth? It is better to introduce this learning process in our towns and cities where kids too often adopt to western lifestyles and forgetting our cultural heritages. 

Probably we the people of Papua New Guinea love our leaders, respect their decisions and embrace the future without knowing where we as a nation are heading. If not we would have been asking – are every decisions our leaders making are they always in the best interest of the country? Not to say that there are many concerned individuals out there who love this country only to the extent that it becomes impossible to go against the norms of the ignorant majority, who will always love the leaders and respect their decisions but we all ended up same, paying dearly by living like beggars in a resource rich yet poor country. Sadly, innocent generations will shoulder the burdens of our ignorance and mistakes in shaping a better future.
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