ACCORDING to Papua New Guinea Education Secretary, Dr Michael Tapo, precisely 21,430 students sat the Grade 12 national examinations this year.
But only 4,500 places are available across all higher learning institutions for the 2015 academic year.
This means that 80% of Grade 12 students will not be considered for entry to universities and colleges.
The English and Literature examination is compulsory for all students which means that all 21,430 should have sat the exam. But the real number was only 17,236. So who are the missing 4,194 students?
In fact, the same 21,430 should also have sat for the compulsory Mathematics examination. But the Education Department statistics show that 7,091 students sat for Maths A and 13,191 for Maths B leaving a deficit of 1,148. Where were they?
So the numbers presented by Dr Tapo do not add up. For clarification, students doing distance study or resitting exams might not have been included. But even if they were there is still an irregularity. It also means that more than 4,000 students not attending a formal secondary school are also vying for one of the 4,500 spaces.
In reality, those 4,500 spaces are susceptible to bribery, manipulation and foul-play of all sorts. So, who suffers here? Those poor students who have spent the best part of 12 years in formal education who stand little or no chance against the unaccounted.
The Papua New Guinea Department of Education needs to collect relevant and accurate data from schools around the country.
The Secretary’ analysis must base on factual data. He must not spit out data to the media when the numbers are flawed.
The PNG education system is producing an 80 - 90% dropout rate from Grade 12 every year, yet the government does not have accurate data to sort out this problem.
You can read more on the PNG Maths blog here - http://png-maths.blogspot.com.au