PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 6) - Our universities and colleges are an essential part of our nation’s move into the modern world.

Without well-trained graduates, the nation’s development will be retarded.

The words of Misty Baloiloi, the longtime vice-chancellor at the University of Technology, cannot be lightly dismissed.

He describes the tertiary institutions as being like heart attack victims, living purely because of life support systems.

Money, or the lack of it, is what he is talking about. Our tertiary institutions have been left naked, staked out in the sun to die from thirst.

The starving of the institutions through the budget process is having dire effects.

Baloiloi and academic Dr. Allan Patience appear to agree in general, that the tertiary institutions have been forced into a survival situation, with the funding of necessary buildings and equipment slashed year after year.

There, however, the pair diverges.

Patience, who was on the Waigani campus in the 1970s and has returned for a second stint, sees major problems in the administrations.

Unitech’s Baloiloi in a barely veiled reference to Patience says commentators do not know the "pain’’ involved in running institutions in the PNG context.

Meanwhile, the young men and women who are studying for their future at the college and university campuses are wondering what they will emerge with, apart from a piece of paper.

Will it be an education that will be recognized internationally? Will it fit them for vocations within Papua New Guinea in a way where they will be recognized and looked up to. Or will they be considered to have a second-class qualification? Patience calls for an independent review into management, research and teaching and the quality of graduates at the University of Papua New Guinea.

It is plain that there is much to worry about, especially with the attitude of politicians and bureaucrats to the funding of the tertiary institutions. Do we want degree holders or not?

April 7, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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