PM: Education at tertiary level needs to be relevant

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday that the country must ensure that its tertiary education is relevant to the needs of Papua New Guinea today and tomorrow.

“We need degree and higher courses that reflect the needs of our economy, and are capable of meeting the future professional needs of our private sector as well as our public sector,” he told University of PNG students, academics and members of the public yesterday.

Speaking at the university he attended once, O’Neill said: “We also need new funding mechanisms that will ensure long term viability and sustainability.

“We also need to look at the success of the non-government, or non-taxpayer funded, tertiary sector, and embrace it, not see it as a threat.”

He praised the success of Divine Word and Seventh Day Adventist universities and said such examples ought to be replicated. 

“They are enhancing tertiary education and are doing so ina caring and wholly professional way – at minimum cost to the taxpayer,” he said.

“I am not opposed to private universities, funded and managed as businesses. The Bond University on the Gold 

Coast is an example that could be looked at.

“I am also not opposed to – in fact I want to encourage – greater corporate investment in and participation in the redevelopment and future of our main universities.”

 He said as our mining and gas resource sectors, the construction sector, and other sectors such as tourism and agriculture grew, there was a need to encourage these sectors, and companies participating in them, to contribute to university funding.

“I want our universities to form more partnerships with the private sector – for funding, resourcing, and enabling students to gain practical on the job experience during university studies,” he said.