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Fri February 28, 2020 05:41:44Login ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12[3]4 ]
Subject: Priorities in allocating money for school fees, empowering rural people through education, etc.

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Date Posted: 01:54:15 10/14/99 Thu
In reply to: paul 's message, "Free -> Subsidized Education" on 17:07:44 09/29/99 Wed

My understanding is that a greatly expanded "free education" was one of the significant increase of expenditures during the Wingti administration that led to the government fiscal red ink that has now taken on a life of its own.

Your statement about free education being a misnomer is spot on. In many countries, it is funded by a variety of taxes which come indirectly from the parents. Oftentimes property taxes, paid by parents and nonparents alike, form the bulk of education revenue.

The free education ploy is one of a number ("project assistance" being another nonsustainable political ploy which seems absent from the countries which are today considered economically developed) of devices that MPs have been allowed to get away with because the educated population of PNG so rarely speak out their opinions in public so as to stop the nonsense.

I agree that money is scarce in PNG, especially today. It is also important to very carefully distinguish from a situation of "no money" for a need, versus "low priority to use the available money for that need." The pokies, dart boards, and horse races are still heavily populated by not only urban people, but rural ones as well, who don't meet the criteria of being wealthy. Alcohol sales are still very high. Most people can still come up with bride price, with the help of wantoks. Wantoks could also help with school fees, vacant areas near the village could be planted with more betel nut to sell in towns (demand still outstrips supply in many areas, especially Moresby), and the available money to a person can be reallocated so that a larger percentage goes to school fees and a smaller percentage goes to buy imported foods, especially rice.

All too often we categorize people as poor and then take pity on them, help them, and build their dependency on us, rather than encouraging the self reliance that will allow them to be truly independent and take charge of their own affairs, including finding the money for school fees without outside assistance.

Self reliance is one of the principle hallmarks of sustainable development.

Thus, strong education that focuses on getting people to see which of their everyday activities represent dependency, and how much this depends upon prioritization, rather than a true lack of resources, might be invaluable. There is some education today on the problems with handouts, but it isn't strong enough or extensive enough. Most people define taking handouts as something everyone else does except for them. Effective education would personalize the experience so that each person sees which of their own activities represent the kind of handout mentality that keeps PNG development from moving forward.

My last comment is that it can be very disempowering to rural people (who are constantly being put down in a passive, condescending way, by well intentioned people) to treat education as something that only comes from a western source. You cannot convince me that in pre-European times, there was not extensive education in PNG. If we put traditional teaching and learning on a par with formal, westernized education whenever we speak, we will do a lot to give melanesian heritage the respect that it deserves.

Sorry that this comment is so long. Your posting was thought provoking and interesting to me and I hope I have reciprocated for the interesting points I have learned from you.

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Re: Priorities in allocating money for school fees, empowering rural people through education, etc.Paul15:46:06 10/18/99 Mon

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