Upgrading the Quality of Education and the Subject Knowledge of Community, Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Papua New Guinea through Distance Education Mode

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // Papua New Guinea is a developing country with much less infrastructure and manpower. People came into contact with the outside world during the 2nd world war. Even though the country is blessed with much natural resources like copper, silver, gold, petroleum, gas and timber, they have no basic industries as such. The education is also very young. Education Department and the Universities still depends on expatriates in subjects like Science and Mathematics. // University of Papua New Guinea produces some Mathematics and Science graduates and Goroka Teachers College (now a university) is training some teachers. New Educational changes are taking place and the subject knowledge of Community and Secondary school teachers has to be upgraded to carry out the educational changes successfully. There is also a dearth of Science, Mathematics and Business studies teachers in schools. // At present in Papua New Guinea there are about 900,000 students and over 30,000 teachers in more than 6,000 institutions in the national education system. There had been tremendous progress in increasing access to education since the educational reforms began in 1993. In 1992 the total enrolment was only about 500,000 students. In less than ten years there has been an increase in the number of school places by about 400,000. This is two to three times faster than the population growth since the reforms started. But the number of teachers trained during this period is utterly inadequate. // Despite the increase, providing access to education and training of teachers is still one of the greatest challenges in the reform process. Like other Asia – Pacific nations, the need to expand education opportunities is not fast enough to keep up with overall population growth, or to get education to many people who have never had it. It is now unsure how many children in Papua New Guinea still cannot go to school. It is also a fact that across the nation the level of literacy in adults is low compared to the Pacific neighbours. // For all these reforms to be implemented successfully there should be more and more trained teachers in schools. The existing Teacher Training Colleges cannot cope up with the demand. Training of teachers in the distance education mode is the only viable solution considering the huge amount of money involved in training teachers in the normal mode. // Considering the above situation, the Department of Distance Learning, University of technology, Papua New Guinea has decided to offer a Diploma Course for the Mathematics teachers in schools to start with. Then follow it up with a d degree course later. //

Papua New Guinea