27 Feb 2009

PNG's Somare says children next year will get free schooling

8:05 am on 27 February 2009

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, says children will get free schooling next year once policy is put in place.

Sir Michael told AAP that Cabinet had decided to cover schooling costs from grade one to grade eight.

He says they have decided they should get the policy in place by the beginning of next year.

He says they want education from grade one up to grade eight, where parents will not meet the cost.

Government ministers and officials meeting this week as the National Executive Council made a last-minute submission for the plan on Tuesday night.

About 85 per cent of PNG's six million people live in rural communities with most parents struggling to make yearly school fee payments, meaning many children miss out on schooling.