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Subject: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
Fr. Robert Plews Laka
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Date Posted: Wed, Jun 20 2007, 08:31:00pm

PNG election time! Men and women alike, wish to win the race at the different seats they contest and I believe our people, majority of our people in PNG and Enga are at the peak of their excitements in showing support and solidarity to the candidates they support. That is the beauty of democracy PNG inherited from those who colonized us. Quiet ironically most candidates sail along the current, labeling their ships “Free Education if I win” and I wonder if all our people are aware that, Free Education and Right to Education is not the same thing. Candidates as well as the aspirants to the top job (Prime Minister) use this banner promising our poor people at the villages “manna from heaven” to gain enough number to make to the post. And I believe, educated ones are some how “baptized” by this phenomena. I don’t blame our poor people in the villages for the lack of awareness to distinguish the difference between Free Education and Right to Education.

If I may share, for the benefits of our awareness, the Right To Education (RTE) defends the right to education and human rights in education, and promotes enhancement of all human rights through education. As a specialized applied research project, policy makers carry out assessments of the global realization of the right to education, provide input for education strategies, and facilitate exposing and opposing human rights violations.

On the other hand, Free Education or subsidized education provides no financial cost to students attending any educational institutions. This is the phenomenon which is sweeping throughout PNG and political candidates are riding on it. However, the old jargon goes, “nothing is free”, someone has to pay still stays the same. Even if the students nor the parents would not pay, someone pays and that is what most candidates in PNG promise to our people, but how they would do it and where they would get the money are yet to be publicized for the benefit of doubt of the majority.

However, my question is, if the Right to Education is a universal human right, then, why does the candidates have to promise what is already a for right to the people? UN (with PNG a beneficiary) defends and defines the Right to Education for all citizens of the world but what our politicians have mislead our people in the past was the so called Free Education and that is: if you vote me, I give you this, if not, I won’t give you.

I am yet to see and read the policies and guidelines set by aspiring candidates for the top job to define Right to Education in PNG and Free Education in PNG. It is about time, PNG and Enga must vote for someone who has a vision and a strategic analyst who would propose what is best for PNG and not one who would “spoon feed” the simple village people. We don’t want to create a cargo cult mentality by creating a dependency syndrome for our simple village people in PNG. We’ve got to move on in this global village.

Those good Engans back home, please education our simple people, enlightening them with the POLICIES the political candidates come up with. You are the eyes, the ears and the hands for the good and simple village people back home.

God bless PNG and Enga in this coming election.
Fr. Robert Plews Laka, svd.

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[> Subject: Re: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
1aku
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Date Posted: Mon, Jun 25 2007, 05:29:03am

Fr. Robert Plews I totally agree with what you have said. Especially when we are at the peak of this imperative moment before the actual polling, it would be good to see this piece being published as a Letter to the Editor so people can establish the difference between the so called Free Education and the Right to Education; and the cause and effect of such before they make their mark.

We are better than this; we cannot be misled into this ‘cheap’ political gimmick – Free Education.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
kattmeow
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Date Posted: Mon, Jun 25 2007, 10:58:11am

How are the citizens of PNG every going to more forward and move PNG forward if citizens do not have access to education.

Where are the Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Social Workers, IT Workers, Engineers. Teachers Aids, Retail Operators, ect., going to come from if the government does not provide the necessary money for individuals to perfom these roles in society.

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[> Subject: Re: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
1aku
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Date Posted: Tue, Jun 26 2007, 12:13:26am

Kattmeow,

If you had thoroughly read the piece written by Fr. Robert Plews you would have got an answer to the question you were blindly looking for.

Education is a human right as stated by Fr. Robert and must be obtained but not through Free education because it is impractical and hard to sustain. Firstly, there are only limited funds in the government coffer. Now, where is the government going to get all its money to cater for this expensive exercise? If it’s going to institute free education, then what about the other infrastructural developments that the country is in sheer need of. For example, roads, bridges, hospitals, building of new schools etc. Do you think the government is going to half empty the government coffer for free education and see the country deteriorating in other most need infrastructural developments? I don’t think so.


Free education is only for a short term and would never be sustained in the long run. It would only result in parents being lazy. Parents should also contribute into the education of their children. What we least expect our government to do now is to improve all these infrastructural developments. For example, if there are good roads (linkages), bridges, schools and hospitals etc in all parts of the country then the people would have enough money to pay for their children’s education because they would be self sufficient through the sale of cash crops. Thus, the government has to spend money to make people have a sustainable living and not having a dependency syndrome. However, the government can still subsidize education as it normally does. Accept the fact that nothing is free in this world.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
kattmeow
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Date Posted: Tue, Jun 26 2007, 01:38:58am

love is free

"the rich get richer, the poor get poorer"

Education should be equal, not just for some that have money, and regardless of whether there are good roads, bridges for people to earn a sustainable income, life will always be tough for some and easy for others and that is not because parents are lazy.

Sorry, I do think that education should be "free" and "equal" and maybe if the government where to stop all the corruption, there would be enough money for free education as well as providing most needed infrastructural development.

cheers

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[> Subject: Re: Right to Education or Free Education as "promised"


Author:
Cool_Guy1
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Date Posted: Tue, Jun 26 2007, 01:04:18pm

Cool thread.. Education is a right, for sure it is, but does successive governments take that into their thick skull? A BIG FAT NO..O.. There are some are questions that i have in mind that i would like for us to ponder on.
Is the quality of education in PNG, up do the standard that can compete with the best? With the mushroming of private training institutions and so called universities, are they providing training with trained professional? for instance, people who teach diploma courses, do they have masters or phd level qualifications? Those are lecturing at the prime insitutions, do they have PHD qualifications? lecturers worldwide have PHD qualifications to teach under-graduates as lecturers, do PNG has that sort of standard? Are there enough classrooms to cater for every children with necessary teaching aids? '

These are some basic questions that still linger in the minds of people who have been through a system that has been perfect. When i recall the early 1990's, UPNG lecturers were PHD holders.. now, take a look at most lectureres, they have either a masters or under-graduate degree and lecturing course entirely dependent on text books and learning with the students at the same time.

All these stems down to Educational infrastructure. PNG lacks education infrastructure. There is a shortage of educational infrastucture, that includes professional lectures, buildings, teaching materials, etc. If such is the case, then, the programming jargon of "gabbage in, gabbage" out can be the end result of a life long process.

Adding onto what 1aku said about deteriorating infrastructure in the country, i totally agree with you. When you have good roads, cash crops such as coffee is marketed well. In a study carried a out by the Central Bank, they found out that, major impediments for export growth was poor infrastructure. People cant take their produces to the market to sell. When they dont have a small cash economy in the local village, they find themselves looking for cash in other ways to pay their kids school fees. If they were given that chance to market their products, they would have the money to pay for their childrens school fees. Short-sighted leaders will always come up with shallow ideas, of free education, because that is temporary bandaid. When the money runs out, they will pressure another sector of the economy to finance that gap. Instead of funding long-terms achievable goals, free education advocates have dwelled on something that they can just smell right now.

Leaders without vision will never project what will happen in the future, they will eat what they have now and find themselves in situations that they cant handle.

I believe, looking at infrastructure developments is the best way forward for PNG by any political party or candidate.

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