PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier/ Pacific Media Watch): Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has admitted the fact that Papua New Guinea is still lagging behind in achieving quality universal education.
"As a nation, we must be bold enough to admit that there has been very modest progress made in the past 40 years," he said.
"This is a lack of progress in terms of achieving quality universal education for our people – in comparison to the rest of the World, and especially those around our region," O’Neill said.
"As a result of many years of neglect by many governments, many educators and relevant stakeholders, our people are largely uneducated or semi-educated, and without skills that would give them better opportunities in their lives.
"Our educational institutions, sadly like so many things in past decades, are run down. That is why it needs urgent attention."
O’Neill said education standards were falling and were in need of urgent intervention.
"We simply, as a nation, cannot continue to walk down this road, a road to nowhere…a road that is not changing the lives of our people."
Speaking at the University of PNG 60th graduation last week, O’Neill said the world had changed, and the nation must adapt or face the consequences of inaction.
"Today, we live in a very, very competitive world. Our children need the tools that will make them competitive and create a bright future. These are the tools of decent quality education today."
He said the government, under his leadership, had started an intervention programme in the education sector to lift the education standard.
"Over the past three years we have invested close to K6 billion alone in education, making it the biggest sector of expenditure in our budget. This includes funding for free education, which has enabled close to a million extra children into classrooms.
"It is also fair to say providing education for our children is not easy, and it is not going to get easier.
"Education is our children’s right, and we, as a community, must continue to do our best for our children," O’Neill said.
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