The International Education Agency of Papua New Guinea (IEA) is a private, non-profit making company which has the responsibility of managing 21 schools, ranging from large urban campuses to small rural schools. The IEA offers an international standard of education to both national and expatriate citizens residing in PNG. It employs approximately 300 teachers to educate the 5,600 students enrolled in its schools.
The IEA is governed by a Board of Directors which overseas all aspects of the IEA and consists of elected representatives of member schools. While schools are accountable to the IEA, many aspects of school management, suc h as selection of teachers and financial management, have been devolved to the local school level.
IEA schools are characterised by a broad range of nationalities amongst both students and teachers. “In some schools we have pupils from up to 35 countries and also many different nationalities of teachers,” said Steve Mead, the IEA Secretary. “It provides a valuable cross-section of individuals, all of whom can learn from each other.”
Since Steve joined the IEA 15 years ago, he has seen many changes to its function and structure. “Perhaps the most interesting shift has been in the ratio of expatriate to national children,” he explained. “Twenty years ago IEA schools were filled almost solely by expatriate children but nowadays over half our enrolment is national children”. In recognising this shift the IEA’s latest initiative has seen the employment of a number of qualified citizen teachers. Many of these will be enrolled in a teacher development programme in co-operation with an Australian University leading to a B.Ed. degree.
The IEA maintains a high level of professional development for its principals and teaching staff to ensure that its educational out comes are comparable with international standards. Students enrolled through to Year 12 have the opportunity to complete an Australian tertiary entrance qualification and, if in Port Moresby, the International Baccalaureate. Leaving students have been accepted at highly-rated institutions throughout the world.