Outcome Based Education

  1. Outcome Based Education
    The government of PNG accepted Outcome Based Education without proper preparation in terms of adequate facilities, relevant teaching and learning materials, and properly trained specialist teachers to teach the content of newly introduced subjects. Sep 27, 2012
    Outcome-based education- By: Spady, William (1994),
    Outcome-based education (OBE) is an educational theory that bases each part of an educational system around goals (outcomes). By the end of the educational experience, each student should have achieved the goal. There is no single specified style of teaching or assessment in OBE; instead, classes, opportunities, and assessments should all help students achieve the specified outcomes.[1] The role of the faculty adapts into instructor, trainer, facilitator, and/or mentor based on the outcomes targeted.
    Benefits of OBE
    The focus on outcomes creates a clear expectation of what needs to be accomplished by the end of the course. Students will understand what is expected of them and teachers will know what they need to teach during the course. Clarity is important over years of schooling and when team teaching is involved. Each team member, or year in school, will have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in each class, or at each level, allowing students to progress.[11] Those designing and planning the curriculum are expected to work backwards once an outcome has been decided upon; they must determine what knowledge and skills will be required to reach the outcome.[12]
    With a clear sense of what needs to be accomplished, instructors will be able to structure their lessons around the student’s needs. OBE does not specify a specific method of instruction, leaving instructors free to teach their students using any method. Instructors will also be able to recognize diversity among students by using various teaching and assessment techniques during their class.[11] OBE is meant to be a student-centered learning model. Teachers are meant to guide and help the students understand the material in any way necessary, study guides, and group work are some of the methods instructors can use to facilitate students learning.[13]
    OBE can be compared across different institutions. On an individual level, institutions can look at what outcomes a student has achieved to decide what level the student would be at within a new institution. On an institutional level, institutions can compare themselves, by checking to see what outcomes they have in common, and find places where they may need improvement, based on the achievement of outcomes at other institutions.[11] The ability to compare easily across institutions allows students to move between institutions with relative ease. The institutions can compare outcomes to determine what credits to award the student. The clearly articulated outcomes should allow institutions to assess the student’s achievements rapidly, leading to increased movement of students. These outcomes also work for school to work transitions. A potential employer can look at records of the potential employee to determine what outcomes they have achieved. They can then determine if the potential employee has the skills necessary for the job.[11]
    Student involvement in the classroom is a key part of OBE. Students are expected to do their own learning, so that they gain a full understanding of the material. Increased student involvement allows students to feel responsible for their own learning, and they should learn more through this individual learning.[13] Other aspects of involvement are parental and community, through developing curriculum, or making changes to it. OBE outcomes are meant to be decided upon within a school system, or at a local level. Parents and community members are asked to give input in order to uphold the standards of education within a community and to ensure that students will be prepared for life after school.[13]
    Drawbacks of OBE
    The definitions of the outcomes decided upon are subject to interpretation by those implementing them. Across different programs or even different instructors outcomes could be interpreted differently, leading to a difference in education, even though the same outcomes were said to be achieved.[11] By outlining specific outcomes, a holistic approach to learning is lost. Learning can find itself reduced to something that is specific, measurable, and observable. As a result, outcomes are not yet widely recognized as a valid way of conceptualizing what learning is about.[11]
    Assessment problems
    When determining if an outcome has been achieved, assessments may become too mechanical, looking only to see if the student has acquired the knowledge. The ability to use and apply the knowledge in different ways may not be the focus of the assessment. The focus on determining if the outcome has been achieved leads to a loss of understanding and learning for students, who may never be shown how to use the knowledge they have gained.[11] Instructors are faced with a challenge: they must learn to manage an environment that can become fundamentally different from what they are accustomed to. In regards to giving assessments, they must be willing to put in the time required to create a valid, reliable assessment that ideally would allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the information, while remaining objective.[13]
    Education outcomes can lead to a constrained nature of teaching and assessment. Assessing liberal outcomes such as creativity, respect for self and others, responsibility, and self-sufficiency, can become problematic. There is not a measurable, observable, or specific way to determine if a student has achieved these outcomes. Due to the nature of specific outcomes, OBE may actually work against its ideals of serving and creating individuals that have achieved many outcomes.[11]
    Parental involvement, as discussed in the benefits section can also be a drawback, if parents and community members are not willing to express their opinions on the quality of the education system, the system may not see a need for improvement, and not change to meet student’s needs. Parents may also become too involved, requesting too many changes, so that important improvements get lost with other changes that are being suggested.[13] Instructors will also find that their work is increased; they must work to first understand the outcome, then build a curriculum around each outcome they are required to meet. Instructors have found that implementing multiple outcomes is difficult to do equally, especially in primary school. Instructors will also find their work load increased if they chose to use an assessment method that evaluates students holistically.[2]
    Adoption and removal
    Australia -Donnelly, Kevin (2007).
    In the early 1990s, all states and territories in Australia developed intended curriculum documents largely based on OBE for their primary and secondary schools. Criticism arose shortly after implementation.[2] Critics argued that no evidence existed that OBE could be implemented successfully on a large scale, in either the United States or Australia. An evaluation of Australian schools found that implementing OBE was difficult. Teachers felt overwhelmed by the amount of expected achievement outcomes. Educators believed that the curriculum outcomes did not attend to the needs of the students or teachers. Critics felt that too many expected outcomes left students with shallow understanding of the material. Many of Australia’s current education policies have moved away from OBE and towards a focus on fully understanding the essential content, rather than learning more content with less understanding.

27 September 2012
Effects of outcome-based education in Papua New Guinea
I WOULD LIKE TO RAISE some important aspects of the Outcome-Based Curriculum, or Outcome Based Education (OBE), in Papua New Guinea.
Let me begin, by saying, large numbers of children in developing countries receive little or no formal education.
I would like to share with you some important lessons to consider, especially during this time when we have new changes and new influences that had crept into our education practices.
As someone who spent most of his time working and studying in PNG, I think it is the right time to raise an issue of great concern – the OBE system in PNG. I am sure Solomon Islanders would learn a lot from this OBE lesson in the PNG education system.
PNG has undergone some substantive changes since 1994 to cater for the new OBE education reform.
It has been generally agreed that OBE would accommodate the real needs and aspirations of Papua New Guineans.
Many Papua New Guineans would expect that OBE would bring changes in the curriculum status, identifying the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that all students would achieve at a particular grade in a particular subject.
However, what the government of PNG and its people were expecting did not eventuate. The OBE reform has now come to a deadlock. Results gathered nationwide shows that there is a big problem with the implementation process.
Therefore, the government of PNG has decided to scrap OBE and retain the old system, Objective Base Education.
Generally speaking, the reform, although a good idea, in practice lacked many resources to foster its implementation.
From my own observation and research experience, I would like to mention that much of the policy would need more planning and feasibility groundwork before it can become a reality in school settings.
In addition, the government literally failed to fully capacitate the education system in the light of this reform. Lack of qualified teaching personnel and specialist manpower meant that the students learning experiences in classroom was seriously affected.
It created a lot of problems for the teachers who had direct contact with students in the classroom.
The government of PNG accepted Outcome Based Education without proper preparation in terms of adequate facilities, relevant teaching and learning materials, and properly trained specialist teachers to teach the content of newly introduced subjects.
In Papua New Guinea, the formal education system appears to fail more students than help them.
As such, the number of students enrolled for further studies is still low comparable to other Pacific nations. Even the literacy rate for PNG is, according to recent statistics, one of the lowest in the Asia Pacific region.
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As we view today’s world with its geopolitical turmoil; and wonder at the generational divide, it is often perplexing to trace the roots to societal dysfunction.
I think the difficulties of today’s student experiences may, reasonably, be sheeted home to the efforts expended by educational change agents intent on shaping a new world order.
An excerpt from an article (Outcome-Based Education: The highjacking of America’s children) by Frank Morriss in 1999 may serve to illustrate:

Toward A Socialist Transformation Of The West
Antonio Gramsci, Italian revolutionist of the early 20th Century, was a prophet of methodology for change, the methodology of ideological and cultural infiltration using all means, and especially education, as the carrier.
Gramsci considered “two revolutions,” the one waged by Communism in Europe and comprised of uprisings, seizure of power, subversion aimed at destroying existing structures, and transferred to the United States particularly after the collapse of prosperity.
This revolution was unwinnable, in Gramsci’s thesis, because it had not first won over the mind of the existing order and structure. Only by so doing, he argued, could that order and structure be replaced by the Marxist socialist apparatus.
Posted by: Robin Lillicrapp | 11 May 2019 at 09:29 AM
We all know that unless you practice a language and start thinking in it, your fluency suffers.
Maybe the interaction between those who do speak English needs to be fostered in forums a ‘tad’ higher in level than the average Facebook or Twitter salutation?
Posted by: Paul Oates | 10 May 2019 at 09:01 AM
Outcome Based Education (OBE) is confusing to many students in the country. Comparing the older people who were using Standards Based Education (SBE) with the current university students, the old bombs way of speaking English and way of thinking is better.
The latest university students are trying hard to speak fluent English and finding it more complicated to understand simple written English.
Therefore just burn this OBE system and go back to our old system of education, SBE.
Posted by: Antsson Anderson | 09 May 2019 at 04:46 PM
I think there is always a negative and a positive in all system whether the old system, OBE and can be Standard Base Education.
The only thing we need is the government for the day should go down to the level of every schools in towns and as well as the remoted schools and see for themselves how the curriculum implemented.
See the needs of the students and teachers there and fully funded teaching materials and resource books, build more classrooms to carter for the students, library and teachers houses as well.
These things contribute to the learning of the students and also fully implementing of the system introduced.
Posted by: Glennys Sani | 01 August 2015 at 03:42 PM
The new education policy, as recommended by the education task force and recently approved by NEC will be similar to what Andrew Wangi has suggested for structure – but with an improvement to the OBE approach to avoid what Dameng Tamagao for instance is fearing.
Fearing of taking risks is a good thing so long as it is taken, and especially when we know our determination will produce the best result.
Let us take the fear of implementing the new education policy as our motivation factor to do it right this time for our children. Team work is required, and together we can be there.
Posted by: Steve W Labuan | 02 September 2013 at 09:30 AM
Has anybody read the book, “Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”?
Outcome-Based Education is a weapon of suppression manufactured and tested in the United States and then shipped to the world through UNESCO.
Posted by: Dameng Tomagao | 02 September 2013 at 08:29 AM
The elementary education can remain but I suggest that English language be taught to the students rather than tok pisin or their vernacular and qualified graduates from teacher education universities and teachers colleges to teach at elementary education with good salary and conditions.
Posted by: Andrew Wangi | 06 August 2013 at 12:30 AM
The OBE can only work if all schools are equipped with resources like improved library systems, new and relevant textbooks, computers and internet to mentioned a few for all students. Furthermore, teacher professional development is also very important in implementing OBE. It is very overwhelming for a teacher to teach OBE lessons to 50-55 students in classroom with no or little resource available. Please government and the Department of Education, control your enrolment. Your policy says 1 teacher to 30 or 35. Have you changed your policy? Please ” walk the talk”.
Posted by: Andrew Wangi | 06 August 2013 at 12:20 AM
Yes,OBE is best for PNG. But is the teacher who plans the lesson and brings it to the student?
OBE is best because it also helps children to live a life not just passing exams or tests.
Posted by: Mocksy Haizen | 13 March 2013 at 01:29 PM
What is really wrong with OBE? What is OBE anyway? What is the difference between OBE and the former system?
Those of us not in the education system or unfamiliar with the system do not know what is wrong. However, we are concerned and would like the OBE debate to be understood by the rural iliterate majority.
What is really wrong, is it the implementation or what? What is happening with our recipients, or the students who are forced into this system without zero or less option (maybe for just a few)?
I do not see a problem with students learning moret ahn 3 languages at the same time; English, Tok Pisin and Tok Ples (local dialect). That is rich knowledge and a bonus. Are we lacking the expertise? How does the OBE contribute to the yearly in-take for High Schools or even tertiary?
I suggest our students have been distracted by post modernism. Has there been research made to disregard the OBE? Is it all just assumptions? This assmptions ought to be tested before any ‘new’ education can be tried out again because it is a process.
Posted by: Nellie Hamura | 23 December 2012 at 02:22 PM
Why is OBE judged as ineffective? Maybe the implementation in PNG was flawed, but the principles are sound. Kids demonstrate they have learnt something by producing a measurable outcome.
I mentioned once before that you wouldn’t want to travel in a plane if the pilot hadn’t been trained by an OBE method. The pilot proved he had learnt to fly by actually doing it against clear measurements.
So what’s so wrong with OBE? And while we are at it, what’s wrong with Evidence Based Medicine – which is used by medical institutions world-wide? The principles are similar.
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 02 October 2012 at 10:34 AM
Whose brainchild was it to bring in this OBE system that has sent the country backwards by 10 years? Also the elementary system needs to be done away with.
I could not see the point in sending my kids to grade one and two to be taught in pidgin or language in a town public school.
They were already speaking pidgin and English in the house so it is a step backwards.
I had no choice but to pay a higher cost to send my kids to private grammar school. Sadly many kids find it hard to adjust to high school level high school English when they pass out of grade 6, hence the higher failure rates.
Posted by: Frank Daosak | 01 October 2012 at 02:34 PM
OBE (outcome based education) in PNG is surely not effective.
I really support this article and totally agree with it. I myself was part of this education system of PNG. During my high school times this OBE system was introduced to us.
Poor teachers were struggling to implement this system but it was not really effective because of lack of resources and skills.
I think the old education system is still the best because, from what I can see, it produces the best results. This new education reform is lacking and we can see that in primary schools there is a minority going to high and secondary schools.
The majority of students fail and need to upgrade their marks in order to enter high & secondary schools even university. I think we should do away with OBE and implement back our old system of education because is still the best.
Posted by: Hubert Warpit | 01 October 2012 at 08:59 AM
It is good to hear this Solomon Islander, who trained as a teacher in PNG, pointing out the way Outcomes Based Education (Curriculum) has failed in PNG.
For a long time on this blog we have heard from many people who have warned against the dangers of OBE.
In Australia, when I talk to other experienced teachers, OBE is a sort of “joke”. They say things like, “Oh dear, did they fall for that rubbish!”
Now they want to call it Objective Based Education, another OBE. I guess it doesn’t matter what they call it but I think it sounds confusing.
I just hope that there are still some good teachers left in PNG who will lead PNG out of the mess into which they have got themselves.
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 27 September 2012 at 06:59 AM
Available: https://asopa.typepad.com
Accessed: 06/05/2019

With OBE, the focus of outcomes is to integrate student performance with those needed in the workplace (PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013). McMaster University sees this as a strength as it provides “. . . continuity between undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education” (Outcomes- Based Education 2010, para 2).
Assessment of outcomes is done using authentic assessment tools. Battersby stated: “Key to the outcomes approach [in BC] is an approach to assessment that emphasizes ‘authentic assessment’ …[i.e.,] creating assignments that stimulate as much as possible the [real-life outside-of-class] situations in which students would make use of the knowledge, skills and values emphasized in the course” (as cited in PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013, page 47).
Critics state that constructing learning outcomes can be difficult and time consuming (Ellington, H., Earl, S et al., 1996).
While teaching to increase the likelihood of most students achieving the outcomes would appear to be an advantage, it can create challenges for teachers particularly in the K-12 school system where built in redundancy is the method used to manage student variation in knowledge (Lawson & Askell-Williams, 2007).
I recently learned that a local university is moving towards having all of their programs based on the OBE framework. Given that I was about to embark on revamping an online perinatal course for graduated RNs taking their a rural nurse specialty certification I was very keen to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using OBE.
In my investigations I learned that several countries, notably Western Australia, the USA and South Africa trialled OBE in their primary and secondary systems but there was a lot of push back from the public about how it failed to deliver basic skills in math and sciences as in the case of South Africa’s experience (Rice, 2010) and challenges with assessments in Australia. Donnelly (2007) noted criticism of OBE in the USA included a loss of vital educational material as a result of focusing so much on the process of education and the huge amount of time required of teachers for assessments.
As I worked my way through the readings detailing the disadvantages about OBE I couldn’t help but feel that these challenges could be outweighed by the advantages of aligning learning outcomes to workplace roles and responsibilities.
The focus of OBE is to ensure continuity for students are they move through the educational system and into the work place. This alignment of education and training is rooted in adult education practices of experiential learning and self-reflection (PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013). This means that I need to create learning outcomes that would engage the adult learner in such a way as to enable them to integrate the concepts, attitude and skills required for the workplace. The learning outcomes would need to clearly state these.
Assessment practices need to be such that they can produce graduates that “. . . can perform both academically and interpersonally on the job and in the community” PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013 p 49). Assessments need to be relevant and the marking scheme needs to be clear and accurate.
After reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of OBE I feel that OBE will be a perfect match for the program I am redesigning. I do, however, need to be very mindful of watching out for the challenges this framework can produce.
Learning Outcomes
• Need to be clear, relevant and integrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the RN will require to work on a perinatal unit
• Need to be measurable – and while I appreciate that OBE places the focus on the student’s standard and not a universal standard, when it comes to obstetrical care there are established guidelines that must be met. Outcomes will reflect this.
Teach to increase the likelihood of most students achieving the outcomes
• This course is for graduate nurses. Outcomes will build on existing knowledge and skills.
• There will be mid term marks for ongoing assignments (discussion forum and case studies) with feedback provided so that students will have an opportunity to build and improve on their skills.
Assess how well outcomes have been achieved using authentic assessment
• Assessments for the online course need to be authentic, in other words, related to the workplace, (PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013). They also need to provide an accurate representation of the students’ mastery of the subject (PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide August, 2013).
The online course I am redesigning is for post RNs seeking to specialize in maternity care and/or in a rural site where they will be required to be the primary nurse caring for a woman in labour. Nurses work as part of a health care team. Communication with team members is a vital part of the job. Having students engage in an online discussion forum will help develop those skills as they relate to a maternity patient. I will therefore incorporate discussion forum topics with each learning module so that students can learn collaboratively with each other. I will apply an analytical rubric to the formal assessment so that a mark can be determined.
Another skill required by RNs is critical thinking. I will also apply an analytical rubric to the responses received for the case studies. Patient teaching skills will be assessed using an analytical rubric when students present on two topics of choice (with the target audience being the woman and her family). I will encourage students to journal but it will be not for marks.
Outcomes-based education not teacher-friendly
December 8, 2010 webmaster Focus, Normal
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The National – Thursday, December 9, 2010
In Part 4 of his series on the controversial outcomes-based education system, career educationist AARON HAYES expands on the reasons why he opposes its introduction in PNG. Hayes holds a masters degree in educational psychology from the University of Queensland and served in the standards wing of the PNG Department of Education from 1997-2002. He was also involved with the curriculum division as a HSC chemistry examiner and a member of the subject advisory committee for personal development.

QUESTION: Is outcomes-based education (OBE) a teacher-friendly system?
The home truth: No.
OBE is a millstone around the teacher’s neck.
Instead of preparing one lesson and teaching it to the whole class, teachers working in OBE systems are required to prepare different self-learning activities for different pupils with different ability levels within each class.
This is fine if you have a class of 20 students, a classroom full of computers, books, videos and a teacher’s aide or parent volunteers to help, but, here in PNG, the teacher cannot be expected to prepare more than one lesson for each class.
OBE casts a huge preparation burden on PNG teachers.
OBE also severely disadvantages those students in classrooms with untrained or lazy teachers, because the required preparation will simply not get done.
Unlike the old system, which provided teachers guide books with fairly prescriptive lesson plans that even very inexperienced or very incompetent teachers could follow, OBE expects teachers to design all their own learning activities from scratch.
This is a terribly uneconomical use of human resources.
If classroom teachers are just given a list of learning outcomes and asked to prepare self-learning activities for their students, thousands of teachers around the country are going to be awake every night designing similar programmes for similar students.
This is “re-inventing the wheel” thousands of times over.
PNG teachers are already overloaded and they do not need more work.
Did you know that teaching is the only profession in PNG where you do must do extra work at home every night without getting paid for the extra time?
Even under the old system, most PNG teachers would spend between two and four hours every night preparing lessons, setting tests, correcting student writing and doing marking without any overtime pay for this additional work.
To boot, most PNG teachers do this after-hour preparation and assessment work long-hand because they have no typewriters or laptop computers to work with.
People believe that teachers get extra holidays to compensate them for their preparation and marking time during the school term, but it is not enough to make up for the damage to health and relationships caused by lack of sleep, lack of relaxation, lack of family time and lack of social life that teachers suffer.
Unlike teachers in Australia, who drive home every afternoon and have time to themselves with their families, most PNG teachers live on or near their school grounds and are heavily involved with after hours supervision of boarding students and various community activities that the local people expect their school teachers to be involved in.
All these after-hour responsibilities are unpaid.
OBE now requires teachers to spend even MORE of their own private time on unpaid preparation and assessment.
The PNG Teachers Association should oppose this strongly.
Many teachers have already given up trying to keep up with the unrealistic preparation demands of OBE and have gone back to “chalk and talk” behind school inspectors’ backs.
The last straw that will break the teacher’s back is descriptive reporting.
Instead of percentages and A, B, C, D or E grades, OBE requires term reports for parents to comprise lengthy sentences that describe the child’s progress towards each curriculum outcome.
This is fine if every teacher has a laptop and can copy and paste, or use the mouse to click and select comments from a data bank, and then spit out the report from a printer.
But, here in PNG, most teachers are still writing reports by hand with carbon paper and it now takes teachers days and days to write descriptive reports.
High school teachers taking several subject classes are expected to write reports for up to 200 students every term and, without computer technology, it is now a huge chore to write descriptive reports.
Most PNG parents cannot understand the “gobbledegook” OBE terminology in the new assessment reports anyway.
They just want a simple letter grade to tell them how well their child is doing.
Q: Was introducing OBE our only option for improving our education system?
The home truth: No.
A better course of action to improve education in PNG would have been to beef up our previous objectives-based, teacher-centred curriculum model and strengthen our competitive assessment system.
The previous curriculum model was quite suited to PNG schools because it required a minimum of resources and was practical for teachers with large class sizes.
The old curriculum was also appropriately focused on streaming of students according to their abilities.
Academically-inclined students were streamed into extension activities and eventually into
Grades 11 and 12 and tertiary studies through competitive advancement based on examinations.
Technically-capable students were streamed into vocational and technical schools.
Students with lower learning ability and motivation were geared up for return to village life.
Here in PNG, we will never be able to send all children through to Grade 12. It is just a pipe dream.
There are not enough jobs and tertiary places for everyone who finishes Grade 12 anyway.
We need to focus on providing basic education for as many children as possible and advancing those with particular academic and technical potential through to higher levels.
The best way of doing this is through comparative assessment using objective school tests or aptitude tests.
OBE does not permit comparison of one student’s performance with the others because mastery learning principles state that student progress is supposed to be measured against the learning goals and not measured against other students.
Ranking on the class ladder is not allowed.
But, here in PNG, we need the ladder because, unlike Australia, we cannot offer every individual a Grade 12 education and we need to be able to identify the better-performing individuals for selection purposes.
Our whole society and economy is based on competition for resources and selection for limited opportunities – for further studies, for jobs, for positions of responsibility – so comparing one person’s achievement with the others is part of life here.
Our new education system is trying to undermine this.
Is it all part of a neo-colonial agenda to “Australianise” PNG through social engineering?
Or it is just a huge national scandal caused by PNG officials failing to evaluate this incoming aid project properly to make sure that it was what the country really needed?
Private consultants, engaged by aid donors to design or “scope” new aid projects, are often the same companies that are later engaged to carry out the project, so, it is not surprising that they tend to design huge projects that will run for a long time and generate big profits from the aid funding.
They know they will make more money from introducing a complex new system than simply upgrading an existing system.
This is called “over-servicing”, a term that is often used to describe doctors who perform unnecessary tests or procedures on their patients in order to charge more.
In the case of development aid, it is up to the aid recipient, in this case the PNG Education Department, to be selective in its acceptance of proposed aid projects in order to prevent over-servicing.
We need to make sure we only get what we need and not what money-hungry private aid contractors want to force upon us.
If you think that introducing OBE sounds like a case of contractor over-servicing – you might be right!