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Thursday, 16 September 1971
Page: 1500

Mr Stewart (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Externa] Territories, upon notice:

(1)   Is the training of primary school teachers in the Territory of Papua New Guinea considered adequate?

(2)   Is any additional training available to primary teachers after appointment: if not, why not?

Mr Barnes (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for External Territories) - The answer to the honourmember's question is as follows:

The matter referred to is one which falls within the authority of the Ministerial Member for Education in the House of Assembly for Papua New Guinea. The Administrator on the advice of the Ministerial Member for Education has provided the following information:

(1)   The adequacy of the training of primary school teachers is particularly dependent upon the qualifications of students entering colleges and the length of the course of training. Over the last few years the numbers of students undertaking one year courses have steadily decreased and as from the beginning of 1971 all students entering teachers colleges undertake a two year course.

Significant improvements have been made in the level of recruitment of students as is shown in this table.


The percentage of Form 4 students is expected to increase in 1972.

With the introductionto the new Education Ordinance, boards of studies, which are advised and assisted by departmental officers and the Teacher Education Committee of the Territory Education Board, have been set up in all colleges. These boards are responsible for the general supervision of the academic and professional instruction and training given in colleges.

Although there have been inadequacies in the past in the preparation of teachers - due to the necessity to create a system of education in a very short time - these are now being rapidly overcome through the sorts of development outlined and through greater provision of in-service training opportunities.

(2)   Additional training is available to primary teachers after appointment. A considerable number and variety of in-service training opportunities are available to primary teachers after appointment. For practical purposes these inservice programmes may be divided into two parts:

(a)   Full time courses and the number of teachers who have been released to attend these courses in 1971 are as follows:


The above courses were widely advertised and available to qualified primary teachers on application.

In all, 243 primary teachers will be released for full time in-service training (professional and general education) courses in 1971. Due to the variable lengths of the courses (some six months; some one year) the number of teachers actually attending in-service courses at any one time is 183.

(b)   Part time in-service opportunities available to primary teachers are as follows:

(i)   Form 2 equivalent up-grading Vacation Courses (taken during Christmas school vacation).

(ii)   Lahara Session (University of Papua New Guinea, December-January) for courses for University degree credits, and pre-matriculation courses.

(iii)   Evening classes and correspondence tuition provided by the School of External Studies.

In addition to the formal courses mentioned above, the Department of Education provides ad hoc training workshops at various times throughout Papua New Guinea to familiarise teachers with recent syllabus developments (for example primary science). As well, National In-Service Training Week which allows all teachers one week off normal school duties each year to attend approved in-service courses in their district centres, is organised by the Department for the purpose of improving teaching skills in needed areas. The number of courses available and the number of teachers who participate depend to a large extern on the demand for courses by teachers.

It is apparent that a considerable number and variety of additional training opportunities are available to primary teachers after appointment. The Department of Education is aware of the effect of these opportunities on the morale of teachers and is constantly seeking to take advantage of additional worthwhile training opportunities which will lead to increased effectiveness of teachers. To do this it is planned to increase the in-service training commitment each year to the extent circumstances permit.

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