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Papua New Guinea

Supporting education from 2006-2016

Papua New Guinea has a population of 7 million, the majority of which live outside of urban areas and practice subsistence-based agriculture. It has a large youth population, with 40% of people under the age of 15. A high percentage of the youth are unemployed, and are beginning their adulthood in a nation rife with social problems.

Read Oaktree's research report - The Youth Bulge in Papua New Guinea: Challenges and Opportunities

Access to quality formal schooling is a major problem in PNG, both at primary and secondary level, despite a government initiative to provide full school fees for all children up until grade 9. There is a significant disparity in the number of secondary schools when compared to primary schools in PNG. Moreover, there are an estimated 1.43 million students currently in the PNG education system. The reality is that many of these students are simply not able to access secondary education, making it increasingly difficult to break out of the poverty cycle.

Oaktree has supported local organisations operating in some of the most remote areas of PNG to deliver projects which focus on increasing accessibility, quality, and stability of education.

Baptist Union Papua New Guinea

Baptist Union PNG is a well-respected community development and welfare organisation that brings together the work of Baptist Churches throughout the provinces of Papua New Guinea. They have been operating in PNG for over 35 years, and their development programs provide health and education services for local people all over the country.

(Completed project) Yangis Community School (YCS):

  • Type of partner: funded
  • Implementing partner: BUPNG
  • Location: Enga Province, Papua New Guinea
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Focus: formal education

Yangis Community School is situated in Enga Province, in the Highlands of PNG. It is an extremely remote community, and one that has seen a history of clan violence restricting children’s access to education. As a result, there has been a reluctance from teachers to take up postings in the area, as well as an unwillingness from parents to send their children to school. BUPNG is now working to create a stable environment in which young children can learn and flourish.

The project provides improved access to education through infrastructure improvements, and enhances the retention of teaching staff in Yangis through the construction of staff housing.There is a focus on engagement with parents and community, which contributes to community ownership over the project, as well as creating a school environment that parents are willing to place their children in. YCS hopes to increase the number of young people accessing quality education in remote and disadvantaged communities. In doing so, it intends to create more opportunities for previously disadvantaged Yangis youth to achieve their life goals by gaining an education, paving the way for further education and training.

(Completed project) Kumbareta High School (KHS):

  • Type of partner: funded
  • Implementing partner: BUPNG
  • Location: Baiyer valley, Western Highlands province in Papua New Guinea
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Focus: formal secondary education

Kumbareta High School is the only secondary school in the Kumbareta area, in contrast to the seven primary schools in the area. BUPNG is working to provide quality curriculum materials and teaching resources to ensure Kumbareta High School establishes and delivers high standards of education for the students of the Baiyer valley of Western Highlands Province.

The project delivers scholarships to disadvantaged students and offers vocational education opportunities as part of the formal school curriculum to 120 students per year. Governance training is provided to the School Management Board. Infrastructure developments for the project include classrooms, boarding accommodation for students, teacher’s accommodation and a library. The project also includes gender and disability awareness training for communities.