Education Reform Removal of Grade 8 and 10 Exams Concerns Inspector and MP

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) sweeping education reform is facing a storm of criticism, with the proposed elimination of Grade 8 and Grade 10 exams sparking fears of an education system in turmoil.

Maggie Kambaki, Education Inspector for Yangoru Saussia District, voiced her unease during talks on the ongoing education overhaul. The PNG government is contemplating a shift from an outcome-based curriculum to a standards-based curriculum, a move that would entail axing Grade 8 and Grade 10 exams and extending the grading system in secondary schools from 7 to 12.

Expressing deep concern, Kambaki warned that the country is woefully unprepared for such a drastic change, citing the lack of capacity among most secondary schools to accommodate two additional grades. She urged Richard Maru, the Member for Yangoru Sausia District, to advocate for a postponement of the reform during parliamentary debates.

The Education Inspector proposed a five-year extension to ensure provinces and districts across the nation have ample time to prepare for the integration of Grades 7 to 10 into high schools. Kambaki emphasized the need for thorough preparedness, stressing that hasty implementation could lead to educational chaos.

Echoing Kambaki’s concerns, Richard Maru expressed his reservations about the proposed changes, pointing to the financial strain and the need to prioritize existing educational initiatives in his district. He declared that his district would not adhere to the reform, stating that it is economically untenable given the pressing educational demands that require attention.

“I wholeheartedly believe in graduating primary school students through Grades 9 and 10, and beyond. However, we must approach this issue realistically. I aspire to see that happening, but the government simply lacks the resources to fund policies without adequate financial backing,” Maru asserted, underscoring the need for a practical and sustainable approach to educational reforms.

The discussions took place during the 70th-anniversary celebration of St. Michaels Warabung Primary School, where the implications of the proposed education reform were a central theme. As the debate intensifies, stakeholders are calling for a well-considered and phased approach to ensure a smooth transition and prevent potential disruptions in PNG’s education system.

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