Western Province Universal Basic Education in 2019


Western Province has three (3) districts and fourteen (14) Local Level Government (LLGs). According to the 2011 census, the population was estimated at 201,351 with a growth rate of 2.5%.  The province accounted for 2.8% of PNG’s total population.

The province has 305 elementary and 384 primary schools. These schools are provided by the government as well as non-government organizations such as the churches which operate as Agency Schools.

Given the challenges, which includes the vast land areas, difficult terrains and lack of infrastructure, are difficulties encountered in providing basic education to all school-aged children.  This is evident through the maps that shows the access rate, retention rate and quality for the three districts in Western 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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Descriptive notes

Figure 1 shows that the access rate at one third (31%) of six-year-old children enrolled at the point of admission at elementary prep in Western Province. This is quite low. Only three out of every 10 children who are six years of age are enrolled in elementary prep in the province. At the district level, North Fly records the highest with almost 50 percent and the other two (Middle and South Fly) are below 30 percent. The reasons vary and include enrolling later, however the push is to have all children who are 6 years old to be enrolled in schools.

Figure 2 shows the cohort retention rate of almost 60 percent of all children in Western province, who started first grade and continued until they completed the final grade which is grade 8 - the target. At the district level, North Fly recorded very high with 68 percent and the other two districts also recorded just over 50 percent of their children in school who started first grade and continued until they complete the primary school cycle. Take note that at the province level, 40 percent of the students who started first grade dropped out before completing the final grade (Grade 8) of basic education. 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 marks for Western province, and the result was estimated at 32 percent which is below the all-PNG average at 49 percent in all subjects. Note that all districts performed well below the all-PNG average (49%) in all subject areas. The implications are that the students did not perform well and therefore, overall, the three districts have to work hard to put more efforts to improve quality of learning outcomes in basic education.

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