EDUCATION TUITION FEE FREE POLICY STATEMENT

Joint Statement by Minister and Acting Secretary

We are pleased to announce that we now have a single integrated Tuition Fee Free policy that will provide further clarity and direction in the implementation of tuition fee free.

Education is a right for all children, both boys and girls, in Papua New Guinea and we are very thankful that this Government had made one of the boldest decisions ever made by any government when it introduced the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy in 2011.
This landmark policy is benefiting all children irrespective of background across our country. We have had challenges in implementing and monitoring this massive agenda as we remit over K2billion to over 10,000 schools each year and aim to ensure accountability.

We would like to commend our officers and stakeholders for their continuous work to ensure that the TFF policy is rolled out and implemented in all schools throughout the country.
We are now making this policy available to all our schools and institutions and also our stakeholders including the general public so that they understand it and help us to implement it successfully. We believe that this policy will give opportunity to many more children to have complete education from Prep to Grade 12 and thus contributing to the human resources that will develop our great country.

1. POLICY STATEMENT
The Government of Papua New Guinea will provide tuition fee free funding to schools registered under the National Education System to enable all school aged children to access universal quality education from Preparatory grade to Grade 12, including students in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE) and inclusive education.

2. POLICY INTENT
The TFF Policy means that:
1. All school aged children will have access to free tuition in elementary, primary and secondary – 13 years of complete education.
2. Students will not be discriminated against on the grounds of economic circumstance – with equal opportunity for all.
3. All people in PNG will be educated.
4. Parents, guardians and stakeholders are engaged and take shared responsibility for education in PNG

3. POLICY: INTENDED OUTCOMES
1. All children and youth have access to elementary, primary and secondary – 13 years of complete education – leading to compulsory education.
2. All people in PNG will be educated and be able to contribute to the country’s development and future growth.
3. Equity is enhanced. Education is available to all children in all communities across PNG irrespective of gender, economic or geographic background.
4. Parents are relieved from the burden of fees. Hence savings are invested to improve the quality of life of Papua New Guineans, towards achieving Vision 2050. 

4. SCHOOL FEES & COMPONENTS
4.1. Scope of TFF
1. A grant covering the maximum fee limits set by the National Education Board is paid by the National Government for the learning needs of students attending registered Elementary, Primary, Secondary and Vocational Schools and Inclusive Education Resource Centres and FODE and also approved and registered Permitted schools. All employees of the Department of Education must comply with this policy and the accompanying TFF Implementation Guide.

4.2. TFF Components
TFF has three (3) components.
I. Cash Administration 40%
II. Infrastructure  30%
III. Teaching and Learning  30%

I. Cash Administration Component (40%)
Cash grants are paid directly to school accounts registered with the DoE.

II. Infrastructure Component (30%)
Grant to schools for the provision of infrastructure – both for routine works and new capital works. This component will be held in Trust by District Treasuries and released to schools (with a corresponding District Service Improvement Program component where provided) based on scope of works and quotes.

III. Teaching and Learning Component (30%)
Government will assist in the provision of teaching and learning materials. This includes consumables and capital assets, equipment and curriculum materials.  This component will be centrally managed through the regions.

4.3. Project Fees
Additional fees may be imposed by schools for special purposes as approved by the National Education Board and Provincial Education Board. Students will not be denied an education for non-payment of this fee.

Maximum Project Fee limits may change from year to year. Project Fee Limits for 2016 are as follows:
Level – Maximum Fee
Elementary – K50
Primary – K100
High Schools/Vocational K200
Secondary Schools K250

4.4. Church Agency Fees
Additional fees may be imposed by Church Agencies through their schools for special purposes as approved by National Education Board and Provincial Education Board. Students will not be denied to education for non-payment of this fee. Public notices will put out to advice on the fee limits.

5. POLICY DIRECTIONS
5.1. Responsibilities
1. The TFF policy and funding will remain a national function, whilst implementation, monitoring and reporting will be provincial and district administrative functions.
2. The National Government will provide 100% of Tuition Fees for school aged students enrolled in schools registered within the National Education System.
3. The National Government will pay a proportionate subsidy of the total Tuition Fees for school aged students enrolled in permitted and approved and registered schools with the Department of Education.
4. Parents, guardians and other stakeholders will have the responsibility to provide additional basic requirements such as, but not limited to, school uniforms, sports equipment, lunch, transportation, toiletries, and additional stationery.

5.2. Right to Education
No child can be refused enrolment or restricted in her/his place in a school or learning program if unable to contribute project fees, church fees, or any other form of fees including tuition fee free grants.

5.3. Project and Church Agency Fees Rules
Schools may collect project fees within the national fee limits set by the NEB, but must follow the following rules:
1. Schools may propose projects fees to the PEB for specific school infrastructure projects or a project that will contribute to students’ education. The Parents and Citizens of the school must approve such projects through formal Meetings, recorded in Minutes.
2. The NEB will set annual maximum limits for project fees and church fees, with PEBs authorizing local limits within the nationally established maximums.
3. PEBs will only approve projects fees where they are demonstrated to be educationally sound and viable projects, approved by minuted meetings of Parent & Citizens and School Boards. Such fees must be at or below the national NEB approved limit.
4. PEBs will only approve church agency fees, which are education related and will contribute to the spiritual growth of students. Such fees must be at or below the national NEB approved limit.
5. No student will denied access to schools or classes for non payment of project or church agency fees.

5.4. Finance
1. TFF will be paid to qualifying schools on an annual basis, according to the TFF Implementation Guide that will accompany this policy.
2. TFF grants will be paid into one specific Cheque Account opened with a Commercial bank approved by the School Board and endorsed by the Provincial Education Board. This bank account must never change. This bank account must hold a minimum balance of K100.00 and remain open at all times. Closure of accounts will stop banks from sending funds into school accounts.
3. TFF funds must be spent according to the Public Finance Management Act and Financial Instructions issued by the Department of Finance and other authorities.
4. District and Provincial Treasurers will sign and approve expenditures of all schools as stipulated in Financial Instructions. Thresholds of expenditure approval limits for each level of school are prescribed in the Implementation Guide and must be complied with by all head teachers of institutions.
5. TFF funds must be spent according to the approved procedures for planning, expenditure and acquittal attached to this policy.
6. School management must maintain and submit quarterly transparent financial reports for acquittal and audit purposes.

5.5. Schools Register and Enrolment Data
1. TFF will be paid to qualifying schools on an annual basis, according to the Implementation Guide. Accurate Real time data is critical.
2. The Head teacher of each school will be responsible for submitting accurate real time data and required information, twice a year, to be eligible for annual TFF payments as prescribed in the Implementation Guide.
3. Head teachers will submit enrolment data to the District Education Implementation Committee (DEIC) twice a year.
(a) Complete a school census form and submit by June 30 each year.
(b) Complete ONLY part one of the school census form and submit by November 30 of each year.
4. The District Education Implementation Committee will provide real time verified data to the Department of Education Corporate Data Branch with copies to the Provincial Education Planning Office.
5. Provincial Education Offices will submit verified data according to procedures as set out in the Implementation Guide.
6. The data submitted by schools to the DEIC must be signed off and stamped only by the authorised school inspectors. The Inspector or Standard Officer will be accountable for any inaccurate data he or she endorses.
7. DEIC will complete a new District School Register Form and submit to the Department of Education – Corporate Data Branch twice a year.

5.6. TFF Implementation Guide
The TFF Implementation Guide that accompanies this Policy is equally important and therefore it must be read, implemented and complied with concurrently.

6. GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
6.1. The Minister
The Minister for Education is responsible to the government for setting the policy guidelines and ensuring the implementation of the TFF policy by the Department of Education and other education authorities under the Education Act 1983.

6.2. Inter Departmental TFF Steering Committee
Provides oversight and advice to the Minister and Secretary on the TFF policy implementation and monitoring of this policy. This Committee includes Secretaries of the Departments or delegates at the Deputy Secretary level:
i) Secretary of Department of Education; (Chairman)
ii) Secretary or Delegate at Deputy Level – Department of Finance;
iii) Secretary or Delegate at Deputy Level – Department of National Planning;
iv) Secretary or Delegate at Deputy Level – Department of Treasury
v) Secretary or Delegate at Deputy Level – Department of PM; and
vi)  Deputy Secretary for Education – Policy & Corporate Services

6.3. The Secretary
The Secretary for the National Department of Education is responsible for the implementation of the TFF Policy. Monitoring and evaluation of the policy is the responsibility of the Deputy Secretary, Policy and Corporate Services.

6.4. TFF Secretariat
A TFF Secretariat within the DoE will be created with additional capacity to provide administrative support to the Secretary for Education and will assist the work of the Inter Departmental TFF Steering Committee. Provincial Coordinators will be appointed to assist the Secretariat to implement the policy. The Inter-Departmental TFF Steering Committee will report to the Minister for Education.  All other stakeholders’ responsibilities are covered in the TFF Implementation Guide.

6.5. District Education Implementation Committee
The DEIC will be established in each district to approve School Learning Improvement Plans, ensure proper use of TFF funds by each school and will verify school and enrolment data collected through every School Census.
The membership will consist of a church representative, CEO of District Development Authority, community representative and the District Education Administrator and District Standard Officer/Inspectors.

7. MONITORING AND REPORTING
The Policy is implemented, monitored and reported on a regular basis.  The mandatory reports are as follows;
Report  Recipient/ Report by/Type of Report/Frequency/ Deadlines

– Parliament/ Minister/Parliament Statement/Annual/March 30.
– NEC/Minister/NEC Information paper/Bi Annual /June  31, Dec 31
– Inter – Departmental TFF SC/ Secretary for Education. Administration and Financial Report/ Every Quarter/ March, June, September, December.
– NEB/ Deputy Sec PCS/ Administration and Financial Report Every Quarter March, June, September, December.
– TMT/ TFF Secretariat/Administration and Financial Report/Every two months/ Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec.
– Heads of Schools School Boards and PEBs/ Administration and Financial Report/ Each term/ March, June, September, December.

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