Northern Province Universal Basic Education in 2019


Northern Province has a land mass of about 43,700 km2. The province has two (2) districts and nine (9) Local Level Government (LLGs). The 2011 census estimated a total population of 186,309 and this accounts for 2.6% of PNG’s total population.

The province has 306 elementary schools and 113 primary schools. Education provision across the two 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 inland communities and bridges for coastal villages.

  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 that the access rates is estimated at 32 percent of six-year-old children enrolled at the point of admission at elementary prep in Northern Province. This is low. About three out of every 10 children who are six years of age are enrolled in elementary prep. In contrast, about 58 percent of the six-year old school aged children were not enrolled in schools in 2019. At the district level, both districts recorded an access rate of 31 and 34 percent respectively. The challenge now is for all districts to double their efforts in increasing access for all children turning six years of age to enter the first grade (elementary prep) of basic education.

Figure 2 shows that the cohort retention rates for all districts in Northern province are below the national average. This indicates that high number of children are dropping out of school before successfully completing grade 8. Of the students who started first grade, about 52 percent completed the full cycle of the primary education while 48 percent dropped out before completing the final grade (Grade 8) of basic education. Ijivitari recorded an estimate of 55 percent which indicates that about 45 dropped out before the completing the education cycle. There is a need to ensure that more efforts are required in keeping children in school until they complete basic education.

Figure 3 shows the examination that the provincial examination mark was estimated at 41 percent and for all districts in the province, they performed well below the Grade 8 National Examination average in all subject areas. There is more work for all districts, especially in ensuring that students’ learning outcomes need more improvements. There are still more rooms for improvement.

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


For more information on the status of the universal basic education, Click on this Link.