Primary school head teachers will do better as lecturers for teachers colleges

Primary school head teachers will do better as lecturers for teachers colleges 

Effective teacher training is crucial for preparing teachers to meet the diverse needs of pupils in primary education. Primary school head teachers are influential in providing practical understanding and real-life examples to teacher training college students. Based on their firsthand experience in a primary school, head teachers bridge the gap between theory and practice, sharing real classroom scenarios and effective teaching strategies.

Why head teachers will do better as lecturers in teachers colleges?
The following are some of the reasons that a primary school head teacher will do better as a lecturer of teachers college in Papua New Guinea (PNG) compared to a high school teacher or individuals recruited from other fields:

  • Application of theoretical concepts. By drawing on their direct experience in a primary school environment, the head teacher can help bridge the gap between theoretical concepts taught in teacher training college courses and their practical application in real classrooms. They can demonstrate how educational theories and pedagogical approaches are implemented in day-to-day teaching practices.
  • Sharing of real classroom scenarios. The primary school head teacher can share practical examples and case studies from their own teaching experiences to illustrate key concepts, challenges, and best practices in primary education. This firsthand knowledge can make the learning experience more engaging and relevant for student-teachers.
  • Demonstration of effective teaching strategies. Through their experience in planning lessons, delivering instruction, and assessing pupil learning, the head teacher can demonstrate effective teaching strategies and techniques that have been successful in improving pupil outcomes. They can provide practical tips and guidance on engaging pupils, paraphrasing instruction to make pupils understand, and creating inclusive learning environments.
  • Reflection on professional practice. The primary school head teacher can use his or her own experiences to encourage student-teachers to reflect on their teaching practices, beliefs, and values. Primary school head teachers can facilitate discussions on the importance of continuous professional development, self-reflection, and growth as educators.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills. The head teacher's firsthand experience in addressing classroom challenges, managing student behaviour, and making instructional decisions can be used as valuable examples. Student teachers need this to develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills. They can learn how to navigate through complex situations and make informed choices based on proven practical experiences.

How primary school head teachers can be encouraged to lecture in teachers colleges

Attracting experienced primary school head teachers to lecture in teachers colleges requires initiatives that recognise the value of their direct experience and incentivise their participation. Some initiatives that recognise the value of their direct experience and can motivate them to become lecturers in teachers colleges are the following:

  • Professional Development Opportunities: The National Department of Education (NDoE) and Department of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology (DHESRT) should consider setting aside scholarships for head teachers to encourage them to take up higher degree professional development programs focusing on pedagogy, curriculum development, leadership, and effective teaching strategies. The programs can equip them with the skillset and confidence for a lecturer role.
  • Collaborative Partnership: Teachers colleges should consider inviting successful head teachers from neighbouring provinces to share their skills and experience with student-teachers. By involving them in curriculum development, mentorship, and guest lectures, colleges can strengthen the link between theory and practice in teacher education. Suitable head teachers are then identified and offered lecturer positions, encouraging them to upgrade their qualifications for the role.
  • Research Opportunities: NDoE and DHERST should consider encouraging head teachers to engage in research projects and scholarly activities with teachers colleges to support the research methods course added to teachers college curricula. Head teachers meeting a set limit of partnered or individual publications are regarded as eligible for university qualification upgrade scholarships. Additionally, their contribution to academic discourse provides them with a source to utilise in their higher-degree studies.
  • Recognition and Prestige: This is a result of collaborative partnership and research opportunities above. NDoE and DHERST to consider establishing recognition programs that highlight the contributions of experienced head teachers to teacher training and academic discourse. Such programs can motivate head teachers to share more of their knowledge and insights with aspiring teachers and motivate teachers colleges to recruit the head teachers when their degree study culminates.

By implementing these initiatives, teacher-training colleges can attract more experienced primary school head teachers to lecture, enriching the learning experience for teacher-training college students and better preparing them for the challenges of the teaching profession.

Conclusion
Generally, the practical insights and real-time examples provided by a primary school head teacher with direct experience in a primary school setting can enrich the learning experience for student-teachers. By sharing their firsthand knowledge, experiences, and expertise, they can help pave the way for effective teacher training in teachers colleges and prepare future teachers to efficiently navigate the difficulties of the teaching profession and make a positive impact in primary education in PNG.

 

About the author
Michael Jimmy has 20 years of experience as a primary school teacher. He served as a teacher-trainer for four years. He is currently working with PNG National Research Institute as a Senior Research Officer in the Education Research Program. He has a Master of Research Methodology from the Divine Word University, Madang Province. His research interest is in quality pedagogy in the education system.

Download PDF

Government must do more to assist teachers to upgrade their academic qualifications

Government must do more to assist teachers to upgrade their academic qualifications

Teacher qualification upgrade is important, however, the primary school teacher’s salary may not be able to cater for that expenses. The National Department of Education (NDoE) has a policy that all elementary, primary, and secondary school teachers must upgrade their qualifications. The qualification upgrade is to meet the expectations outlined in the Papua New Guinea Vision 2050. Qualification upgrade for teachers in basic education has three benefits. These are pedagogical, professional, and personal. Pedagogical benefits for students are improved student outcomes. Professional benefits for the teacher are adaptation to changing educational trends, meeting professional development requirements, enhanced pedagogical skills, and expanded subject knowledge. Personal benefits for the teachers are increased confidence, career advancement opportunities, and personal growth and fulfilment. To have these benefits, teachers must gladly do qualification upgrade. However, some of the teachers who are unable to upgrade their qualification have long-serving experience in teaching. Their experience is the expertise that points out the direction that teaching and learning must take.

Some factors that hinder teachers from upgrading their qualifications
The factors that restrict teachers from upgrading their qualifications include the following:

  • Teachers may find it difficult to budget for education from their salary. Some teachers have families to cater financially for and at the same time they also have to pay for necessities such as housing, food and clothing using their salaries. As teachers are expected to pay for qualification upgrade, some teachers may find it difficult to afford the price of the upgrade because of inadequate funds.
  • Dependents to care for. Long-serving teachers may have children and other dependents in school to cater for. They also help dependents with bride price, hauskrai (funeral) expenses, church-related expenses, sports-related expenses, etc. They contribute heavily to meeting the expectations of their relatives. So, it may be difficult for them to be able to afford costs associated with upgrading their academic qualifications.
  • Concern for their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Despite limited local research, it's clear that some experienced teachers who are also business owners may face a dilemma when considering further education. The fear of safeguarding their investments often prevents them from pursuing educational upgrades, as they hesitate to entrust their businesses to others in a society where honesty is scarce. This reluctance arises from concerns about the integrity and reliability of potential successors in managing their enterprises.

Considering further studies, teacher business owners must delegate the management of their SME, raising concerns regarding the survival of their asset while they are studying. Their apprehension focuses on how their SME will survive remotely from them. The notable aspect is the loss of their salary to budget shortfalls in their SME.

  • Societal responsibilities. Long-serving teachers play important roles in society. They are leaders in their church, clan, business groups, and in other societal groups as well. This role may be one they built up from nothing. They fear transferring the responsibility based on a combination of reasons like the fear that what they built is their personal investment, they prefer their ‘hard work’ to go on, they fear their legacy being destroyed by the successor, the fear of conflict or disruption destroying what they created, etc. are reasons why they do not want to leave something they built to another person they do not trust.

Interventions to encourage teachers to upgrade their qualifications
NDoE, in coordination with the Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST) can encourage teachers to upgrade their qualifications by considering the following:

  • NDoE and DHERST should provide clear path on how teachers who want to upgrade their qualifications can access the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).
  • Education grants can be directly offered to teachers to cover a portion of their educational expenses.
  • Scholarship programs by NDoE and DHERST in collaboration with other government agencies, non-governement organisations, and private organisations can be made available, especially for teachers.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Negotiating with tertiary institutions to establish flexible payment plans can make higher education more accessible to teachers. This could include deferred payment options, installment plans, or payment waivers like AES, HECAS, and TESAS based on academic performance.

Conclusion
The identified factors that hinder teachers from ugrading their qualification may continue to exist in PNG. Remember, these are experienced teachers who ensure that pedagogy complies to set policies and traditions. NDoE can set policies but the teachers contribute towards implementing these policies. Some of the affected teachers may resign from their positions because they are not able to meet the requirement of qualification upgrade policy. Their resignation will be a blow to pedagogy. Hence, teachers must benefit from the HELP program so that the child in the classroom will benefit in the long-term. 

About the author
Michael Jimmy has 20 of experience as a primary school teacher. He was also a teacher-trainer for four years. He currently works at PNG National Research Institute as a Senior Research Officer in the Education Research Program. He has a Master of Research Methodology from the Divine Word University in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. His research interest is in quality pedagogy in the education system.

Download PDF

Loan scheme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Who benefits from it?

Loan scheme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Who benefits from it?

In 2020, between September and October, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government released K200 million for a loan scheme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) (Post Courier, 2021). The funds were distributed to the two nominated banks, the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) and the National Development Bank (NDB). The funds were disbursed as follows: BSP, K100 million; NDB, K80 million; and Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI), K20 million.


A survey on constraints to SME growth in PNG was conducted in Port Moresby, Rabaul, Lae, and other provinces and districts online . The respondents were asked to give their opinion on each of the statements stated in the questionnaire and to what extent they agreed or disagreed with each one of them. One of them was difficulty in accessing loan (see Table 1). In Table 1 below in statement number one (1), 75.3 percent show that there was difficulty in accessing the loan.

Table 1: Respondents' view on obstacles affecting SMEs.

 

Statements

Port Moresby, Kokopo/Rabaul, Lae, and other provinces and districts online

 

%

Agreeing Number of Respondents

131

%

Uncertain

Number of Respondents

19

%

Disagreeing

Number of Respondents

25

 

1. Difficulty accessing loan scheme

75.3%

10.9%

13.8%

         

Source: Data obtained from a questionnaire survey of the public opinion of Constraints to SME growth generated from the SPSS frequency table

Furthermore, the respondents responded to the open-ended question which stated that, what are your general views about SME growth in PNG? There was a perception among several respondents about the difficulty in accessing the funds from the loan scheme for SMEs. They felt that only a certain group of people have benefited from this scheme.

Those who represented this view argued that:
Government SME loan does not reach the bulk of the population. Only a certain group of people benefited through whom-you-know system.
Financial institutions are in favour of bigger businesses in funding their operation rather than the small enterprises business in our wards and communities.
Only a handful are benefiting from government funding for SMEs. However, the rest of us try to work hard for survival. The government does not care; all it cares about is getting taxes from us.
There is too much talk about the funds for SMEs, however, I am unable to access the funds. This is due to bank requirements for too much paperwork for accessing the fund. It is unfair to the newly formed SME owners.
The biggest problem is trying to access government grants and loans. We are not able to access the K80 million from NDB or the K100 million given to BSP. We are even denied. The systems are so compromised and it's killing SMEs in PNG.
We face difficulty in accessing funds for startup capital to sustain and experience growth in the SME sector for sustainable living.
SMEs are not effectively operating in small businesses because wealthy people are using money deposited in the bank for SME loans.

The respondents felt that only certain groups of people have benefited from this scheme. It does not reach the bulk of SME operators. Financial institutions are in favour of bigger businesses in funding their operation rather than small enterprises. Although the government releases the funds to SMEs, the lenders (Banks) play whom they know games. They look at business people who are well-established and lend the money to them. Therefore, it is assumed that wealthy people are using money deposited in the bank for SME loans.

How to improve accessibility of funds for SMEs
In order to improve the accessibility of the funds for SMEs, the following should be considered:
• Financial institutions must have some strategies to help SMEs grow in the country. They must be fair to both smaller enterprises and bigger businesses in assisting them to get easy access to obtaining loans.

• To gain easy access to loans, the government established the Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) and ensured that it has mandatory functions to provide guarantees to SMEs to access the loan. CGC is to assist, develop, and promote SMEs, especially those without or with inadequate collateral and without business track records to gain access to financing from the participating financial institutions at a reasonable cost and reduced risk.

Conclusion
PNG Government in 2020 released K200 million for loan schemes for SMEs. The funds were distributed to the two nominated banks, the BSP and the NDB. However, only certain people benefited from this scheme. It did not reach much of the population. Financial institutions are in favour of bigger businesses in funding their operation rather than small businesses. However, the financial institutions must be fair to smaller enterprises and provide easy access to obtaining the loan. The government established CGC to provide guarantees to SMEs to access the loan.

About the Author
Dr. Philip Kavan is a Senior Research Fellow in the Economic Policy Research Program at the PNG National Research Institute. He has a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the University of Canberra, a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University (ANU), a Bachelor of Arts Honours, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Major in Anthropology and Sociology) from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). His research interests include informal economic activities and social and economic issues in development.

Download PDF