Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. John Williams

Abstract

Restructuring an education system provides an opportunity to select appropriate programmes for schooling. This thesis develops principles to select an appropriate vocational education for schools in Papua New Guinea. History and past programmes in developed and developing countries have provided a comparison of examples where successful elements and problems have been associated with acceptance of vocational education. Developed countries have highly advanced vocational education systems catering to a range of industries. The United States of America, Britain and Australia have begun an integration of general and vocational subjects to improve cross-disciplinary relationships of subjects to students. Transnational transfer of programmes into developing countries has not been successful because of major cultural differences and quality of teaching. The principles that need to be noted when designing programmes to achieve stated goals are: • Culture and traditions are to be considered during curriculum development and selection of innovations; • The level of infrastructure and the economic capacity of the country; • Teachers and their education levels are crucial to the acceptance of an innovation as are in-service programmes; • Appropriate content for graduates future career paths; • The assessment of formal versus in-formal education structures to ascertain which would best serve the population; and • Graduates ability to respond rapidly to changes in the economy. Parental concern for their children's future provides planners with a powerful force to influence the selection of appropriate content. Students also have goals related to a specific lifestyle ambition. In Papua New Guinea it has been found that a teacher's confidence to teach innovative programmes is low because their level of education is not high. Teaching creatively is rare because examinations determine student progress through the education system. A high priority is placed upon academic subjects, as these are the basis of the Papua New Guinea school certificates. Vocational subjects, in developing countries, are often not seen as valuable because many students return to villages where small-scale subsistence production is the norm. The benefits, therefore, are not as great as those for a graduate who gains modern sector employment. The differences between academic and vocational education are evident in initial set-up, capital and recurrent costs, which affect the implementation process. Adoption of Western education practices has caused traditional methods and indigenous knowledge to be undervalued or regarded as an invalid element of formal education. Papua New Guinea high schools have contributed to a diminished understanding of culture and traditions with an increase in law and order problems as youths migrate to urban areas in search of jobs. Continued reliance on academic subjects is of questionable value given the lack of infrastructure, a stagnant economy, and lack of jobs. Appropriate education focuses on giving students skills that are valuable to them in what they will most probably work at after school. As the majority of Papua New Guineans are self-sufficient a prominent agricultural component should be included and the population educated about the benefits that can be derived from staying on the land.

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