Leading educational change in primary teacher education: A Papua New Guinea study


Nongkas, Catherine Matmadar. (2007). Leading educational change in primary teacher education: A Papua New Guinea study [Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a95d922c67cd
AuthorsNongkas, Catherine Matmadar
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975. However, as a developing nation, PNG has continued to depend on external assistance for its development programs. Extensive foreign aid has been expended primarily to enhance the quality of education. To explore the issue of foreign aid and its impact on PNG as a postcolonial society, the dependency and postcolonial theories were adopted to guide the discussion. The theorist Beeby argues that in order to improve the quality of education, the level of general education and training of teachers in developing countries must be raised. This has occurred in PNG but it has not significantly enhanced the quality of education. Consequently, the issue explored concerns the type of educational change occurring in PNG primary teachers' colleges (PTCs) and its leadership. Globalization processes were adopted to guide the exploration of the education reform and its impact on the quality of education in primary teacher education in PNG. T he following questions focused the content of the study:1. What is the quality of education being experienced in the Catholic Primary Teachers' Colleges? 2. What are the lecturers', students', and recent graduates' perceptions of the recent Primary and Secondary Teacher Education Project innovations occurring in the teachers' colleges? 3. How is the curriculum in the teachers' colleges perceived by the lecturers, students and recent graduates? 4. How is leadership demonstrated in the three Catholic Primary Teachers' Colleges? The epistemological framework of the research was constructionism adopting an interpretivist approach. The specific interpretivist perspective employed was symbolic interactionism because symbolic interactionism places emphasis on the importance of understanding, interpretation and meaning. A case study approach was adopted as the methodology for this research because of the nature of the research purpose.;This study involved a total of 166 participants consisting of staff and students from the three Catholic primary teachers' colleges, representatives from the Catholic Church, National Department of Education (NDOE), Primary and Secondary Teacher Education Project (PASTEP) and other education officers. The data was gathered through a variety of methods including in-depth interviews, participant observation, focus groups, and documentary analysis. The major conclusions that emerged from this study revealed that educational change in primary teacher education has been implemented. However, the study concluded that the quality of leadership demonstrated to lead the educational change was disappointing. Inadequate leadership at the administration and curriculum levels had a negative influence on the quality of education. Achieving quality education was also hampered by inadequate funding, scarcity of resources and inappropriate infrastructure in all the institutions. The two-year trimester program has improved access and quantity but at the expense of quality. To assist primary teacher education implement the reform agenda, foreign aid was required. PASTEP was introduced and the contribution made by PASTEP was substantial. However, the study concluded that some of the strategies adopted by PASTEP to conduct its programs were questionable because there was evidence of hegemonic and colonial practices found among some of its workforce. In accepting foreign aid projects, PNG needs to establish strategies to ensure equitable partnerships with all stakeholders for sustainable development in education. In this respect, the findings of this study may serve as a guide for future decisions about educational leadership, curriculum innovation, donor funding agencies and policy generation.

KeywordsPapua New Guinea; education; primary teachers; foreign aid
PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a95d922c67cd
Research GroupSchool of Educational Leadership
Final version
Publication dates01 Aug 2007
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