Western Highlands Province Universal Basic Education in 2019


Western Highlands Province covers the Jimi, Wahgi, Baiyer, Lai, Kaugel and Nebilyer valleys. It also includes the Hagen Range, the Kubor Range and the mountains of the Sepik- Wahgi Divide that run through the entire province. The province has four (4) districts and 15 LLGs. Mt. Hagen is the provincial town and is a central business hub for all the highlands provinces. In 2011, the population was about 362,850 with a growth rate of 3.2%. The province accounted for 5.0% of PNG’s total population. Mt Hagen District is the most populated district comprising 34% of the population followed by Mul/Baiyer (23%), Dei (22%) and Tambul/Nebilyer (21%). Of this population, there are about 90,810 school-age children (6-14 years old) in the province in 2019.

The province has 350 elementary schools and 137 primary schools. Education provision across the four districts varies. Where the physical and economic environment is conducive for certain pockets of the population, positive progress is more likely to take place. Access to basic education is enhanced through improved infrastructure such as roads for in the province.

   Figure 1 Access Rate by districts

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   Figure 2 Cohort Retention Rate by districts

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  Figure 3 Examination Pass Rate by districts

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Explanatory notes

Figure 1 shows the access rates and generally, all districts are above the all-PNG averages in the key UBE indicators. About more than three quarter of the six-year-old children have access to elementary prep. It is encouraging to see that the percentage of children enrolling in elementary prep (79%) is closer to the cohort retention rate (83%) and the net enrolment rates in basic education (87%). This shows that there is an increase in the admission of six-year-old school-aged children in elementary prep.

Figure 2 shows that the cohort retention rates (CRR) of 81 percent for the province and the province’s performance in the cohort retention rate are outstanding. The four districts maintained high rate of cohort retention rates than all districts in Papua New Guinea. This demonstrates that more students remain in school until they successfully complete basic education.

Figure 3 shows the examination pass mark is estimated at 59 percent and all districts have shown exceptional performances in learning outcomes that can be considered satisfactory with the exception of Dei District. Dei District needs to improve its performance in order to improve the provincial average. The overall challenge now is to sustain this momentum while expanding on the achievements and challenge.

Technical notes

Access to education refers to the number of 6-year-old children who are enrolled in elementary prep expressed as a percentage of population of 6-year old’s of school-age population which is 6 years to 14 years.

Cohort Retention Rate refers to the number of pupils who successfully completed an education cycle as a percentage of the same group of pupils who started the first grade (elementary prep) of the cycle earlier. A cohort retention rate of 100 percent, or all children who started first grade, completing final grade is the target.

Grade 8 Examination Pass Rate refers to examination mean as an estimate of the average achievement in the subject and is found by dividing the sum of marks scored by the number of students. Each examination is out of 50, hence the sum of the three subjects is 150. The average score of the three subjects is divided by 150 and multiply by 100 to get a percentage score. The target would be 100 percent


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