The Challenges of Providing Free Education in Papua New Guinea

44 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017 Last revised: 14 Oct 2017

See all articles by Grant Walton

Grant Walton

Australian National University - Development Policy Centre

Tara Davda

Development Policy Centre; Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Peter Kanaparo

University of Papua New Guinea

Date Written: August 1, 2017

Abstract

Introduced in 2012, the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy has become a flagship policy of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government. Since 2012, further changes to this policy have been introduced; these changes continue to reduce financial barriers to school attendance and attempt to recentralise control of education funding. What have these policy changes meant for schools, administrators, non-governmental service providers (such as the church), and other key stakeholders? This paper draws on qualitative and quantitative research conducted in 2012 and 2016 in East New Britain and Gulf provinces – the former performs relatively well in delivering services, the latter relatively poorly. Interviews were conducted with education representatives, community members, government and church officials and other stakeholders to assess the impact of PNG’s fourth and most enduring attempt at providing free education. Researchers visited 10 schools, four district administrations and two provincial administrations. The research approach allows for a comparison of progress and regress in these schools between 2012 and 2016. It is argued that while the TFF policy has helped improve access and strengthened school autonomy, recent policy reforms have threatened school-community relations, undermined school quality and weakened conditions for effective service provision. The paper will provide recommendations about how PNG policy makers and others might address some of the challenges.

Keywords: Papua New Guinea, Education, Service Delivery, Free Education, Education Policy, Decentralization

Suggested Citation

Walton, Grant and Davda, Tara and Kanaparo, Peter, The Challenges of Providing Free Education in Papua New Guinea (August 1, 2017). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 61. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3011101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3011101

Grant Walton (Contact Author)

Australian National University - Development Policy Centre ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Tara Davda

Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Peter Kanaparo

University of Papua New Guinea ( email )

P.O. Box 320, University Post Office
National Capital District
Papua
Guinea

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