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close this bookSchool Enterprises: Combining Vocational Learning with Production (UNEVOC, 1998, 64 p.)
close this folder2. Case Studies
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1 China
View the document2.2 India
View the document2.3 Indonesia
View the document2.4 Papua New Guinea
View the document2.5 Germany
View the document2.6 Botswana
View the document2.7 Kenya and Ghana
View the document2.8 Algeria
View the document2.9 Cuba and Costa Rica

2.4 Papua New Guinea

Vocational Centres

In Papua New Guinea, most institutional vocational training is offered by nearly 100 vocational centres within the national education system. In the mid-1980s they had some 6500 trainees that made up 0.7% of the population aged 12-25.19 In the system, vocational centre training is an alternative to post-primary liberal arts education at lower secondary levels which reaches 5.3% of the 12-25 age group. It aims to provide two years of production-oriented training in trade, craft, domestic and business skills, with or without basic education. Its students are mainly primary graduates who are either drop-outs from secondary school, or else were not selected for the secondary school.

19 Preston, R., 1993

The administration of vocational education is the responsibility of the provincial governments, while the National Department of Education controls teacher training and registration, inspections, overall policy, planning and capital investments. Finance for salaries, and some capital investment, is administered by the provinces from the minimum unconditional grant awarded to each province from the central government. Vocational centres are also expected to generate income to cover operating and recurrent expenditures. In contrast to other sectors of the education system, the vocational education curriculum development is the main responsibility of the provinces and the vocational centres.

The majority of vocational centres in Papua New Guinea represent a simple training structure; i.e., offer only few occupational specialisations: woodwork, agricultural products, metalwork and mechanics, food processing, craft work, and business management. Locally specific training is especially pronounced in the production of cash-crops. This includes instruction in cacao production and processing.

All the training is oriented directly or indirectly to market production. The extent to which practical training is combined with the transmission of business skills, as well as the didactics of training, varies from centre to centre. Practical experience associated with business management (bookkeeping, accounting, buying, selling) is possible primarily in centres that have stores. The level of training in vocational centres is basic, and dependent on what can be achieved using hand tools and materials available from local markets. Food production is oriented to the production of meals and to meeting centre needs. Craft work includes mainly garment making.

Marketing is carried out either directly from centres or from local markets, depending on the nature of the goods being manufactured. Earnings from the sale of products and services depend entirely on the experience and motivation of teaching and supporting staff; in particular, of centre managers.

The curriculum requirements are diverse within centres. Teaching times and sequences of learning are usually not predetermined as most instructors are carrying out commissioned work. As technology levels are low and there are limited funds for equipment maintenance, teachers have to make the best of their working conditions.

Instructors are trained at an in-service training college. Women with a 10th grade qualification are trained for two years in practical skills, continuing basic education, and instruction in teaching methods. The men, experienced as master tradesmen (grade 10, two years of technical education, three-year apprenticeships, and post-apprenticeship experience) are trained for one year in teaching skills with some exposure to trade skills other than their specialisations. They are paid high-cost, full-time equivalent salaries for this training. Basic educational skills are not taught to them. Some of these men have taken up this training as the only option after performing unsatisfactorily in previous careers.

Inspectors have responsibility for monitoring vocational centre training across the country. They are responsible for trade skill and cash-crop production training. The women inspectors are usually in charge of food processing and craft work.

There is a popular demand for the pre-employment training offered in the vocational training centres. This has to do with the satisfactory returns against investment and the opportunity cost of such training. There is also evidence of a positive impact of training, in that trainees do make use of the skills they learn. Most trainees with trade-skill training, carpentry and mechanics find employment in local firms or family businesses. Trainees from the agricultural courses are known to establish small businesses in their own communities, many of which are, however, short-lived on account of the lack of community support, the lack of graduate maturity and experience as well as the lack of external seed money. Women are less likely to attain employment than men. The majority of women are in villages or living at home and are involved in domestic work, typing, or work in hotels. Some have taken on leadership roles in the community organisations. Through the training of women in craft work and food production, women have been able to produce a surplus from subsistence work. The skills are also used for undertaking the repair of school buildings.