Background of Enhancing Quality in Teaching through TV Program (EQUITV)
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a diverse landscape with high mountain ranges that run through the country’s mainland as well as many islands, rivers, forests, lakes and swamps that make up some of the most rugged terrains in the world. Most primary and secondary schools in PNG are small and located in rural and isolated areas. Due to this geographical location of schools, education services do not reach all of these areas where school infrastructure and resource materials are limited and the number of teachers and the quality of education are insufficient. As a result, the net enrolment rate in primary education, the main education indicator, was 52.9% in 2007. This rate is much lower than the neighbouring countries in the South Pacific region. Thus improvement of the access to and quality of basic education has been a great challenge to PNG.
In order to improve the access to and quality of education, PNG’s Department of Education (DoE) began the education reforms in 1994 and introduced the Outcome-Based Curriculum focusing on the student-centred approach under the curriculum reform in 2003. For the implementation of the reforms, primary school teachers required sufficient knowledge on Grade 7 and 8 subject content, new teaching strategies and resource materials in line with the revised curricula, all of which are priority issues for the DoE. However, due to the lack of funds and capacity of concerned institutions, the implementation of training and resource material development and distribution has been insufficient. Thus the DoE has been utilizing distance education to compensate for qualitative and quantitative shortcomings in basic education. In 1999, in order to produce high quality of Media Program, Department of Education endorsed National Education Media Centre (NEMC) structure as up grading TV & Radio Section under Curriculum Development & Division. To support distance education, the Government of Japan established the National Education Media Centre building and provided Radio production equipment in 2001. The DoE and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) implemented partnership projects named Distance Education utilizing Live Recording Broadcasting from 2002 to 2004 and Enhancing Quality in Teaching through TV Programs (EQUITV Phase 1) from 2005 to 2008. In addition, the Government of Japan provided TV equipment to primary schools in four provinces through the Grant Assistance for the Grassroots Human Security Program (Grassroots Project).