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By Patrick Levo

TABUBIL, Papua New Guinea (December 8, 1999 – The National)---Papua New Guinea's youth of today are so "ill disciplined" that they lack respect for their fellow countrymen and women, an academic has said.

Addressing the Tabubil High School Grade 10 graduation here yesterday, Dr. Laevai Nuerndorf said PNG's youth problems were caused by the inability of young people to say no to bad things, their lack of self-discipline, the lack of respect for others and their difficulty making the right choices.

Dr. Nuerndorf, the outgoing principal of Sogeri National High School, said unless young people learn to discipline themselves and show respect for others, the country's future does not look too good.

He nevertheless lauded the National Government's proposed move to re-introduce the school cadet corps, saying that his would help instill pride and discipline.

Hopefully, citizens with high regard for law, order and authority would emerge and make a difference in society for the good of the country.

Dr. Nuerndorf called on the National Government to also seriously consider compulsory national service for young people aged between 16 and 20 years old, to tap their youth and potential.

"Young people today are faced with enormous challenges, and one of the biggest challenges that confront youths is the ability to say no ... to bad friends, drugs, alcohol and sex."

"The desire to give in to others or to be involved in undesirable attitudes and behavior steams from the lack of self discipline.

"Self discipline does not come from the head, it comes from the heart -- a heart that is truthful and pleasing to God.

Referring to the student strikes in October at Universities throughout the country over an increase in fees, Dr. Nuerndorf said that was a display of no respect for law, authority and good citizenship.

"Young people today are selfish, self-gratifying and believe that they are a law unto themselves.

"This has led to, in many cases, breakdown in law and order in schools, disruptive and abusive behavior and an attitude of break it, smash it, burn it -- the government will pay for it," Dr. Nuerndorf said.

He told the graduates that respect had to be earned. And to earn it, one must show respect to one's fellow countrymen and women.

The Tabubil High School graduation saw 73 students receive their Year 10 certificates and was attended by invited guests, students, parents and relatives.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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