FREE education will be a big help to parents, acting education secretary Dr Joseph Pagelio says, The National reports.
He said despite the challenges the department could face, the policy would enable more students to gain access to education.
Pagelio said more than 30,000 additional teachers would be needed for elementary and primary schools.
He said the department had yet to work out the number of teachers needed for secondary schools.
Pagelio said another challenge was to open more Grade 9 classrooms to cater for the number of Grade 8 students who would be coming through.
Pagelio said with the introduction of free education, the department would be considering shift-hours for teachers and classes.
He said the first classes would be in the mornings, while the rest would attend classes at night.
He said it was cost-effective and possible.
Pagelio told the national development forum yesterday in Port Moresby that the number of schools soared from 3,000 in 1991 to 10,000 last year.
"The number of school students has increased from 500,000 in 1992 to 1.5 million this year," he said.
He said the number of teachers had grown from 18,000 in 1992 to 40,000 this year, a growth rate of 4.5%.
Pagelio said the number of elementary schools and teachers increased respectively from 5,000 to 14,000 between 1992 to this year.
He said the three national education plans had enabled the department to make significant progress in the delivery of education in Papua New Guinea.
These are the national education plan 1995 to 2004, national education plan 2005-14 and universal basic education plan 2010-19.