PNG must decide on what it wants
I READ with interest the response of AusAID head in PNG Bill Costello (March 11) with regards to the on-going debate over the outcome-based education.
I agree with Mr Costellos assertion about Australias commitment to support Papua New Guinea.
No-one can deny that PNG has received favourable treatment from Australia and will continue to do so.
While many of us understand that PNG must determine the future direction of its own education system, including OBE, it must be understood that such a direction will change the future course of education in PNG.
As such, education reform must be properly examined and tested before implementation.
Of course Australia is very much a part of this process but it must remain as a supporter and not the one that determines the direction.
Only PNG must determine whether OBE is just and right, fair, meaningful and can meet the long-term specific goals of its overall educational priorities, including universal education.
Ultimately, PNG must determine whether OBE will meet the aspirations of parents and children.
It is only right that the debate on OBE is widely advertised and read, public information widely disseminated and systematic and progressive trials are held.
All countries want an education system that delivers results. PNG is no exception.
But at present, it does not have sufficient or competent support and extension processes and capabilities to manage a comprehensive change in its educational system.
This is despite Mr Costellos contention that AusAID has poured millions of dollars into educational development and infrastructure in PNG.
Resourcing schools and colleges and training teachers is fine, so long as it is carried out year after year.
Australian states have taken on board OBE and all states must meet the nationally defined and accepted levels and goals.
In Queensland, for example, OBE was formally introduced in 2000.
A whole lot of things had to change and that included reporting levels, assessments, training and education.
It had its hiccups and is still going through a refining process.
I am particularly surprised with the lack or absence of comments from PNG education authorities, academics and professionals in the debate.
I am well aware of the process as I have been a part of this process in Queensland.
However, at times, I have been appalled at the way some international consultants who seemed more interested in driving home their personal agendas or their governments foreign aid policies in developing countries.
I am also aware of numerous consultants reports that remain unopened or unread and collecting dust in PNG Governments archives.
If OBE is the way forward for PNG, then I can only admire the courage of future oriented educational strategists.
But, please remember, PNG parents must be assured that this is the way forward for them and their children.