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Education in Papua New Guinea


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Papua New Guinea is located the lower Pacific Rim, its education system offers non-compulsory education from ages 6 through 15 with vocational education being a regional priority and post-secondary and higher education being provided by the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), the University of Technology, and a number of colleges and specialized training institutes.

In 2004, the Department of Education Papua New Guinea published a national educational plan titled "Achieving a Better Future" meant to guide the nation's educational development from 2005 through 2014.

The main objectives of this plan include universal access of education, improved retention, and improvement of teacher deployment for primary schools, improvment of quality, curriculum, and teacher development for secondary schools, and emphasis on shorter, more concise vocational courses. The Plan also includes issues of teacher education, management within the Department of Education- including represetation from communities, and fincancing of the Plan.

The National Education Plan is structured in such to be in accordance with the National Goals and Directives of the Constitution. They include:

  1. Integral human development: "We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others."
  2. Equality and participation: "We declare our second goal to be for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of our country."
  3. National sovereignty and self-reliance: "We declare our third goal to be for Papua New Guinea to be politically and economically independent, and our economy basically self reliant."
  4. Natural resources and environment: "We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and
    environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations."
  5. Papua New Guinea ways: "We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guineans forms of social, political and economic organizations."

Primary education

The National Educational Plan proposed that at age six all children would begin elementary school in their mother tongue. They would attend for the next three years, gaining a foundation for sound literacy and numeracy skills, family and community values such as discipline, personal health care, and respect for others.

Following elementary school, children would attend primary school for six years. In primary school, children would begin in a bilingual program that teach students to have skills to "live happily and productively, contribute to their traditional communities" and use English for "basic social, scientific, technological, and personal concepts and value learning after Grade 8" (Achieving a Better Future: A National Plan for Education 2005-2014 pdf).

Secondary education

Students who complete elementary and primary schooling may attend secondary schools for Grades 9 to 12. The aim of secondary education is for students to reach their personal potential to "lead productive lives as members of the local, national, and international community and partake  of further quality education and training," with the benefit of a wide range of subject matter and work to be applied to every day life (Achieving a Better Future: A National Plan for Education 2005-2014 pdf).

Vocational education is another option for students.The skills gained through vocational education is meant to meet the needs of the immediate community by offering appropriate and relevant courses.

For more information please visit:


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)