By OSEAH PHILEMON
GOVERNOR-General Sir Paulias Matane is pleased to learn that the Government is now putting more emphasis on technical and vocational education and training.
The former school teacher has also called on young people to develop the “right kind of attitudes towards life”.
“You can have the best education but without the right attitudes you will fail,” Sir Paulias said.
Speaking in Lae at the launch of the nation’s first National Polytechnic Institute of PNG, Sir Paulias said this should have happened a long time ago.
If this had been done before, many of the young people who leave school at Grades 10 or 12 would have been absorbed into technical and vocational institutions to prepare them for useful employment, he said.
“I am surprised when I hear some of the figures,” he said.
“Each year 50,000 Grade 10 students graduate.
“Only 25,000 continue to Grade 11. What happens to the other half? This is our big problem.”
“That is one of the reasons why I changed my programme to be here in Lae for the launching of the first National Polytechnical Institute.
“I have said many times before that we must move more and more towards technical and vocational training and education.
“That kind of education, technical and vocational training, will assist these people.
“For instance the 25,000 from Grade 10 could go to technical or vocational training institutions or colleges and when that happens they are able to do something either for themselves in the villages or to work for other businesses.
“You cannot just speak English and know the geography and history and those other academic subjects. They are good but not enough.
“It’s got to be technical education and I am very pleased that there is now a movement by the Department of Education towards what I have been saying, that we need more technical and vocational training institutions in our country and the National Polytechnic Institute of Papua New Guinea is just the beginning.
“There are likely to be another 76 established between now and 2050 under the national strategic development plan.
“When this LNG project starts, we may not have enough technical people to work there, so it looks like we may have to recruit people from outside and that should not have been if we had concentrated on technical and vocational education and training.
“A total of 12,000 young people complete Grade 12 each year but universities can only accept 4,000. What happens to the other 8,000?
“This is one of the biggest problems we face in PNG.
“They wasted all these years and they think they have the education and most of them only have an academic education.”