Discourse on primary school physical education curriculum in Papua New Guinea

Doecke, Philip John (2006) Discourse on primary school physical education curriculum in Papua New Guinea. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The Problem

Physical Education in Papua New Guinea (PNG) schools did not appear to be widespread nor progressing effectively. Its place in education appeared uncertain. Therefore the study's key question was, "What is the status of physical education in PNG, and the implications of this status?" The focus was narrowed to the history of the development of physical education curriculum, and considered decisions made by curriculum officers about what ought to be taught.

Purposes The study's purposes, in answering the key question, were to:

§ evaluate the existing physical education curriculum

§ generate recommendations for physical education programs.

The Research

Postmodern ethnography was chosen to undertake the evaluation, through the analysis of historical records and personal narratives. As there was little available literature on physical education curriculum development in PNG, the narratives and opinions of a variety of policymakers, policydevelopers, policyimplementers, and clients of this curriculum development were recorded. The curriculum itself was analysed, as well as related articles and official documentation. The collective data were evaluated, to provide an overall view of physical education curriculum development.


Following the search for literature in libraries, data were collected from Curriculum Development Division records. As many curriculum documents (such as syllabi and advisory memos) as possible were collected. Key personnel were identified and personally interviewed by the researcher. For a wider group (school principals) an interview guideline was used, while for the oneonone interviews, an unstructured interview format was adopted, allowing respondents considerable control, as they recounted their histories, experiences, and opinions. Further data were collected from correspondence from teachers' colleges, and the former director of the National Sports Institute. The data were analysed by viewing through seven key concepts central in postmodern literature: knowledge, power, culture, postcolonialism, hegemony, globalism, and apathy. The analysis was constructed upon the historical background information, issues that arose during the research activities and the collection of the raw data and, additionally, upon the researcher's own evaluative feelings.


During the analysis of the literature, the narratives, the curriculum, and related documents, four recurrent issues emerged:

§ physical education's low status

§ problems in understanding the concept of physical education

§ apathy towards physical education

§ PNG knowledge versus global knowledge

The analysis of the data was therefore undertaken around these issues, as viewed through the key concept's lenses. It was found that there was a lack of usefulness in the existing physical education documents, and that there was a lack of availability of existing physical education documents. Key Education authorities were unfamiliar with physical education curriculum. Its history, both in colonial and postcolonial times, was weak. It continued to receive little attention by curriculum administrators, or schools. The National attitude of apathy towards physical education had been established by the colonial administrators and educators, and reproduced. CDD administration had little time for physical education. Consequently, there was little physical education taught in PNG schools, even though it was in the national curriculum. The only physical activity which had some place in schools was the commercial modified rules sport program, Pikinini Sport. Global activities dominated any thought of local input and activities.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

1,851 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
131 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 16265
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Cuddihy, Thomas & Costin, Graham
Keywords: Papua New Guinea, education, physical education, curriculum, history, society, knowledge, power, culture, postcolonialism, colonialism, hegemony, globalism, apathy, school sports, contextuality
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Philip John Doecke
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:59
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:45

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page