|Subject: Free -> Subsidized Education
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Date Posted: 17:07:44 09/29/99 Wed
Free education is a misnomer. All it is, is a veiled political language to win votes for those in government - whether the Wingti, Chan, Skate or the Morauta governments. What's wrong with calling and giving it its proper name and meaning, namely, subsidized education?
In terms of its purpose and function, I think it still has usefulness. Our people are still largely rural subsistence food gathers, hunters, fishermen and gardeners with very little cash income. And many urbanites are living from pay checks to pay checks, from credits to credits, or from "sande" to "sande" (borrowing-lending-borrowing). Good thing the visa, American express, ANZ, etc.. credit cards are not freely offered as they are in the US.
On the other hand, our political independence has really turned us into "total dependence on government". Whenever there's a good project idea, we immediately turn to "mama govaman". And if we volunteer, we immediately ask for "komenseisen", some volunteering. This goes back to either our cultural existence of dependence on our "wanlain", wantoks, and tribes to confirm our identity and worth in ourselves or the idea of "pei bek" because we have not associated ourselves with the programs offered or being done by us as they originate from elsewhere.
These concepts and practices while useful in our communal subsistent existence, have to be tempered as we move into another level or approach to living, the so-called western approach which among other things, includes the form of learning and skills acquisition we call education. Such education must also take these cultural values in stride and introduce them in our elementary, high school and higher education as part of social science curriculum so that students can distinguish the good and bad of their applications in multiple contexts.
So, yes, I think it is right that free education be reviewed and to me it is not hard really to do -- since it is a political gimmick to win votes or make good on campaign promises. Our politicians, like new technology, are on constant shifts. But unlike new technology, they often change for the worse.
Help me out, someone!!
Review free education policy: Waiko
PORT MORESBY: The free education policy should be reconsidered in light of the ever-worsening economic conditions, Education Minister Professor John Waiko
PNG could not afford to sustain free education, Prof Waiko said, adding that there should never have been free education in the first place.
"There is no such thing as free in the world," he said.
He said that under the current arrangement between the national and provincial governments for the distribution of the 1999 school fees subsidies, the first and third
quarter allocations were the responsibility of Waigani while the provinces took care of the second and fourth quarters.
The funds for these quarters have been included in the provincial budgets for 1999, Prof Waiko said, adding that no subsidy monies would be released until the full
acquittals have been made and submitted by provinces.
He said all provincial acquittals have to be submitted on time if the releases are going to be timely.
"The Government is set on the principles of transparency and accountability and would like to see that the provinces contribute to these principles," he said.
Six of the 20 provinces and the National Capital District have not submitted their first quarter acquittals, Prof Waiko said.
He said he would review the allocation and distribution procedures to expedite the distribution process and the subsequent acquittals in order to get funds in on time
and enforce accountability.
Education Department figures for the provinces and national high schools, which submitted the first quarter acquittals are:
Western K271,389, Kunga/Lake Murray K294,223, Central K736,737, Milne Bay K643,090, Northern K384,034, Manus K188,603, Morobe K1,655,560,
North Solomons K773,255, East New Britain K870,206, West New Britian K660,555, Enga K857,080, Southern Highlands K1,069,580, Western Highlands
K1,175,798, Chimbu K737,482 and Eastern Highlands K1,291,316.
Provinces which have not acquitted their first quarter allocations are:
East Sepik K997,263, Gulf K295,869, West Sepik K528,707, New Island K467,535, Madang K979,272 and NCD K1,080,879.
The national high schools are:
Passam K30,300, Kerevat K34,275, Sogeri K36,825, Port Moresby K37,800 and Aiyura K38,400.
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