10 Reasons You Should Care About Education in PNG

Every person on our planet has the right to education.

This right has extreme significance to inter-generational poverty. The removal or non-achievement of our right results in illiteracy, low enrolment rates, drop out among the poorest and the inability to engage in the formal economy – in simple terms it reinforces poverty. However, if the right to education is achieved it enhances the full access and enjoyment to other human rights, such as, health, freedom of expression and employment – all of which are critical in the battle against endemic hardship.

PNG is a case in point.

Even though PNG is our nearest neighbor, many look to Africa or the sub continent to find development challenges they wish to support. But it is on our doorstep. Indeed only 3.6km separate us at the closest point.

So why should you invest in education in PNG:

  1. Over 600,000 children are not able to attend school due to lack of infrastructure and shortage of teachers

This number is frightening – it is larger than the City of Gold Coast’s population!

  1. Less than 2% of children who begin Grade 1 in PNG will go on to complete Grade 12

2%! This is an incredibly small percentage of the population who receive a high school certificate. And without an educated population how can we to expect a country to flourish and achieve core development indicators?

  1. Only 1 in 25 Grade 12 graduates will actually go on to gain paid employment

And the percentages keep on getting smaller. Perhaps it is a chicken and the egg scenario, but many see little incentive to complete high school (incurring costs) when the benefit i.e. work, is not available. However without an educated population the formal economy cannot grow and create demand for skilled workers.

  1. 60.1% of adults in PNG are literate, compared to 96% in Australia

Literacy means engagement in politics, media, freedom of speech and determining ones future.

  1. 38% of the population aged 8 and older are not able to read and write.

This suggests in the near term that adult literacy rates will not be improving – only compounding an already critical situation.

  1. Average class size is 45 students

The shortage of teachers is most telling on the students themselves. Imagine being one of 45 in a classroom and being without textbooks and learning resources – what would your education experience be like?

  1. There has been little improvement in retention rates over recent years with the national Grade 6 average of 

Given the class sizes, and the fact that a government-trained teacher has only received 6 weeks training, is this surprising?

  1. Education prevents the transmission of poverty between generations

This is a fact. It is not disputable – investing in education in developing countries changes lives and futures.

  1. Education supports the growth of civil society, democracy, and political stability, allowing people to learn about 
their rights and acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise them

Development begets development. The more we can educate the population the more they demand positive change, and the more contribution to that change is made. The snowball starts to roll.

  1. Education saves children’s lives

Educated Mother’s are more likely to access skilled birth attendants, vaccinations, and 
healthcare for preventable and treatable diseases. This saves lives, particularly children’s lives.

The people of PNG are our closest neighbours and they need our support. They didn’t choose to be born into a community without a school or teacher, just like we didn’t choose to be born in a country with vast amounts of wealth and education services.

We invite you to put yourself in their shoes, and make a decision to help.