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Bougainville’s lost generation is a ‘time bomb’ – John Momis

School in BougainvilleKEITH JACKSON

BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis has said he has concerns at the impact of under-resourcing and other large problems affecting the province’s education system.

In an interview with Radio New Zealand International’s Don Wiseman, Dr Momis admitted that Bougainville has “a big percentage of our youth who can effectively be called a lost generation.

“They are very, very frustrated, traumatised, and unless something is done soon it's a total injustice to them and we are sitting on a time bomb.”

Dr Momis agreed with Wiseman’s observation that many of those children and their parents would not have gone to school because of the civil war, resulting in two successive generations without any opportunity of schooling.

He also agreed that part of the problem was that the PNG government was not providing Bougainville with promised funds.

“But even with the allocated funding, it just wouldn't be enough to address the backlog of young people -- kids -- who have had no education,” Dr Momis said.

“Probably the most responsible way to deal with this problem would be to, if we had the funds, have more vocational schools to improve our current system of primary and then secondary education.

“But apart from vocational schools we might have to embark on a program of popular education, not just vocational, but even just having a mass education system of raising awareness, trying to encourage values, giving people a sense of hope, and then engaging them in simple socio-economic activities to get them involved so that they don't become frustrated and become totally anti-social.”

Dr Momis said the Bougainville government could not itself go to overseas donors to solicit funds.

“Unfortunately donors are also beholden to the national government, which I think is wrong. Donors are not involved in any subversive activity and are probably our only other viable alternative way of obtaining some funds.”


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Martyn Namorong

You see them operating the boats across the Buka Passage. No one has taken their plight seriously.

Not all of them are a psychological mess but they are all silently calling for help.

I met many of them in 2011 and wrote about their plight. This is a generation that aspires to be like the revolutionary heroes as demonstrated by their red bandanas, black metal shirts and skinny jeans.

What they need are modern champions who can help them aspire for a different kind of future compared to the revolutionary past. Yes the revolution was great but time flows and people need to build a brighter future for Bougainville.

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