Is Education “Free”?

The editorial on The National on the 17th January titled “The costs of education” pointed about some important points regarding education in Papua New Guinea.

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembley of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights. Education was one of them. Article 26, paragraph (1) clearly states: “everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory…….”

Parents have the responsibility to ensure that their children get an education, at least elementary education. The government’s responsiblity is to ensure that ALL CHILDREN in PNG get an elementary education. And that means making elementary educatioin compulsory and must be paid for by the government, whether national or provincial. Failure to this means the governments are failing one of our fundamental rights that we are born with. Parents must also make sure national or provincial governments fulfill that responsiblity.

It is clear that funding for all level of education by the government is not possible. But there must be a system in place to ensure that ALL CHILDREN in PNG get an elementary education, paid for by either the provincial or national government, while secondary and tertiary education can be covered by schorlarships given on academic merit. This will ensure a systemic use of limited funds to pay for elementary education for all children and throws back the responsiblity of studying and achieving academic excellence back to the students and their parents. 



About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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