UP TO K500 million will be spent to improve education infrastructure in 2015 as the government moves to enshrine its free schooling policy in legislation.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said amendments were being made to make free education law, while he said the government was also working to make school compulsory for ages pre-primary to grade 12.

The K500 million would be spent on new classrooms and teachers’ accommodation – not to settle outstanding payments, Mr O’Neill stressed.

“The school infrastructure improvement component starts next year and will continue until the need for school infrastructure is satisfied over coming years,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said the K500 million program to provide free tuition for students had worked well for the last two years, ensuring children were in class when they were supposed to be.

The policy had helped parents to divert money ordinarily spent on school fees to other house hold expenditure, he said.

Mr O’Neill said the big funding boost would be allocated evenly to all schools in partnership with the District Service Improvement Program (DSIP) and Province Service Improvement Program (PSIP).

He said the government would make major interventions in the infrastructure during the coming term of Parliament to build on that already achieved.

He said that his vision was to see educated PNG citizens who would communicate, do business and understand uniformity in one language with the western world counter.

The government also announced in October the benefit five schools from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville had gained from the Special Intervention Funding program.

The schools to benefit were Haku High School and Hamatana Primary School in North Bougainville, Asitavi High School and Arawa Secondary School in Centeral Bougainville, and Hurai Primary School in South Bougainville.

“Each of the schools had new four-in-one classrooms [installed], including libraries and teachers houses,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement.