Koroboro International School recently hosted its inaugural Festival of Learning. I was fortunate enough to have been a part of the celebration alongside 350+ local educators and leaders.
While there are obvious differences between our schools and systems, what is evident in PNG and here is the equity gap. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the view that quality schooling is for those that can and those that have is becoming entrenched.
Different students need different things to succeed. As Geoff Masters writes:
In an ‘equitable’ school system, students’ special needs and unequal socioeconomic backgrounds are recognised and resources (for example, teaching expertise) are distributed unequally in an attempt to redress disadvantage due to personal and social circumstances. Here again, ‘equity’ is achieved by prioritising fairness over equality.
Equity and quality (of learning outcomes) are inextricably linked. If one slips, so will the other yet media coverage on our declining NAPLAN results rarely mentions the ‘E’ word. Either way, closing the equity gap means closing the gaps in literacy and numeracy.
An education system is only as strong as its lowest performing schools. Fairness is about ensuring those whose needs are greatest have access to the greatest support. Period.