Papua New Guinea
Constitutional & Legal Foundations
Although Papua New Guinea's constitution does not address education directly, the document still provides the base for the nation's educational goals and philosophy. The constitution outlines five national goals and directive principles in its preamble, and the two most applicable to education focus on integral human development and equality and participation. These directives, according to the Department of Education, call for an education system "based on mutual respect and dialogue. . .to promote awareness of our human potential and motivation to achieve our National Goals through self-reliant efforts" (Department of Education 1991, 15). In addition, the constitution guarantees all citizens, regardless of their sex, color, creed, political opinion, or origin, equal access and participation in the country's development. Consequently, under its education philosophy, the government promises to educate all citizens.
Several education laws outline the structure and operation of the system. The Education Act of 1970 integrated the existing church and government education activities. Under the provision, the government assumed control for teacher salaries, staff employment, and curriculum development.
In 1977, the Organic Law on Provincial Government divided education responsibilities between the national and provincial governments. The national government controlled curriculum development, the minimum age for school entrance, the length of the school day and year, language of instruction, maximum pupil-teacher ratio, major exams, teacher conditions of service, teacher training, and the universities. Therefore, the provincial governments controlled preschool education, the location and number of primary and secondary schools, nonformal education, noncore primary curriculum, criteria used to select students for secondary school, and vocational schools.
The Education Act of 1983 established a national education plan and called on provincial governments to develop local plans. However, the government has had problems outlining the national components of the plan, while many provincial plans remain out of date.
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