PNG delegate makes plea to UN on climate
We stripped & skinned; but money’s not security

A decent education is a human right

Classroom at Pakura Primary School
In the classroom at Pakura Primary School

SHILA YUKULI PAIA

ADELAIDE - Every now and then I frantically try to write something that will provoke educated discussion. And what better a subject than Education itself.

Nelson Mandela - a great man of wisdom, charisma and grace - taught us that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” What did he mean?

Spending time in Australia has taught me many things. For a start, every child is forced by law to start early childhood learning and complete Year 12.

Then the student can choose whether to study at university or pursue some other course - and there are many opportunities and options to do that.

Schools are well resourced and teachers have university degrees. Australians in general are well educated and take centre stage at a global level in many disciplines.

Australian scientists, chefs, entrepreneurs, inventors, economists, journalists and others contribute to the changing face of our world.

I am not trying to compare the Australian system with our Papua New Guinea system. And Australia is not perfect.

PNG has the potential to invest in education as a critical tool to enable our country to become economically viable and healthy. Regrettably, we take education for granted in the way we set up our systems, distribute our resources, teach our children and reward our teachers.

Education is a basic human right for all individuals regardless of where they are in the world.

I would argue that the education system in PNG has deprived our right and our children's right to gain the education we deserve.

If you stand back and take a thorough look at the way our children learn, you discover that the education system has pushed out many young people with ability and potential to be leaders. They roam the streets.

Our school system has many drop-outs - children who fail exams and return to the community. In PNG, what paid employment can anyone get with a minimal education? I doubt there is any.

The multinational, multimillion dollar developments such as oil and gas projects have opened up roads and access to nearby towns and cities and our children develop the tendency to explore city life, which is perceived to be better than village life.

Obviously with no proper education, dreams for a better life are thwarted. Many of these young people go on to steal, vandalise, take drugs and alcohol and even end up in jail.

Then these young people are blamed as bad and evil. We have created bad people in our society in the way we manage our education system.

All humans are the same regardless of gender, age or behaviour because we all have a soul. So where does the blame really lie?

Way forward

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