On the trail of Andrew Goldie, collector
PNGAA looks at a Federal structure

TPNG education: the 1959 enlightenment

“As a newcomer to the field of native education, I learnt to share Mr Grove’s views. I felt that a place should be kept in native education for the use of the vernacular, and that the people’s old ways of life should not be completely broken down. To some extent I shared Mr Grove’s vision of the Papua and New Guinea of the future, consisting of happy communities of peasants reasonably enlightened and living in modest comfort; but without the complications and frustrations and material paraphernalia of modern civilization. Experience has shown that this pleasant dream is unlikely to come true….

“I was appointed Director of Education on September 1st 1958, and two weeks later the Minister [Paul Hasluck] discussed educational policy with me. I outlined a plan, already discussed with the Administrator [Donald Cleland], for Universal Primary Education and Universal Literacy in English. This was accepted in principle by the Minister. Later, it was worked out in detail and received his approval in January 1959…

“Our main trouble at the present time is that very few make teachers in Australia are applying for appointment to the Territory service. We can actually recruit young women to the limit of the quota allowed in the Estimates, but what we need most of all are single young men who are qualified teachers and have the spirit of pioneers. A proposal is at present under consideration for the extension of our recruiting campaign to overseas countries….

“Local Government Council areas are prepared to devote a considerable proportion of their revenue from local taxes to the construction of permanent school buildings. In fact they are doing his to such an extent that the Department is embarrassed because we cannot provide them with trained native teachers. The Department plans an emergency programme of teacher-training in 1960 to provide the maximum possible number of “A” certificated teachers to staff such schools.”

Source: ‘The problems of education in Papua-New Guinea’, GT Roscoe, 15 October 1959. Address to the PNG Regional Group of the Royal Institute of Public Administration, Port Moresby. From The Blatchford Collection.

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