Government can do more


THIS refers to the editorial of The National yesterday “Allow churches to drive change” on how nice things were for public education at the time of the mission schools and the years around Papua New Guinea’s independence.
Those days are not going to come back for a series of reasons, including the fact that the churches’ operational capabilities have weakened since then, while the population has consistently increased.
The Government will have to continue to run at least half of the overall education efforts and consistently support what the churches can do.
However, it could help boost the contribution of churches to the desired higher academic and moral fibre of our children if a few things were to happen.
Church personnel normally dedicated to pastoral work should give more time and energy to students, teachers and schools.
Adding to that, pupils should be allowed to enroll in a school of their choice.
Let students who want to attend a school run by their Christian denomination access it and not be forced to comply with “zoning” policies or other criteria.
More church personnel could either be hired or regularly consulted for policy making by the Departments of Education and Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.
However, the fact that a highly qualified educationist from the ranks of the Catholic church (but could happen to anybody) recently had court proceedings started against him is in no way encouraging.
With a large number of students, teachers and schools bound to increase in the years to come, it is really the duty of each person in Government and in education, besides any individual citizen, to help turn things around for our young people.

Fr Giorgio Licini,
Catholic Bishops Conference