Papua New Guinea
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Transforming education through FODE

During the inauguration of a FODE centre at Mt Diamond Adventist Secondary School in Central Province on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Prime Minister James Marape called upon Education Minister, Jimmy Uguro and Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra to replicate this transformative initiative across the country.

Prime Minister Marape underscored the importance of incorporating Christian values and ethics into the curriculum, emphasizing the need to guide young individuals through a comprehensive 13-year education journey, spanning from elementary to Grade 12.

Additionally, he stressed the value of including practical life skills such as agriculture, carpentry, and small business, with the aim of fostering well-rounded and skilled individuals.

"I urge the Education Department to expeditiously implement this model across our nation. All 369 high schools in the country should transform into Flexible Open Distance Education campuses," said Prime Minister Marape.

An impressive feat was already achieved in 2022, with over 80,000 students returning to school through the FODE concept. This includes Grade 12 students, whose certificates are now held in equal regard to those earned in traditional classrooms.

The innovative FODE approach allows students living in proximity to these high schools the flexibility to pursue their education beyond the confines of the conventional classroom setting. For instance, students who complete Grade 8 will now have the opportunity to study Grade 9 at their own pace within their communities, liberating them from the limitations of urban centres.

Moreover, the FODE programme offers a lifeline to students who might face capacity constraints in securing a spot in Grade 11. These students need not be disheartened, as they can continue their studies through Grades 11 and 12 via the FODE programme.

The Grade 12 FODE certificate carries the same value as one obtained through traditional classroom attendance. Prime Minister Marape also highlighted that Grade 12 FODE students will enjoy eligibility to apply for universities and other institutions, ensuring equal opportunities for their further education.

With an unwavering commitment to leaving no individual behind, particularly the vulnerable youth susceptible to educational deprivation, Prime Minister Marape expressed the government's intention to explore the possibility of introducing compulsory education policies.

"The Government allocates over K700 million annually for basic tuition, so we encourage parents not to keep their children at home. The responsibility of constructing classrooms and paying teachers lies with the Government. Therefore, we urge all parents to send their children to school," Prime Minister Marape asserted.

This ambitious education revolution, spearheaded by Prime Minister Marape, promises to reshape the educational landscape of Papua New Guinea, fostering a skilled and educated populace ready to face the challenges of the future.