Remembering the 'Herstein' scandal
Sir Danny Leahy dies in Toowoomba

PNG educn in ’63: dichotomy & dilemma

Loch Blatchford

It’s 1963. Universal Primary Education is no longer the goal. It continues to be a goal but other emphases are superimposed. Higher education, indigenous executive training and economic development continue to shape education.

The Currie Commission into Higher Education, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development visit during the year. Madang Teachers’ College opens, Goroka is expanded and higher levels of technical education are introduced. Les Johnson had the DEO’s produce five-year plans for their districts. Targets are set. Targets are revised. And targets are missed.

Increasingly important is the development of potential indigenous education executives. The Senior Officers’ Course is started in Port Moresby and on graduation officers are posted as Assistant District Education Officers, Area Education Officers, assistant inspectors, teachers’ college lecturers and heads of large primary schools. The aim is to provide opportunities to develop abilities for executive positions in the Department.

Others indigenous officers are awarded scholarships to complete the Intermediate Certificate or Queensland matriculation to increase the number of natives able to undertake tertiary studies. More emphasis is placed on overseas trips. People like Tololo, Reva, Taviai and Forova spend three months in New Zealand, and Abana Gara and Tau Boga undertake the teachers’ tour of Queensland and NSW. Nguna tours the South Pacific countries, Amo attends the Territory Show exhibit in Australia, and Aisoli attends the Royal Shows in Adelaide and Perth.

Les Johnson is keen to promote these people, but they are unable to compete with the more experienced and qualified expatriates. To promote them preferentially would contravene the Public Service Ordinance.

Hasluck still sees primary education as essential to the development of the Territory. Attempts are made to recruit teachers from the UK and the E course is expanded. Courses are now held in Port Moresby, Rabaul and Madang and enrolment is open to mission personnel and married women.

There are attempts by Hasluck and Menzies to play down the rush for self-determination but it’s obvious, after Indonesia takes over West New Guinea and from the emphasis being given to higher education, localisation, and economic development, that Australia has realised time is running out.

But the problem is no longer Hasluck’s. On 18 December 1963 he hands the portfolio to CE (CEB) Barnes and moves to Defence.

This is an overview of the latest addition to The Blatchford Collection – summaries of the files from the PNG education system in 1963. It will soon be on site in ASOPA PEOPLE EXTRA.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)