Education Feed

University governance & academic freedom

Prof Pal Ahluwalia addresses staff and students at University of South Pacific
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.

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When the white men came

Auditorium and mess at Mougulu High School (Sally Lloyd)
Auditorium and mess at Mougulu High School (Sally Lloyd)


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" »

Addressing racism’s toxicity

Giselle Wakatama and Archie
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" »

On managing cross culturally

Albert Schram VC
Dr Albert Schram when vice chancellor of the PNG University of Technology

| Extract

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.

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How PNG universities lost their ethics

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" »

Let's give PNG a reading culture

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" »

Economist Charles Wapinien: Ready to contribute

Charles Wapinien
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.

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How Peter O’Neill screwed PNG’s universities

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" »

There cannot be peace without justice

Albert Schram in POM
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" »

PNG’s odd racialised post-colonial morality

Albert Schram's OK
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" »

Delusional O’Neill's calamitous legacy

Albert Schram and graduates
Albert Schram and graduates - 50% of highlands' university students are unable to pay their fees on time


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 " »

Education's good, but it has to be right

Phil Fitzpatrick at mic
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" »

We stripped & skinned; but money’s not security

Roka - Teacher in the Panguna classroom
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"


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" »

A decent education is a human right

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


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" »

Simbu school debating contest is more than hot air

Audience 1
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" »

Beijing uni will offer Tok Pisin & 6 other Pacific language courses


MELBOURNE - China is pushing for more university students
to study Pacific Island languages in a bid to bolster the
appeal of its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative across
the region.

Seven Pacific Island languages will soon be available for study in
bachelors-level programs at the Beijing Foreign Studies University
(BFSU) including Tok Pisin, one of Papua New Guinea's official languages, as well as Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian.

The move comes as China continues to try and grow its diplomatic influence in the region, amid renewed efforts from Australia to "step up" its own engagement in the Pacific.

China's foreign ministry accuses Australia of acting like "a condescending master" in its relations with Pacific Island countries.

Continue reading "Beijing uni will offer Tok Pisin & 6 other Pacific language courses" »

Corruption, maladministration; & students who can be cleansers

Joe Kaowai and Albert Schram
Ex SRC president Joe Kaowai and vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram - they tried to make UNITECH fly


Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram's memoir

VERONA - If we cannot root out the old mindset associated with corruption, whisper campaigns, tribal fights, political witch hunts and chief killings in Papua New Guinea’s universities, they will fail to produce active citizens and democratic leaders who respect the rule of law.

It had been a combination of a corrupt government and greedy and selfish staff that led to my hasty separation from the University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae.

Corruption in PNG is systemic and enters into almost every transaction. Students understand that they are the only group in civil society able to force the government to clean up its act and prevent it from completely destroying state institutions by appointing political cronies and ignoring constitutional rights and the rule of law.

Continue reading "Corruption, maladministration; & students who can be cleansers" »

Dr Schram moves on - & pays tribute to one of his finest students

Mairen Manub
Mairen Manub

ALBERT SCHRAM | Life Is a Journey of Learning | Extract

Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram's memoir

“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 mould it and those committed to breaking it up; those who aim to open our eyes, to make us see the light and look to tomorrow [...] and those who wish to lull us into closing our eyes” - Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

In Memoriam - Mairen Manub, UNITECH student, 2012-2015

These words are dedicated to Mairen Manub who passed away on 8 August 2019 after a short battle with cancer in Port Moresby General hospital, which did not carry the principal medicines he needed. From 2012, he was one of the legendary 'little helpers', fighting tirelessly from for access to better education, and accountable and transparent university governance. There are so many stories about him, which we keep telling. We will never forget his wonderful personality, energy and intelligence but most of all his ability to bridge old and new, non-western and western worlds, based on shared humanity. We must find a way together to keep his memory alive.

VERONA - My start as a Papua New Guinea vice-chancellor in 2012 was far from auspicious. Due to political conflict in 2013 and my ban on re-entering the country, I spent a year in exile in Australia.

A few UNITECH Council member perceived their personal interests would be affected by my leadership and started a politically motivated persecution, apparently not concerned with the long-term reputation of the university and the country, and with total disregard for logic or their own dignity.

Continue reading "Dr Schram moves on - & pays tribute to one of his finest students" »

PNG schools now have greater access but lack quality, says NRI

Kilala Devette-Chee
Dr Kilala Devette-Chee


PORT MORESBY - Dr Kilala Devette-Chee of the National Research Institute's has told prime minister James Marape that despite the huge number of elementary and primary schools in Papua New Guinea, there is a scarcity of secondary and vocational schools.

Dr Devette-Chee said that while more students have an access to a basic education through 10,800 schools, there are only 330 available secondary and vocational schools.

She said the tuition fee free policy has greatly improved access to education but the quality is lacking and the government needs to immediately address this.

NBC News reports that Dr Kilala Devette-Chee revealed this after the latest of the NRI’s regular provincial and district education profiles.

More thought needed: Education fund can go beyond student loans

Patrick Kaiku


PORT MORESBY - The recent announcement by prime minister James Marape of the PNG government’s consideration of an endowment fund is a significant development initiative.

Presumably this fund operating through the Sovereign Wealth Fund will function like a loan scheme, a pool of resources available for Papua New Guineans to access to meet costs of their education.

This is not a new proposal. Former prime minister, Peter O’Neill in a 2015 speech at the 60th graduation at the University of Papua New Guinea made a similar commitment when he proposed the establishment of a K200 million fund for disbursing loans to tertiary students.

But simply using an endowment fund for tuition misses the point. It is a piecemeal approach that will fail to fix systemic problems confronting the state of tertiary level education in PNG.

Continue reading "More thought needed: Education fund can go beyond student loans" »

No heroes these wasted years: memoirs of a vice chancellor

Signing the charter to support student involvement at UNITECH. Dr Schram wanted to "create a real student-centred university"

ALBERT SCHRAM | Life Is a Journey of Learning | Extracts

Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram’s Papua New Guinea memoirs

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls” - Robert F Kennedy

VERONA - Papua New Guinean universities had been founded in colonial times as Australian universities, and were presented as a gift to the newly independent state in 1975.

Given the history of almost annual violent student protests and staff strikes, however, one can ask whether this gift was not a Trojan horse.

The concept of a university operating under the law, producing employable and competent graduates, offering opportunities for personal development and promoting active citizenship, remains utterly foreign.

Continue reading "No heroes these wasted years: memoirs of a vice chancellor" »

A Childhood Dream: Experiences of a vice chancellor in PNG

Albert Schram at home before leaving for PNG
Albert Schram at home  in the snow of Verona, Italy, before leaving for PNG


Dr Schram is publishing his biography, of which this is the first part, as a series of articles on his blog, ‘Life is A Journey of Learning

VERONA, ITALY - As Vice Chancellor of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT also sometimes called UNITECH), it was an extraordinary privilege for me to serve two terms, a total of more than six years, and this is my story.

The title of these blog posts is somewhat ironic, because as a child nobody can ever imagine becoming a vice chancellor or university president in Papua New Guinea. It cannot be anybody’s childhood dream, although it could have been mine.

While still very young, in fact I noticed how universities, such as those where my parents worked, were so badly managed. Therefore, over 10 years ago I made it my mission in life to improve this sad state of affairs, by providing transformational leadership and effective management.

The reconstruction of the story of my experiences in PNG is based on my 250 plus blog posts published earlier, and other publicly accessible materials, which readers can consult if they are interested in details.

While writing down these experiences today, I am preparing a book proposal about the future of higher education in developing countries, which is not exclusively based on my PNG experience, but also on my broader readings plus working and living in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

Continue reading "A Childhood Dream: Experiences of a vice chancellor in PNG" »

We need to invest in teachers to achieve quality education

Pawa Kenny Ambiasi
Pawa Ambiasi - "PNG has a problem delivering quality education because it has overlooked its teachers over the years"


PORT MORESBY - When he announced Joseph Yopyyopy as Papua New Guinea’s new education minister, prime minister James Marape said his government will continue the tuition fee free (TFF) education policy and add quality to it.

Managing TFF is one thing but quality education is what we need most in PNG society.  

A civilised society should be made up of well-educated people who apply the highest level of self-discipline, tolerance, respect for others and esteem for private and public institutions.

The sign at the entrance to the education department’s head office of in Waigani has the motto ‘Quality Education for Quality Citizens’, but, even though the motto has existed for some time, education standard continue to drop.

There is a very big gap in the learning of mathematics and science. Many students can’t understand what is taught in school. And many students cannot attain the scarce places in tertiary institutions.

So what is lacking? Is it policy? Is it money? Is it resources? No. We could have a silver coated TFF policy, money and resources but we would still have a problem with the quality of education.

Continue reading "We need to invest in teachers to achieve quality education" »

Dear Hon James Marape, I make a plea for an innocent man

Dr Albert Schram - "Last year he was gone and the evil won"


PORT MORESBY - I am not close to you to speak these words directly, so I make this humble request through PNG Attitude.

An innocent man was accused by power-hungry people who had made the University of Technology their cash cow before Dr Albert Schram’s term as vice-chancellor.

Dr Schram was accused on baseless grounds and the purpose of accusing him was to make Unitech a cash cow once again after he had gone.

Last year he was gone and the evil won.

I fought for change a student at Unitech from 2011 to 2014. The change I wanted to see slowly flowed in from Dr Schram’s arrival in 2013 and beyond.

Continue reading "Dear Hon James Marape, I make a plea for an innocent man" »

Making donations of books to empower our children

Donating books
Jordan Dean with some of the children to whom he has donated his own and other books


PORT MORESBY - Education is the only way to save the world.

If you want to combat incurable diseases, get a medical degree. If you want to defend people’s rights, go to law school.

If you want to discover new drugs, get a PhD in pharmacology. If you want organisations to work better, get an MBA.

A good quality education helps children reach their full potential; however for thousands of children in Papua New Guinea, access to educational books is a myth.

So meet three amazing ladies who initiated book donation drives to help educate underprivileged children.

Mary Fairio is a researcher with a passion for kids and a desire to make a difference in her West Papuan community living at the Rainbow refugee camp.

Continue reading "Making donations of books to empower our children" »

The final reel from my Papua New Guinea film collection


NEWCASTLE – This is the last video in the series of short films I shot in  Papua New Guinea in the early 1960s when I occasionally visited the then territory as part of my work as a lecturer at the Australian School of Pacific Administration.

The footage traverses quite a bit of country as it moves from Rabuana Primary School near Rabaul and a tabloid sports event, then Wau and Bulolo in the Goldfields and what was a lonely drive down the mountain to Lae, where I visited the impressive war cemetery.

Next we move to the highlands and Goroka (mispelled Goroko in the film’s caption) and finally to Wewak and its fine marketplace.

Thank you for watching these short videos, digitally reproduced by the people at the National Archives of Australia. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

I particularly mention the students of mine from ASOPA and the E-Course students from Malaguna Teachers College with whom I am still in touch.

These people dedicated a major part of their lives to teaching in Papua New Guinea and I was fortunate enough to share some of their adventures,

The feedback I have received so far has been encouraging and rewarding, and I want to mention fellow ASOPA lecturer Dick Pearse was thrilled to see the Tubusereia segment in an earlier article.

Just a word of thanks to Keith Jackson for putting the films on PNG Attitude. I’m enjoying such a lot of reading there which is so interesting and well put together.

The entire series of 12 short films is now complete and you can fine all of them on YouTube at this link -

How Susan graduated after a 34 year fight to get a degree

Susan Wangjil and her father on campus
Newly graduated Susan Wangjil with her father on the campus of the University of Papua New Guinea


PORT MORESBY - It was a great relief when Susan Wangjil finally graduated with a science degree after 34 years of continuous education.

Susan is from Alkena village in the Tambul District of the Western Highlands Province and she graduated as a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biology, from the University of Papua New Guinea on 26 April.

She had started Grade 1 at Alkena Lutheran Community school back in 1986, and in 1995 completed Grade 10 at Tambul High School. But she did not receive an offer to progress to the next level of education.

Susan had no choice but to return to her family where she stayed for a year and said to herself that completing Grade 10 should not be the end of her education.

So, in 1997, she decided to enrol at the Mount Hagen College of Distance Education to improve her Grade 10 marks. The following year, she was accepted into Nazarene School of Nursing at Kudjip in Jiwaka Province.

Continue reading "How Susan graduated after a 34 year fight to get a degree" »

The main issues behind the decline in quality of PNG education


VICTORIA POINT, QLD - Phil Fitzpatrick asked in  PNG Attitude recently, ‘Education is the key: does anyone know what happened to it?

The prime minister of Papua New Guinea recently attributed the decline in the quality of education to curriculum changes instituted 10 years ago. This was an important factor, but only one of many.

I have a number of thoughts on the causes of decline, perceived or real.

The plan

Following the government’s commitment to the United Nation’s ‘Education for All’ push in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was disenchantment within the Department of Education over the large numbers of pupils whose educational opportunities were terminated at the end of Grades 6, 8 or 10.

Continue reading "The main issues behind the decline in quality of PNG education" »

Education is the key. Does anyone know what happened to it?

Trump and O'Neill
"If American and Papua New Guinean voters were better educated they might not have inflicted Trump and O’Neill on their respective nations"


TUMBY BAY - As Chris Overland and others have observed, Donald Trump is undoubtedly the worst president the United States of America has ever elected.

Chris calls him a serial liar and fraud, but he is worse than that. He is an existential threat to democracy, not only in the USA but in the whole world.

If you heaped up all the terrible leaders that currently hold sway in the world today he would surely sit on top of the smelly pile.

With that in mind it is instructional to consider what constitutes his supporter base.

Apart from the usual rabid neo-liberals his base largely comprises two main groups, those with poor educational backgrounds and those aligned with fundamentalist Christian groups. Quite often those two things go hand in hand.

If you look a bit closer at the aforementioned smelly pile you will probably notice Peter O’Neill sticking out from under Trump’s substantial right buttock.

Continue reading "Education is the key. Does anyone know what happened to it?" »

The uni that gives disability an equal chance – and succeeds

Frank Wonea (Kuman)
Frank Wonea
Clency Amos (Kuman)
Clency Amos


GOROKA - Despite all odds, two visually impaired students attending the University of Goroka have met Papua New Guinea government requirements and been awarded higher education scholarships.

Clency Amos and Frank Wonea are currently in their second and fourth (final) years respectively as self-sponsored students enrolled for Arts degrees in political science.

Both proved themselves capable among the many sighted students to attain excellent grades and win the scholarships from the Department of Higher Education.

“I’m very thankful that the government has provided this opportunity for me not only to enjoy but also to compete for the best this year and onwards,” said Clency Amos.

Continue reading "The uni that gives disability an equal chance – and succeeds" »

Innovative John Roka learning centre opens in Panguna

John Roka
The school is named for John Roka, a community leader who was assassinated during the Bougainville civil war. He is the father of author and entrepreneur Leonard Roka


PANGUNA, BOUGAINVILLE – Today we open the John Roka Memorial School and Child Counselling Centre, a new name and an expansion of the early childhood learning centre established in the Panguna area in 2014.

The institution's activities is not limited to children, counselling is provided to all ages indications so far show a need for family counselling as a main activity.

The staff are committed to accommodating the counselling needs of the community and also to assisting parents to become good home educators to develop our future human resources.

The school kicked off thanks to the taxpayers of Australia and it now has a permanent structure that houses two classrooms, a library, a counselling room and toilets.

We aim to make learning better by installing an e-library that will be accessible by students from the nearby primary school. One classroom will also have a computer and projector for multimedia learning.

The school's new curriculum will be completed in mid-year and fully implemented in 2020. With five years of operation already behind it, the school is on its way to break down the walls of illiteracy amongst the immediate population and beyond.

Continue reading "Innovative John Roka learning centre opens in Panguna" »

The downfall of educational laptops in rural Papua New Guinea

PNG kids & notebooksWAYAN VOTA | ICT Works | Edited

BERKELEY, USA - Back in the day, ‘One Laptop Per Child’ (OLPC) promised a digital revolution in education.

By handing out $100 laptops to children, and for the most part sidelining teachers, the organisers believed children would undertake learning on their own.

OLPC had massive media coverage, and for a while, it looked like it actually would revolutionize education.

I happened to be a major critic of the program, citing the need for teachers and school administrations to be involved with any educational effort that hoped to grow past pilot-itis.

In time, those of us who pointed out its failures were proved right. OLPC was a failure outside of a few special cases.

Continue reading "The downfall of educational laptops in rural Papua New Guinea" »

Universities should beware of ministers bearing (small) gifts

Matheson Library_0
Matheson Library at the PNG University of Technology in Lae


VERONA, ITALY - The recent visit by minister Richard Maru to the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech), where he donated a few hundred thousand kina in laboratory equipment may give the impression that everything is fine.

In fact, the opposite is true.

In Papua New Guinea, there have been four major student uprisings in the five years from 2012 to 2017, the result of endless government meddling in university council affairs.

As a result, for anyone interested in student protest, it has become the world’s number one place to be. If you want to lead a peaceful family life on campus, however, it is possibly not the preferred location.

Moreover, the overtly anti-foreigner attitude of the government, chancellors and many university staff members, as demonstrated by the recent persecution of foreign vice-chancellors and academics, is not conducive to a positive working environment.

Continue reading "Universities should beware of ministers bearing (small) gifts" »

The 30-year struggle of journalism education at USP

Wansolwara student journalists
Wansolwara student journalists on publication day at the University of the South Pacific

SHAILENDRA SINGH | Pacific Media Centre | University of the South Pacific | Edited

SUVA - The University of the South Pacific’s recent 50th anniversary also marked 30 years of existence for its regional journalism program.

In an eventful journey, the program has weathered military coups, overcome financial hardships and shrugged off academic snobbery.

Funded by the Commonwealth, the program started in Suva in 1988 with a handful of students. Since then it has produced more than 200 graduates serving the Pacific and beyond in various media and communication roles.

USP journalism graduates have won awards, started their own media companies and taken over positions once reserved for expatriates in regional organisations.

Continue reading "The 30-year struggle of journalism education at USP" »

Amea’s story: Building a village school out of nothing

Amea Basel
Amea Basel - worked with fellow villagers to build the self-sufficient OKA school


Having wisdom and understanding is better than having silver or gold. It is good to have nice things, but there are very few things in life that can never be taken away, and education is one of them (Proverbs 16:16)

PORT MORESBY - The journey that changed my view of life started when I joined Youth With a Mission PNG (YWAM PNG) as a general volunteer on their third outreach for 2019 to the Gulf and Western Provinces of Papua New Guinea.

The journey was an eye-opener for me, a Papua New Guinean who has spent most of my life in the city and in other more developed provinces than Gulf and Western.

During the second week of outreach I was at Korovake Village in the Baimuru District when I met Amea Basel, a tremendous young Gulf Province woman.

Her story changed my life.

It got me thinking, ‘what am I doing for my country?’

Continue reading "Amea’s story: Building a village school out of nothing" »

Recalling gentleman Jim Humphreys & his applied mathematics

Jim's new maths made a short appearance in the School Paper when KJ was editing it. "It took months to get the article to Jim's satisfaction," Keith recalls. "But it still confused everyone."


MELBOURNE – I feel sure that Jim Humphreys would be horrified that anyone would recall his impact on more than a few Papua New Guinean and expatriate primary school teachers during the late 1960s.

For the most part, Jim was a private, reserved and self-contained chap, not given to Friday nights and weekends in pubs or clubs or parties.

Outside of working hours, he kept much to himself. He was, indeed, something of an enigma.

That said, he was, for a short few years, a valued colleague and mentor.

Jim achieved prominence in the PNG primary education sphere when he was anointed by Education Director, Ken McKinnon, to champion the implementation of the ‘new maths’ through the application of TEMLAB: the Territory Mathematics Laboratory.

Physically, TEMLAB was a boxed set of lesson plans and teaching apparatus comprising attribute blocks: a collection of wooden pieces in various shapes, sizes, colours and thickness which were designed (if I remember correctly) to provide a logical underpinning to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Continue reading "Recalling gentleman Jim Humphreys & his applied mathematics" »

BCL supports the improvement of teachers in Bougainville

Staff and Students in Uniforms (BCL)
Staff and students at St Therese Sipatako Primary School

ERIC TAPAKAU | Bougainville Copper Ltd

BUKA - More than 400 primary school teachers are now equipped to bring the transformative benefits of a standards-based curriculum to Panguna and Kieta District classrooms in central Bougainville.

Bougainville Copper was delighted to support the Bougainville government’s education department in providing a week of intensive training for 380 teachers at Tupukas, Arawa and St Therese Sipatako primary schools.

The company contributed K80,000 as part of its broader community investment program. Chairman Sir Mel Togolo said the move to standards-based training was about putting in place the best possible structures to support the learning and development of our children.

“The training is essential to building the necessary capacity among our teachers to bring to life standards-based education in their classrooms,” Sir Mel said.

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Schools of business are connected in a virtual classroom

Viral classroom (Davidson)
Students participate in the 'virtual classroom' at Sonoma school of business


PORT MORESBY - Last Friday, the dream of virtual learning became reality when two schools of business in Papua New Guinea were connected by video conferencing.

The schools at Sonoma Adventist College and Pacific Adventist University adopted video conferencing after Dr Khin Maung Kyi of PAU received funding from the South Pacific Division of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

A donation of more than K250,000 was provided to purchase equipment and Douglas Rinny, an information technology specialist from PAU, recently came to Sonoma College to install the equipment to enable video conferencing.

The launch linking the two business schools occurred in the presence of students and staff with Dr Khin speaking about the opportunities available through modern technology to make learning more accessible and user-friendly.

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Australian university introduces first ever course in Tok Pisin


CANBERRA - An online undergraduate course in Tok Pisin has been introduced by the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific this year.

Tok Pisin is an official language of Papua New Guinea and is the most commonly and widely used language in the country with about four million native speakers.

The College says that by learning Tok Pisin, students will gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultures, histories and societies of the people of PNG and surrounding areas of the Pacific.

In this introductory course, students gain a practical command of beginner spoken Tok Pisin and an elementary capacity to read various types of texts in Tok Pisin with the help of a dictionary.

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The O’Neill regime is dumbing down a whole generation


PORT MORESBY - High profile journalist Scott Waide’s recent article about the high cost of his daughter’s university fees highlights a conundrum Papua New Guinea faces in terms of the quality of its education system.

Scott was shocked about the high cost. But let us reflect on what is a major crisis in the sector.

When the O’Neill government introduced the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) education system for primary and secondary schools, it failed to account for capacity constraints.

Schools were flooded and schools lacked and continue to lack learning resources, infrastructure and staff numbers to cope with the influx.

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Albert Schram – after the venality of PNG, gratefully moving on

Schram case PC 29 JanALBERT SCHRAM

On Tuesday, after six months, the allegation of “false pretence” concerning Dr Schram’s PhD credentials was thrown out of the Port Moresby magistrate’s court for lack of evidence. Presiding magistrate A Kalandi struck out the case against Dr Schram and discharged him. But Mr Kalandi ordered that Dr Schram forfeit K2,000 bail for not appearing in court and stated he could be arrested if he returned to Papua New Guinea.

The academic had good reasons for not appearing. As he writes on his blog, he had been “in a no-win situation, unable to prove my innocence after being falsely accused, wrongfully dismissed, maliciously prosecuted and unlawfully detained”. You can read Dr Schram’s full account here. What follows is an extract about the life he and his wife Paulina are now leading in his hometown in Italy.

VERONA - Many readers have asked how we are doing after this ordeal. Today, I have moved on.

I feel relieved to be free from those terrible dishonest colleagues, all professed Christians, who unhesitatingly first knowingly falsely accused me, then threw me under the bus, and never again reached out or said or wrote a word to me (with only a few exceptions).

They must be experts in betrayal, since Jesus himself was betrayed by his own disciples.

It really pains me we won't be able to see the many good friends we have made in over six years living among the good people of Papua New Guinea. I can only come back to the country, if all charges are dropped and all costs and damages that my family and I suffered are reimbursed.

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Unstoppable youth crime is destroying our social fabric

Kundiawa market
Kundiawa market


KUNDIAWA - Deviant behaviour is defined as behaving contrary to or outside the moral and ethical guidelines or rules in society. Deviants are people who break rules and often act abnormally.

Deviant youths are manipulators who con others; they tell lies, cheat, are aggressive and violent, and steal. They involve themselves in crime because they don’t know the difference between lawful and unlawful, right and wrong, moral and immoral.

Juvenile delinquency associated with drug abuse is a serious problem that undermines the fabric of our society. We live in constant fear that our security is at risk because there is no social cohesion, customary laws and morality to control the aggressive behaviour of young people.

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A teacher’s influence


As a stone creates ripples on a lake,
So a teacher’s creates ripples,
In a student’s life.

Influence subtle and powerful,
To change thinking and life,
And mold profoundly.

Like a surgeon, the teacher,
Cuts minds with wisdom’s scalpel,
To light the intellect’s ancient fire.

In darkened minds a blazing light,
In tender hearts a longing hunger,
To satisfy the thirst for knowledge.

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Trouble on campus as UPNG hierarchy is swept aside

New vice-chancellor Kenneth Sumbuk - unions question integrity and credibility

STAFF REPORTER | Pacific Media Centre

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s Trade Union Congress has slammed the appointments of Jeffrey Kennedy as chancellor and Kenneth Sumbuk as vice-chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea.

The Post-Courier newspaper reported TUC president John Paska as saying the congress initially welcomed an announcement to investigate administrative malpractice and other aspects of the university but these two appointments now question the credibility of the exercise.

He said this was a governance issue which attracted public attention and commentary.

“With the stroke of a pen [higher education] minister Pila Niningi has turned what appeared to be a step in the right direction into a farcical exercise denigrating it into a comical show piece,” Paska said.

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Empathy & collaboration key to shared global growth & prosperity

Davis Cousar
Davis Cousar

DAVIS COUSAR | Independent Mail

ANDERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA USA - It was 9 pm Monday in Australia’s Brisbane airport, and we were headed to Papua New Guinea for the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

The seven of us, all Furman University students and faculty, had been travelling for two days and were looking forward to getting our bags and checking into our hotel to take a warm shower, change clothes and sleep before our flight to PNG the next morning.

We waited at baggage claim for our luggage … and waited … and waited. Our bags didn’t appear. The woman at the service desk said our bags were nowhere to be found, but she assured us they would be located and placed on the next flight to PNG.

As it turns out, when we arrived the next afternoon, our bags weren’t there.

The APEC Summit began in 1989 as an informal meeting between 12 Asia-Pacific economies seeking to increase trade and collaboration in the region. Today, APEC consists of 21 Pacific-Rim economies that work together to create inclusive and sustainable growth.

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Unitech - a unique experiment in replicating ignorance

Kondom Agaundo
Kondom Agaundo's grave - the words above the tombstone read, 'Tomorrow my sons & daughters will come'. Even in the 1960s Kondom knew a good education was essential for a good future


VERONA, Italy - When I was vice chancellor of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (known as Unitech) from 2012 to 2018, we worked hard to bring it into the 21st century.

The current management and university council, however, seem to be making an effort to bring the university back to its roots in the 1970s, whether intentionally or through sheer ignorance, incompetence or carelessness.

It is a sad tale of regression which forces me to speak out in an effort to reverse this trend.

The current chancellor Jean Kekedo apparently has a great nostalgia for the 1970s and has remarked several times that she wants to go back to those simpler times.

She believes no member of the university staff should travel abroad and that meetings and agreements can be done remotely through video-conferencing.

Of course, for council members and their friends, exceptions are made, but they can travel only to Australia. It is unclear why this is so, but Ms Kekedo also seems to feel she does not need to explain her decisions.

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English proficiency is a necessity not a luxury in PNG


ADELAIDE - I recently read Bill Bryson’s ‘The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way’, which provides a very readable and amusing account of the development of the English language.

It is fair to say that the emergence of English as the foremost international language of business, science and culture is one of history’s more improbable occurrences.

After all, English as we now understand it did not really exist until around 1500 and was, at that time, spoken only by a quite small number of people living on an utterly unimportant island off the coast of Europe.

Through a series of unlikely events that small island emerged as the greatest imperial power in history. At the zenith of its power (around 1913), the British Empire encompassed about 23% of the world’s population and about quarter of the world’s land mass.

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English language declines as education system fails


KUNDIAWA - Papua New Guinea is a country of a thousand tribes and languages. It has countless stories, myths, legends and ballads telling of the value of life from the past to the present.

But a poor literacy rate is having a drastic effect on the present and threatens to be even worse in the future.

During the days of our forefathers there was no culture of reading. However there was a culture of narrating and listening, and the great orators and wise leaders – although unable to read and write - passed on the wisdom orally from one generation to the next.

In an illiterate society, their accounts were valuable but could never be verified by the written word, which is now the norm in PNG.

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