Flexible Open Distance Education
PMB P.O. Waigani
Papua New Guinea
I come from a rural isolated village called Kupin in the Enga Province of PNG. It has no road links and other basic services are rarely close. The people have to walk for three to four hours to reach the source of these common basic services.Only a few Community Schools are scattered within reach where school age children go to. The school leavers from these schools have no othe means of furthering their education so they join the village normal way of life. The basic needs of my community are a proper road link and the basic services of Health and Education, electricity and communication services.
I am living with my family of six in Port Moresby, the Capital of Papua New Guinea, working with Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE). City life is not easy but very challenging with the cost of living escalating everytime. What prompts me to continue living in Moresby is for my children to gain a proper education.
The basic needs of the city is employment and the need for people to be well-educated as there are limited jobs. It is not like my isolated village where school leavers join the local people toiling the land when they leave the community schools. The city community both schoolage and adults need to have some form of skills training that would lead them to a paid job for their daily needs. So some of basic skills training is a need and on demand by the city dwellers.
My Passions in Life
I work as the Deputy Principal(Services)of Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE), the only Government institution that provides a secondary level education through the distance mode.
I finished my Secondary Education in 1988 in a school called Pausa Secondary School in the Enga Province run by the American Lutheran Mission. Then I went on to the University of Goroka where Secondary School Teachers are trained where I graduated from there with a Diploma in Secondary Teaching in 1981. From 1982 and on, I started teaching in several schools in the higlands of Papua New Guinea until 1991 where I was offered a scholarship to do BEd Inservice Course at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). I did not get around to completing my Course. Due to family commitments, I left UPNG after a year of study
My job is to With the Head Office based in Moresby,we have our offices in the 20 provincial cap
[[Image:]]FLEXIBLE, OPEN and DISTANCE EDUCATION
Private Mail BagTelephone:323 02 99
Waigani Post Office Fax:323 07 92
The College of Distance Education (CODE) now known as Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) is a single national institution that provides comparative Secondary Education (Grades 7 – 12) through the distance mode. The institution has its Head Office in Port Moresby and a well established branch in each of the twenty (20) provinces.
The Emergence of FODE
FODE was initially established in 1952 as a Correspondence School to provide locally based Grade 5 and 6 Courses for indigenous Public Servants and for higher level Courses from the Queensland Correspondence School for isolated expatriate workers and their children (Guy,1993:299)
The School had an enrolment of around 800 students in 1959. With enrolments increasing yearly and with differing Courses, the institution changed its name to “School of External Studies” in 1967. By 1972, enrolments exceeded 22,000 offering the comparative Secondary School Course (Gr 7 – 10). During this time, vocational courses like motor mechanic, building, carpentry and book keeping were also offered.
With enrolment figures exceeding beyond expectations, a further name change occurred in 1978 when the institution became the College of External Studies (COES). This also forced the College to do away with Grades 7 and 8 and the vocational courses and concentrated on Grade 9 – 10 with a Business Certificate Course to ease the pressure on limited staff.
Due to so much interest, COES re-introduced the Grade 7 – 8 Course in 1980 and by 1982, started opening up Provincial Centre Offices in each of the 20 provinces. A further name change was made in 1988 to College of Distance Education (CODE) which continued to offer the Courses till 2005 when it took on board the Adult Matriculation Course from the UPNG Open College.
And again in 2005, CODE has been renamed one more time and this time to Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE). The subject enrolment figure stands now at well over 40,000.
The only means of disseminating/imparting knowledge is through print media. In the near future, we will hopefully be looking into other means of getting the task done. At present, the demand is so high that we cannot afford to fulfill everyone’s desire to learn.
The FODE institution administers its services from two central points (locations), the Head Office and its 20 Provincial Centres.
1.The Head Office Functions
a) administration of all activities
b) writing of distance courses (translates CDD produced syllabi)
c) production of learning materials and dispatching to the Provincial Centres
d) appointment of over 40 Professional Teachers at the Centres and Course Writers at Head Office
e) employment and payment of over 150 ancillary staff
f) maintenance of the centres and their workers
g) accountable to the Education Department
h) keeping and maintaining the institution’s database
i) assessment and certification
j) oversee all Provincial Operations
2.Provincial Centre Functions
a) enrolment of students
b) dissemination of study materials
c) issuing and marking of assignments
d) recommending and overseeing distant Teachers
e) oversee the operations of RSCs and CSCs
f) liaise with Prov.Gov’ts and other Prov. Agents
There are few key people that head different sections;
a) oversees all operations
b) accountable to the Edu Dept
c) finance and budgeting
d) supplies and production
2.Deputy Principal Curriculum
a) oversees course content
b) oversees curriculum staff and course writing
c) Professional development of staff
d) assessment and certification
e) oversees Registry
3.Deputy Principal Services
a) oversees all Provincial Centre Operations
b) dissemination of study materials to Centres
c) maintenance of Provincial Centres
a) oversees the record keeping of all enrolments
b) processing of examination and assessment procedures
c) production and issuing of results and certificates