Ron May has provided an immense legacy of knowledge and scholarship in 5o years of research and writing about Papua New Guinea
ANTHONY REGAN, NICOLE HALEY
& THIAGO OPPERMANN
CANBERRA - Emeritus Fellow Ron May is being honoured by a conference and Festschrift (collection of writings) to celebrate his 50-year contribution to research, writing and thinking, especially about Papua New Guinea.
The celebration is hosted by the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.
Continue reading "ANU honours eminent PNG scholar, Ron May" »
NOOSA - According to a recent study by the PNG National Research Institute (NRI), public servants trained in ethics and values-based leadership are sceptical that these courses can improve workplace behaviour.
Each year since 2015, with the aim of improving ethics on the job, selected groups of PNG public servants have been attending ethics and leadership courses at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance.
Continue reading "How the ethics program fell back to earth" »
NOOSA – There are many issues holding back the success and prosperity of the resource rich Papua New Guinea and its adept people.
Chief among them are the entrenched corruption and decision-making acumen that somehow seem to have failed the transition of social and political power from clan to country.
Continue reading "Democracy suffers when media languish" »
LAE - How do we return Papua Niugini to a culture of Melanesian cooperation and how can the common people make those in power behave responsibly?
According to the evolutionary perspective, the birthplace of democracy was the tribe. Indeed, tribalism is sometimes referred to as ‘primitive democracy’.
Continue reading "Put politics last: Let’s stop reversing evolution" »
In this second extract from ‘Learning to Be a Writer in Papua New Guinea’, Evelyn Ellerman writes of the emergence of student writers at the University of Papua New Guinea from 1967, which led to the development of a home-grown Papua New Guinean literature. Her paper was part of the University of Calgary’s ‘History of Intellectual Culture’ series. Link here to the complete paper - KJ
CALGARY - In the late 1960s, three principal publishing vehicles were associated with the University of Papua New Guinea's Literature Department.
Kovave, an in-house literary journal; Papua Pocket Poets, an in-house poetry series; and a number of externally published collections whose content was gleaned from the journal and the series.
Continue reading "Writing in PNG: Kovave & beyond" »
Ulli Beier - "Drawing upon nearly 15 years of pioneering work in Nigeria, he had some notion of what he wanted to accomplish in PNG"
In this extract from ‘Learning to Be a Writer in Papua New Guinea’, Evelyn Ellerman writes of the establishment of the Literature Department at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1967, which led directly to the development of the first shoots of a home-grown Papua New Guinean literature. Her important paper was written as part of the University of Calgary’s ‘History of Intellectual Culture’ series. Link here to Ellerman’s complete paper - KJ
CALGARY - Since so few Melanesians could read and write, the first admission to UPNG was relatively small: in 1966 only 55 students registered.
Many of these students were required to take a bridging year in order to improve their grasp of English. A handful registered for the literature classes and began to write.
Continue reading "How PNG's first literary blossoming arrived" »
| Bee’s Odyssey
AUCKLAND - By now nearly everyone with access to social media in Papua New Guinea is aware of the changes to air travel from overseas.
I get why overseas travel into PNG has to be tightened – the Delta variant of Covid-19 is spreading like wildfire and needs to be stopped.
Continue reading "Travel rules leave students in limbo" »
Peter Bridger - "Lived a positive and full life, and contributed a great deal to his spiritual home of Papua New Guinea"
YUNGABURRA, QLD - My mate Peter Bridger (3 March 1951 – 26 June 2021) has sadly passed on to that classroom in the sky.
He had retired to Deal in Kent in the United Kingdom in November after 42 years in Papua New Guinea.
In 1978 Peter John Bridger responded to an advertisement in an English newspaper calling for people to teach in Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "Peter Bridger, PNG educator for 42 years, dies at 70" »
Mr Ukuma in the classroom at East Ambogo - "I continue to teach because my desire is to serve my community, my province and my country"
| Mim’s Diary
POPONDETTA - Teachers are the backbone of a nation. They are the foundation of every other profession - tough people who raise their hands to educate a nation.
In Papua New Guinea, we have heard news over the years about teachers going on strike for not being paid or not being paid well. But not all teachers raise their concerns openly.
Continue reading "Ignored & unpaid: The commitment of a teacher" »
Dr David Robie - "I have never experienced something as blatant, destructive and lacking in transparency as this"
| Café Pacific | Edited extract
Link here to read the complete illustrated chronicle of the Pacific Media Centre by its founding director Dr Robie
AUCKLAND - It really is bizarre. After 26 months of wrangling, stakeholder representations and appeals by Pacific Media Centre (PMC) to Auckland University of Technology, in the end the innovative unit remains in limbo.
In fact, sadly, it seems like a dead end.
Continue reading "Savage assassination of Pacific media jewel" »
Clement Papa - priest, rector and now PhD from the Divinity University in Australia: the youngest brother in a remarkable family
| Asia-Pacific Anticorruption & Human Rights Advocate Group
MOUNT HAGEN - Fr Dr Clement Papa is the youngest son of Pius Pii - popularly known as Kopi Kund Pii - a pioneer PNG Catholic missionary.
In 1947, Pius Pii, among the first students of pioneer American missionary Fr William Ross, upon completion of his training at Rebiamul, Mount Hagen, was sent to Anglimp-South Wahgi to establish the Kuli Parish.
Continue reading "Fr Dr Clement Papa - chip off the old block" »
| Academia Nomad
WAIGANI - Drunkard students sexually assaulted a female student at the University of Papua New Guinea and on Monday 7 June the female students protested against sexual harassment, which is an ongoing issue.
They hosted a forum at the UPNG Forum Square to address the issue. The media present to cover the story were attacked and chased by the male students who didn’t want them to cover the meeting, ironically stating that it would portray a bad image of the institution.
Continue reading "Do good men still live at UPNG?" »
UPNG female students protest against sexual harassment on campus (Charlie Dumavi - PNG Bulletin)
PORT MORESBY – A mob of angry male students has disrupted a protest and threatened women objecting to sexual harassment at the University of Papua New Guinea.
The male mob also physically harassed and abused media workers covering the event.
For many years, female students have experienced persistent sexual harassment on UPNG’s Waigani campus.
Continue reading "Male students turn nasty at UPNG protest" »
Moses Tekwie - honoured his father and family by graduating from Otago University yesterday
OTAGO BULLETIN BOARD
| University of Otago | Edited
DUNEDIN - Moses Muhwannah Tekwie yesterday graduated from the University of Otago with a Master of International Business with Distinction.
But he had gone through unimaginable heartbreak when both his father and cousin-brother died only a short time before he departed from Papua New Guinea for New Zealand.
Continue reading "Moses Tekwie honours his father’s legacy" »
Barbara Angoro - the real pressure is on now
| Duresi’s Odyssey
AUCKLAND - Time sure has flown. I’ve completed two years and two months of my PhD. I still have a fair way to go but that this journey is halfway through amazes me. Seems like yesterday I was attending doctoral induction day.
The real pressure is on now – no thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns (the first very long one began in March last year and there have been short ones since, including twice early this year).
Continue reading "My PhD journey, Covid notwithstanding" »
Michelle (far right) at the first graduation on 22 April
| Mim’s Diary
POPONDETTA - After moving to Popondetta late last year, my partner Pau and I were a little concerned that youths and even adults living in the community were mostly unemployed.
Doing nothing - no school, no work - seemed to be normal to them. We noticed that one of the things they lacked was basic computer knowledge.
Continue reading "We all have a part to play" »
John Kuri and daughters. "It still amazes me when each year politicians and bureaucrats announce that more than half of school leavers will have to fend for themselves"
PORT MORESBY - The newspaper headline late last year said that only 9,000 out of 27,000 Grade 12 leavers would get a place in a tertiary institution.
We’ve all seen headlines like this previously in Papua New Guinea. They happen each year.
Along with a story about the imminent disaster waiting to happen if the government doesn’t do more.
Continue reading "School leavers: Containing the blast" »
Betty outside the university library
| Sipikriva Girl | Edited
BRAUN, MOROBE – I recently got to talk to Papua New Guinean writer and educator Betty Gabriel Wakia about her experiences living in China.
Betty, 33, from Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province, was born at Ramu in Madang Province and grew up living between her village and Port Moresby.
Continue reading "Betty lived in China & loved it" »
A section of the new Western Pacific University in the Southern Highlands
| PNG Bulletin
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape will be in Ialibu, Southern Highlands Province on Monday 1 March to open the new Western Pacific University.
Mr Marape is expected to be accompanied by government ministers and opposition members.
Continue reading "Marape to open Western Pacific University" »
Teachers and pupils at a PNG rural school (globalgiving.org)
PORT MORESBY – I’ve been investigating the operation of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) process in Papua New Guinea and whether it is doing the best it can for schools.
And also whether it might be better structured to do more to support education and, in doing that, to support the development of literature and literacy in PNG.
Continue reading "Cleaning up school funding could boost literature " »
Professor Pal Ahluwalia says his deportation is a case of "let's to get rid of this man because he exposed too much corruption"
| The Pacific Newsroom
AUCKLAND - When the University of the South Pacific’s vice chancellor Pal Ahluwalia was hauled out of his Suva, Fiji, home last week and deported, it had nothing to do with his views on education or tertiary management.
With his wife and nursing lecturer Sandy Price they were driven across curfew-locked down Fiji to be put on a plane to Australia.
Continue reading "Ahluwalia got too close to Fiji’s dark secret" »
Professor Pal Ahluwalia after his deportation from Fiji (Samoa Observer)
| Asia Pacific Report | Pacnews
AUCKLAND - Deported head of the University of the South Pacific, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, says his expulsion from Fiji is “a classic case of beating the whistleblower up,” and has vowed to continue in the role from Nauru. Samoa has also offered him a home.
In an interview with the Australian ABC’s Pacific Beat, Professor Ahluwalia has detailed his sudden arrest and deportation.
Continue reading "‘They beat up the whistleblower’: Ahluwalia" »
Prof Pal Ahluwalia and his wife Sandra Price (waving) are escorted to their aircraft by Fiji officials at Nadi International Airport (Pacific Newsroom)
| Asia Pacific Report
SUVA - Staff, students and alumni of the University of the South Pacific have called on the Fiji government to immediately reinstate the work permit of vice-chancellor and president Professor Pal Ahluwalia, who was deported yesterday with his wife, Sandra Price.
The USP community also called on the government to issue a formal apology to Professor Ahluwalia for the violation of human rights.
Continue reading "‘Gestapo tactics’ against deported Fiji uni boss" »
HERCULES PALME JIM
| My Land, My Country
PORT MORESBY - So much has been said on the quality of education in the country.
According to a recent news article only 9,000 Grade 12 students out of 27,000 were selected to attend tertiary institutions in the country (The National, 23 December 2020).
Continue reading "The time bomb of poor quality education" »
“The FODE (Flexible Open Distance Education) students will study the same contents and they will sit for the same exams. So no one should be left behind. All students should be educated equally” - Education Minister Jimmy Uguro, Fee free option for dropouts, The National, 12 January 2021
“Dropout(s), noun: a person who has abandoned a course of study or who has rejected conventional society to pursue an alternative lifestyle, e.g. "a college dropout" (Oxford Languages)
LAE – Some people like to use the synonym ‘hippy’ or ‘free spirit’ instead of ‘dropout’ or, more disapprovingly, ‘rebel’ or ‘misfit’. And, with even less appreciation, ’loafer’, ‘deadbeat’, ‘bum’ or ‘bad boy’ (na ‘bad girl’ tu o?).
Continue reading "Minister, I must say there are no dropouts" »
| Academia Nomad | Edited
PORT MORESBY - PNG’s tertiary institutions are becoming an exclusive club of the few, as the rest are pushed out of the system.
However, with dropping quality, the qualifications will not mean much if there’s no investment.
It’s the same as placing a quota on imported goods. Product prices go up not because of their quality but because of the limited supply.
Continue reading "PNG’s exclusive low quality club looms" »
Students protest against the establishment of a Confucius Institute at University of Adelaide
| Edited extract
Link here to read Dr Schram’s complete essay, ‘China and the West: institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and student movements in the Pacific’
VERONA - In Papua New Guinea for a total of six years I was vice-chancellor of the PNG University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae, the second largest and second oldest university in the country.
As prescribed in the university acts, I was ex-officio member of the councils of both my own university and the country’s oldest and largest university, the University of PNG.
Continue reading "The Chinese incursion into universities" »
TUMBY BAY - It is not possible to know everything. This is a truth that often dawns on people only in their older years.
The best we can hope for, and this is rare enough, is to be a polymath; a person of broad general knowledge.
Continue reading "It’s just not possible to know everything" »
Pole Kale writes the story of his life and career but also a manual on how a commitment to education is best realised as a family pursuit
Quest for Education: From Selling Firewood to Yale University, by Pole John Kale, Published by Francis Nii under the imprint of Simbu Writers Association, August 2020. Copies can be ordered from Pole Kale, email email@example.com. Also available here from Amazon Books
KUNDIAWA - It is not often that you will find an academic success story of a Papua New Guinean intellectual in print form.
Although written CVs or career profiles may give an insight into a person’s academic background, the early childhood experiences that contribute to achieving such success are mostly obscured.
Continue reading "How a Gumine family graduated from Yale" »
Wallace Parimahi - talented young writer whose winning entry in the Paradise College writing contest, 'Project Infiltration', will be published in PNG Attitude tomorrow
MARLENE DEE GRAY POTOURA
| PNG Paradise College | Innovative School of the 21st Century
PORT MORESBY - I first heard of Paradise College when the principal, Mr Safak Deliismail, contacted me in 2016 to be a guest speaker at their ANIS Writing Competition awards.
I couldn’t make it at that time but three years on I am teaching at Paradise College in the subject I love to teach, Language and Literature.
Continue reading "Welcome to Paradise" »
PORT MORESBY - I’m not against Facebook fans or anything to do with Facebook but I’m writing this article because of concern for my fellow students because I’ve come to realise Facebook can be a big distraction.
As a result, many students are not performing to their potential in the classroom.
Continue reading "Facebook is a distraction for students" »
The haus pik - not the perfect location for a primary school but rather more edifying than the Chimbu Club
NOOSA – Amongst the joys in life of most school teachers is to run into or receive a missive from a former student who has done well in life and remembers their schooldays with some fondness rather than as a dreadful chore.
Although I taught school for only three years, this kind of pleasant coming together has happened to me a few times.
Continue reading "Those far off days at Kundiawa A" »
Expatriate primary school teacher , 1960s (PNGAA)
MELBOURNE – Keith Jackson’s recent account of the displeased response to his reforms, including increased staff accountability, at the International Training Institute reignited my own reflections on such matters during my time in the Papua New Guinea teaching service in the 1960s.
As a good public service should, the PNG education department had a range of monitoring and accountability mechanisms with which we chalkies had to comply.
Continue reading "Out of necessity, a matter of trust" »
Prof Pal Ahluwalia addresses staff and students at University of South Pacific
| Edited extract
VERONA - The executive committee of the University of the South Pacific council has decided to suspend the vice-chancellor for alleged 'misconduct and breach of rules and procedures'.
This action came after reports emerged about gross mismanagement and breaches of the rules of the university under the former administration and despite all evidence pointing in the opposite direction.
Continue reading "University governance & academic freedom" »
ALPHONSE M HUVI
TINPUTZ - Education is a powerful tool in enhancing the future of our children and the role of the teacher is a challenging one.
Some say that being a teacher is tiring. Of course, teachers do a lot of talking and paperwork like preparing lessons but for many the job is like a wedding vow: Till death us do part.
Continue reading "The day of a school teacher" »
Auditorium and mess at Mougulu High School (Sally Lloyd)
PETER DWYER & MONICA MINNEGAL
With a rare and wonderful book. Download here: 'Taim Bipo - People of the Nomad District. When the White Men Came'
MELBOURNE - In late January 2020, Bedamuni (Biami) people hosted an inaugural Strickland, Sisa, Bosavi cultural festival.
There were guests and performers from all neighbouring language groups.
Continue reading "When the white men came" »
Giselle Wakatama and Archie - abused by some ugly Australians. Unfortunately we have too many of them amongst us
MORISSET - I was shocked to see a recent story on ABC Television about the racism experienced by one of their presenters in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.
This was particularly disturbing as it is our neck of the woods. Hey that can’t be happening here!
To their credit, the local council took some action. You can find the story here, ‘Why I will never forget the day I was racially abused in front of my young son’.
Continue reading "Addressing racism’s toxicity" »
Dr Albert Schram when vice chancellor of the PNG University of Technology
VERONA, ITALY - Despite having lived in four different developing countries outside Europe for more than 12 years, when I became president (vice-chancellor) of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology I realised I faced many challenges in trying to understand how and why people there were behaving in specific manners.
It turned out to be almost impossible to eradicate traditional concepts of leadership which revolve around status, rather than working together towards concrete objectives and a vision.
Continue reading "On managing cross culturally" »
In 2014, after an exhaustive official inquiry, Dr Schram was allowed to return to PNG and his university. But corrupt politicians and administrators engineered phony charges against Schram in 2018, forcing him to leave PNG
| Extracts | Read the full address to the University of Verona here
VERONA - In all five developing countries where I have lived, no citizen believes the main purpose of the government of the day is serving the country's citizens.
In many developing countries, university lecturers will not speak up or be active democratic citizens, however, since they know this would mean they lose their jobs. It is therefore the students who will speak up.
Continue reading "How PNG universities lost their ethics" »
Caroline Evari - "I decided that, as part of my journey promoting PNG literature, I would try to find the underlying cause of the claimed ‘not reading culture’."
PORT MORESBY - The statement, ‘PNG does not have a reading culture’, kept popping up among authors and publishers gathered at the National Library during the National Book Fair in October.
“What’s the point of writing and publishing books, if people are not reading them,” asked Professor Steven Winduo during the week, which had the hopeful theme, ‘PNG Books, PNG Knowledge, PNG Stories - Read PNG’.
Continue reading "Let's give PNG a reading culture" »
PORT MORESBY – I believe that many people just don’t realise that reading is a path to success.
The world is replete with stories of how people have reached the zenith of their achievement and success only through reading.
Many self-made people who have become influential and affluent were voracious readers.
Continue reading "Reading: A pathway to success" »
Charles Wapinien, UPNG's first Master of Economic and Public Policy graduate.
| Pacific Leadership + Governance Precinct
PORT MORESBY - After a few minutes with Charles Wapinien it becomes clear that economic research and policy formulation are fundamental to addressing complex national challenges and shaping Papua New Guinea’s future.
“Any issues, any challenges that a country, organisation or society faces are framed into policies,” Charles said enthusiastically.
Continue reading "Economist Charles Wapinien: Ready to contribute" »
Dr Albert Schram - "When O’Neill came to power in 2012, an increased investment in higher education from LNG revenue was announced in the world press but never materialised"
| Extract from 'Life is a Journey of Learning'
VERONA, ITALY – In 2014, the government of Peter O’Neill passed the Higher Education Act, took control of Papua New Guinea’s universities and began to interfere heavily in university affairs.
In 2016, I had undergone the first ever performance review for a vice chancellor in PNG.
My mandate was renewed, but little did I know I would be the last independently appointed vice chancellor in the proud history of the country’s university system. The government was now in charge.
Continue reading "How Peter O’Neill screwed PNG’s universities" »
Albert Schram - "The human spirit craves for liberty and justice. Both have a strange way of being unstoppable in their paths"
The last of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter
“Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mold it and those committed to breaking it up...." (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)
VERONA - Despite the disastrous economic situation in Papua New Guinea while I was UNITECH vice chancellor from 2012 to 2018, and the far from propitious operating environment, we were able to produce many positive changes at the university.
Continue reading "There cannot be peace without justice" »
Albert Schram's doctorate was four times legitimised - by the awarding entity in Europe, twice by independent inquiries in PNG and once by a PNG court - but its veracity was constantly questioned by political enemies who wanted him out
The second of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter
“There are some people, be they black or white, who don’t want others to rise above them. They want to be the source of all knowledge and share it piecemeal to others less endowed” (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)
VERONA - People have asked me if standing up against corruption and speaking truth to power was difficult. For me it never was. We all know what is right and what is wrong.
Continue reading "PNG’s odd racialised post-colonial morality" »
Albert Schram and graduates - 50% of highlands' university students are unable to pay their fees on time
ALBERT SCHRAM | Edited
The first of three articles based on Chapter 4 of Dr Schram’s memoir, ‘Experiences of a Vice Chancellor in Papua New Guinea’. Link here to read the full chapter
"We think of politics in terms of power and who has the power. Politics is the end to which that power is put" (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan writer and academic)
VERONA - I want to thank my more than 7,000 followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for their encouraging comments on this series, and Keith Jackson for publishing the short versions.
Continue reading "Delusional O’Neill's calamitous legacy " »
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Universities have slowly evolved into commercial enterprises. Their function now is money-making"
TUMBY BAY - The re-entry of Captain Bougainville (Leonard Fong Roka) on the scene and his report of what he is doing and why is a lot more significant that one might realise.
He and his family seem to be tackling one of the greatest banes of today, greed and the mindless pursuit of money, with education.
One of the advantages of a good education is that it develops the capacity to think. Or at least that used to be the case.
Continue reading "Education's good, but it has to be right" »
Inside the John Roka school, but "the able population tilts each day not to education but towards where it smells the money in the burrows"
LEONARD FONG ROKA
PANGUNA – No, I’m not lost from my PNG Attitude family; just accumulating more energy living in the midst of the corporate-mining-politics ridden Panguna mountains trying to educate my young people in a little early childhood institution.
It’s known locally as the John Roka Memorial School and was established by my siblings in honour of our West New Britain father, John Roka, killed by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in that terrible civil war.
Continue reading "We stripped & skinned; but money’s not security" »
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?
Continue reading "A decent education is a human right" »
Audience members enjoy the debates and quizzes at a competition that started because of the unfriendly Simbu topography
KUNDIAWA - What started as a debating and quiz competition at Wandi Primary School due to lack of sporting facilities has developed into a successful annual event in the Kundiawa-Gembogl District of Simbu Province.
When teacher Fred Tovili, originally from West New Britain, was appointed as the school's sports coordinator, he could not organise sporting activities for the students because of the lack of suitable land.
Continue reading "Simbu school debating contest is more than hot air" »