Education. Papua New Guinea press review

Schools in the National Capital District (NCD, Port Moresby) resumed on the 17th of August, but with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Masks are mandatory in schools. At the same moment, since classrooms were hot and often crowded, teachers have advised kids to only remove masks once they are outside and away from friends. The Department of Education yesterday advised parents and guardians that children below the age of 12 years were not required to wear face masks, amid concerns on the proper use of the PPE by children and the risks associated with prolonged covering of the nose and mouth for those under the age of 12 years. [1-2]

In turn, PNG Education Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra stated that each school is required to allocate a room where a student or teacher with a COVID-19 symptom can be isolated until health workers arrive. It is one of the guidelines set by the National Education Board for provincial education authorities and school management to follow in the event there is a COVID-19 case in school. According to Mr. Kombra, it will help schools manage cases and conduct contact tracing instead of shutting down schools in the entire province. Dr. Kombra also marked that the third batch of the tuition fee subsidy should be disbursed to schools by this week. Of the K486 million (US$139,86 million) budgeted for the subsidy, the Education Department has received K125 million ($US35,97 million) from the Finance Department. Schools have already been paid K95 million (US$27,34 million). It leaves a balance of K361million (US$103,88 million) for the rest of the year. [3]

However, on the 17th of August 2020 more than 32,000 grade 12 students sat for the National Written Expression Examination yesterday around the country, including 4,200 in the National Capital District (NCD) and Central Province. There were 2,800 in Morobe Province, including students from two big schools in Lae closed for various reasons. [4]

At the same time, schools in Alotau (Milne Bay Province) have been closed after a student tested positive for COVID-19. It’s the first case so far in Milne Bay. The schools were advised to close straight after the Grade 12 Written Expression Examination. [5]

The School in Port Moresby has been forced to close after the parent of two students had tested positive for the COVID-19. According to Koroboro International School principal Peter O’Sullivan, Over the next four days, the entire school would undergo [thorough] a cleaning and sections of the school grounds will [be sprayed with sanitisers] by our staff and possibly a professional cleaning company. Koroboro International School is one of the 18 PNG schools registered with the International Agency of Education. [6]
[1] https://postcourier.com.pg/schools-follow-no-mask-no-entry-rule/
[2] https://www.thenational.com.pg/student-safety-a-concern/
[3] https://www.thenational.com.pg/schools-must-have-isolation-centres/
[4] https://www.thenational.com.pg/over-32000-students-sat-for-written-expression-exam/
[5] https://www.thenational.com.pg/schools-in-alotau-closed/
[6] https://www.thenational.com.pg/covid-19-forces-school-closure/

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