Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship
Home & away: fragments from an old photo

Scholar Betani Ruhup’s formula for success

Betani Ruhup
Now extraordinarily well qualified, Betani Ruhup shows off his testamur after the graduation ceremony he always wanted for himself at the University of Papua New Guinea

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – This about my journey from cleaner to mine worker to security guard to secondary school teacher and finally to being awarded a second degree at the University of Papua New Guinea.

After attending Divanapmin Primary School, in 1993 I did Grade 7 at Aitape High School. Then after suffering from malaria I transferred to Telefomin High School for Grades 7 and 8 and Grades 9 and 10 at Tabubil High School.

Then I failed the Grade 10 examination.

My brother, Joe Finn Ruhup Senior, advised me to go home and plant taro and kaukau and I did this.

After some time, I went back to Tabubil and enrolled for distance learning.

While upgrading my marks I was given a job at Ok Tedi Mining’s mill chemistry laboratory.

I used to take my assignments to the laboratory and work on them during tea breaks and lunch hour.

In 2005 I resigned from Ok Tedi Mining. This is why it happened.

One Friday afternoon, I was crushing some geology blast hole samples and I felt somebody was staring at me.

At the back door I saw a white man staring at me above his eye glasses. I was scared.

He told me to stop the crushing machine and come forward. I stopped the machine and walked towards him.

He told me to sit down so I sat on a chair. To my surprise, I noticed he was a manager.

He said: “Son, you know what? I am an the underground mining engineer.”

Then he just walked off without any further words or explanation.

I was taken back by these words and resigned immediately.

After that I tried many institutions hoping to get a qualification that would get me a good job.

I attended several institutions like Port Moresby Tech, Lae Tech and private institutions like the Commercial Training College, Mae Professional Institute, International Training Institute and Mapex Training Institute.

During this period I worked as a security guard with Tawap Kaman Security Services at Tabubil and as a cleaner at the Tabubil supermarket.

I eventually ended up the University of Goroka studying for a Diploma in Melanesian Studies, followed by a Bachelor of Education.

After I graduated, I taught for six years in various secondary schools before applying to study at the University of PNG.

While a day student there in 2019 and 2018, I worked as a night cleaner at 9 Mile and Makana Morobe Block.

Then in the 2020 Christmas holidays I again worked as a security guard and in 2021 I was doing something more in keeping with my qualifications when I marked Grade 11 geography papers.

So that’s how I survived at UPNG.

On Tuesday 26 April 2022 I graduated as a Bachelor of Arts.

My advice to students struggling through distance learning and especially students from the Min tribe of Oksapmin, Telefomin and Faiwolmin, is never ever give up.

Stay focussed and remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

My education formula is God + Stuggle + Perseverance = Education. This will give you success.


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Lindsay F Bond

Plus neural connections and goodly nous, coming along grandly, with exciting prospects.

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