Prime Minister Hon. James Marape is championing the establishment of Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) centres in all high schools across the country, aiming to provide a second chance at education for school leavers and individuals seeking further educational opportunities.

During the inauguration of a FODE centre at Mt Diamond Adventist Secondary School in Central on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Prime Minister Marape called upon Education Minister Hon. Jimmy Uguro and Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra to replicate this initiative throughout Papua New Guinea.

Highlighting the significance of incorporating Christian values and ethics into the curriculum, Prime Minister Marape stressed the importance of guiding young individuals through 13 years of education, from elementary to Grade 12. Additionally, he emphasised the need to include practical life skills, such as agriculture, carpentry, and small business, to foster well-rounded individuals.

“I urge the Education Department to expeditiously implement this model across our nation,” said Prime Minister Marape.

“All 369 high schools in the country should transform into Flexible Open Distance Education campuses.

“I am thrilled to announce that in 2022, we successfully brought back over 80,000 students to school through the FODE concept. This includes Grade 12 students, whose certificates are equivalent to those earned in traditional classrooms.”

Under this innovative approach, students living in close proximity to these high schools will have the flexibility to pursue their education beyond the traditional classroom setting. For instance, students who complete Grade 8 will have the opportunity to study Grade 9 at their own pace within their communities, rather than being limited to urban centres.

Likewise, students who are unable to secure a spot in Grade 11 due to capacity constraints need not be discouraged, as they can continue their studies through Grade 11 and 12 via the FODE programme. The Grade 12 FODE certificate will hold equal value to the one obtained by students attending conventional classrooms. Prime Minister Marape further added that Grade 12 FODE students will be eligible to apply for universities and other institutions, just like their peers attending regular classes.

In his unwavering commitment to ensuring no individual is left behind, particularly the youth who are vulnerable to educational deprivation, Prime Minister Marape expressed the government’s intention to explore the possibility of introducing compulsory education policies.

“The Government allocates over K700 million annually for basic tuition, so we encourage parents not to keep their children at home. The responsibility of constructing classrooms and paying teachers lies with the Government. Therefore, we urge all parents to send their children to school,” Prime Minister Marape asserted.