Every day, week, month and year we are flanged by so many socioeconomic problems and challenges.
Our social obligations are immense and costly. Day in and day out we struggle to make ends meet and provide for the family. Successive governments come and go but still we lack basic governmental services. A hardworking public-private sector worker is paying marked up income tax and yet he or she is being taxed again on goods and services.
We are being denied of our rightful privilege to enjoy the luxury returns from our natural resources like gold, copper, gas, timber etc and forced to be refugees in our own land. The rich are getting richer in crooked and corrupted ways while the poor are getting poorer and left with bread crumbs.
What could be the solution for all these socioeconomic problems and challenges? This is a very serious question that we all should ask ourselves as individuals. Many people talk about a change of attitude but the question is, how will attitudes of people change.
Fomer US president George H W Bush once said and I quote “Think about every problem, every challenge. The solution to each starts with education”. He had identified that if every citizen could be educated and equipped with formal basic knowledge, then all problems and challenges would be solved.
The major factor that drives all sorts of social issues, problems and challenges in PNG is the drastic lack of basic formal education. In PNG, we have over 90 per cent of the total population illiterate.
It means they do not read or write or understand English and even Tok Pisin. The high illiterate population does not understand and comprehend instructions, thus, social problems and challenges increase every day.
Our high percentage of illiteracy rate has been the major factor that is contributing to the socioeconomic problems we are facing.
Forty one years have passed and yet we are underrated in terms of education and qualification wise.
The onus is now with us to ensure every young child goes to school and gets at least a formal education so that in the next 40 years we should have 90 per cent of literate people and maybe only 10 per cent or fewer illiterate people.
Robin Benjamin Karis,