Milne Bay Province Universal Basic Education in 2019


Milne Bay Province is located at eastern tip of the mainland PNG. It comprises four districts and sixteen (16) Local Level Government (LLGs) and varying geographical challenges for social and economic development. The 2011 census estimated a total population of 276,512 and this accounted for 3.8% of PNG’ total population.

The province has 504 elementary schools and 226 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 inland communities and bridges for coastal villages.

Road networks are mostly on the mainland and around the provincial capital of Alotau. Most islanders commute by sea transport or air transport in areas where third level airlines are able to operate. The vast open sea area between the islands are challenges that islanders face daily in order to access services such as education and health. For many children on these islands, education is both a physical and mental challenge they encounter daily in their travel to and from school if schools are on other islands.

  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 37 percent of six-year-old children enrolled at the point of admission at elementary prep in Central Province. This is low. About four out of every 10 children who are six years of age are enrolled in elementary prep. In contrast, about 63 percent of the six-year old school aged children were not enrolled in schools in 2019. At the district level, the access rate for Alotau is estimated at 40 percent and Samarai Murua at 31 percent, indicating lower levels of six-year-old children enrolled at the point of admission at elementary prep in Central Province. 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 Milne Bay province are below the national average. This indicates that high number of children are dropping out of school before successfully completing grade 8. Of those who enrolled in Milne Bay schools, about 63 percent completed grade 8. The retention rate for Alotau and Samara-Murua districts are at 70 percent. In contrast, 30 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 that the provincial examination mark was estimated at 40 percent and for all districts in the province, they performed well below the Grade 8 National Examination PNG 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.