PAPUA New Guineans lack exposure to international education standards because they do not have the advice and awareness to meet specific criteria to be eligible for selection, a recent graduate says.
Livingston Fontenu, who graduated with a master of science in global governance from the University of South Wales in United Kingdom last week, said the country had limited exposure globally, especially in terms of searching for and securing scholarships and travelling to the European Union nations, UK or US.
Fontenu said he was looking at forming an association to help address the issue to give Papua New Guineans the opportunity to acquire post graduate tertiary qualifications overseas.
The 27-year-old from Henganofi, Eastern Highlands, was one of the three recipients of Chevening scholarship from Papua New Guinea to study for a master’s degree in UK last year.
The other recipients were Presley Semi, who undertook a master of science in information technology at Lancaster University and Diane Kambanei, who undertook a master of science in global health at the Queen Margaret University in Scotland.
The three had the opportunity to meet at Buckingham Palace on May 29, by royal invitation. They were among other leaders and people from all walks of life, all of whom had made a positive impact in their community.
“After a few talks, we realised that PNG has limited exposure globally, especially in terms of searching and securing scholarships to get those high standard education in developed countries,” Fontenu said.
He said it was evident in only three of them being selected to study at prestigious universities.
He said the Chevening Scholarship they applied for was simple and straight forward, including the Commonwealth Scholarships.
However, Fontenu said not everyone was aware of it and the ones that did know did not know how to compile fitting applications and essays to meet the specified criteria.
In 2018, only three Papua New Guineans were selected for the Chevening Scholarship, whereas Indonesia sent 20, Malaysia sent 32, China sent 69 and Mexico sent 106.
Fontenu said something had to be done to address the issue in PNG so that more PNG elites were sent to study to attain globally recognised qualifications and accreditation.
“I had a talk with the British High Commissioner to PNG before we left for studies that we will be forming a PNG-UK students’ alumni when I return to solve this problem and give more opportunities to future students,” he said.
“There were many students who have come through this scholarships and other sponsorships but have gone into hiding when they returned home.
“We will revive this network, put our collective efforts together and support prospective students to come into UK for further studies.”
He said the standard of education in the UK was high with many of the world’s top universities , where eight of the top 10 universities in the world is found.
Fontenu said it was really a challenge for someone such as himself who does not only come from a country where the education standard is below average but also for someone who graduated from an engineering science undergraduate degree to pursue a master’s degree in humanities and political science.
He is excited and praised God for his achievements and is looking forward to come back and serve PNG in any capacity he could, as well as assist in sending students to study in the high standard education systems throughout the world.