Deep musings from the deep north
Looks like guest workers down the drain

PNG moments from Blatchford 1963

Documents on the development of the PNG education system in 1963 are now available onsite in The Blatchford Collection [see ASOPA PEOPLE EXTRA at left]. Here are some of the more interesting extracts…

“The seeds of widespread compulsory education were sown last week with Education Director Mr LW Johnson’s announcement Hanuabada had been declared a compulsory education area for all children born in 1957…” [South Pacific Post, 8 January 1963]

“The Public Service Commissioner today announced the examination results of the Public Service Scholarship holders studying for the Queensland Junior Certificate and NSW Intermediate Certificate. Most of those passing were from the Department of Education. The names included Kwamala Kalo, Seri Pitoi, Michael Somare, Tau Boga, Alkan Tololo, Ronald Tovue, Paulias Tonguna, Kila Onno, Nasson Waninara, Daniel Tenakanai, Thomas Ritako, Rome Kokiva, Noah Banam, Ronnie Benson and Samson Topatilui.” [Administration Press Statement No 11, 21 January 1963]

“Graduates of the first and second ‘E’ Courses are displaying a remarkable degree of enthusiasm. All intend remaining in the Territory after the period of their bond expires. The quality of their work varies, but in every case they are attempting to do something positive. All are planning to improve their academic status by in-service training assignments, by Matriculation studies or by courses leading to a University degree. They can form a core of enthusiasts whose good example can spread to hundreds of other teachers.” [Don Owner, Chief of Division, teacher Training, February 1963]

“The report that ‘political independence by 1972 is planned for Papua and New Guinea’ is sheer speculation by a singularly ill-informed person… We will stay in Papua and New Guinea as long as the people of the Territory need our help. No-one other than the residents of the Territory, can tell us when to go… We have refused to give target dates for political advancement because we respect the right of the people to choose.” [Paul Hasluck, 9 February 1963]

“KR McKinnon [Superintendent of Schools, Primary Education] has been awarded a Harkness Fellowship to attend Harvard University at Boston. His studies will include language development of children in primitive communities.” [South Pacific Post, 2 April 1963]

“We are commencing a period of widest expansion in all fields of Education. Students are now reaching matriculation level in Territory schools and we are giving close attention to professional training.” [DM Cleland, TPNG Administrator, Fourth Camilla Wedgwood Memorial Lecture, 14 May 1963]

“After fifteen years of muddling and frustration the education system of Papua and New Guinea seems at last to be in gear and making progress towards a definite goal… Mr Hasluck has been Minister for Territories for 12 years. Why did he wait until 1960 or 1961 before making this frontal attack upon village illiteracy? Mr Hasluck, of course, could not guess that Sir Hugh Foot in 1962 would demand self-government within five years, or that Soekarno would be turning handsprings on the western frontier in 1963.” [Pacific Island Monthly, July 1963]

“It is not desirable to have every school in charge of an expatriate teacher. Indigenous teachers should be given experience as Head Teachers. The main thing I am concerned with here is to ensure that promising Papuan and New Guinean teachers have a chance to develop a sense of responsibility and receive training in executive positions.” [LW Johnson, Director of Education, 8 November 1963]

 “My failure as Minister was that performance did not match intention and I did not get the Administration of the Territory to do all that I wanted to do…. When the Administration and the Department of Territories argued I made up his own mind and had to appear as a dictator to one or the other…. Many men were appointed to senior positions with little local knowledge…. Many Australian Government decisions were not getting through to the officers of the Territory – a gap between decision and action – most of the trouble was in the Territory. Policy was dispersed at the expense of firm direction and control. Files weren’t read…. Some sections of the Administration felt a separateness from Australia and regarded directions from Australia as being comments made by some outsider rather than as decisions to be put into effect…. The Administration shifted the blame for its shortcomings on to Canberra.” [Paul Hasluck, ‘A Time for Building’ on his leaving the post of Minister for Territories, 18 December 1963]


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