Let’s share cost of education

Editorial

SOMETHING truly Papua New Guinean and Melanesian seems to be dying out or missing when people are left to struggle.
It is the spirit of sharing in good and bad times.
This time of year when school begins, many families will have to make critical decisions about the future of children’s education.
Sadly, those decisions will be influenced by the ability to pay.
Investing in education may appear a personal or individual family responsibility but the fruits of such investment cannot remain private.
We need only look at the amazing amount of good a well-educated man or woman can do to a clan, tribe or even the country.
Look at the lives of teachers, ministers of the Gospel, medical professionals and other educated people and consider the immeasurable good their skills and experiences have done for others.
These skills and experiences have been “paid for” by individuals themselves or their families, but a lot more people benefit from such investments.
The spirit of sharing should be encouraged among people, especially in rural areas where raising money remains a difficult challenge.
While some communities still support each other or crowd-fund their promising young people to acquire an education, some have sadly become self-centred or indifferent to the hardships of their neighbours.
The cash economy has made people selfish in their outlook and will only spend money own their own welfare without a thought to their neighbours or even close relatives who are going through tough times financially.
When there is no sense of community and mutual support, families are left with little choice but to seek loans from banks and other financial institutions to pay for tuition and other costs in their children’s education.
Loans should be a measure of last resort when community efforts have fallen short to raise the necessary fees.
People should be encouraged to get away from selfishness, which is a huge stumbling block to any endeavour aimed at collective advancement, fulfilment, peace and unity.
The cash economy can and make us independent and self-seeking but that should not be.
Selfishness has no place in communal PNG and even a modern nation.
Further to that, Papua New Guineans, as practicing Christians, are reminded that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
People don’t know and can be pleasantly surprised that what is given will return manifold in future.
This is the reality in investing in education.
The practice of sharing and caring for others can make a huge difference in the lives of the many hundreds of young people all over the country who could not continue school for the simple reason that their parents were unable to pay fees.
If we consider the difference they would have made if given the chance to pursue their education, the possibilities are staggering.
Rural communities or those in places where money is hard to come by should therefore be encouraged to help one another in funding the education of children and youth, while the Government does its bit through subsidies.
Instead of simply giving up on their children, disadvantaged parents should be supported by others around them.
Getting students into schools will also help reduce lawlessness caused by out-of-school youths.
Sharing is an inherent trait in PNG communities that can bring out the greatness in people through education and training. It is a simple rule of nature; what goes around comes around, to every action there is a reaction.

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