PNG Secondary Education Through Distance

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The PNG Secondary Education through Distance is pioneered or administered by an institution known as Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE) previously known as the College of Distance Education (CODE). This is the only Government institution that provides Upper Primary and Secondary Education through distance. It has its Head Office in Port Moresby, the Capital of PNG located adjacent to the Australian High Commission Head Office, with its wings spread right throughout the nation having an office in each of the 20 Provincial Capitals.

The Emergence of Distance Education

Distance Education is not something new to PNG. Its history goes back as far as 1952 during the colonial administration when it started off as a Correspondence School. Its aim was to upgrade the educational level of the indigenous public servants who have just completed up to grade 5 or 6 level and secondly, for higher level Courses for the isolated expatriate workers and their children using the Queensland based Correspondence School Curriculum (Guy, 1993).

In 1959, the school had an enrolment of around 800 students. As the enrolment increased year after year, it started offering additional courses. In 1967, the school was known as the School of External Studies. By 1972, enrolments exceeded 22,000 and by then started offering the comparative Secondary Education Course (Grades 7 - 10). During this time, skills or vocational Courses like motor mechanic, building, carpentry and book-keeping were also offered. In 1978 with enrolments rising beyond expectation, the institution effected another name change and this time it was renamed as the College of External Studies (COES). The rise in enrolment also forced the institution to do away with the Grades 7 & 8 and the vocational courses to ease the pressure on limited staff and concerntrated on the Grades 9 & 10 Secondary Courses with a Business Certificate Course.

Due to so much demand and pressure, COES re-introduced the Grades 7 & 8 Course in 1980 and by 1982, the College started opening up Offices in the 20 different Provincial Capitals. A further institutional name change was made in 1988 and this time, it changed its name to the College of Distance Education and continued to offer the Courses till 2005 when it took over the Adult Matriculation Course from the University of PNG's Open College. A major Review of the College was also carried out by the Education Department in that year which recommended for yet another name change along with its institutional structure as well as the Course Contents which is being effected this present day. The institution is now known as Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE).