By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
UNIVERSITY of Technology’s (Unitech) postgraduate school Dean Prof Shamsul Akanda wants to see some sort of funding made available to postgraduate students.
He said at present there was neither a national programme nor funding available for students pursuing Masters and or higher degrees.
Akanda spoke at Unitech’s postgraduate school orientation on Monday, with new and continuing students registering for Masters programmes.
Akanda emphasised that such programmes were a way ahead for the country’s development.
“There is a shortage of skilled manpower in all the sectors, including the academia,” Akanda said. “Postgraduate involves a lot of research.
“Research leads to innovation and innovation leads to sustainable economic development.
“If there is no research, there is no innovation and national development.
“We need skilled manpower not only for innovation but also skilled manpower to utilise this innovation for national development.”
Akanda said that although many students were selected under the programme, a lot of them usually did not register because of financial problems.
“This year we selected about 50 students for the programme but fewer than 50 per cent registered.
“The major problem is finance. This is a problem for all of us.”
Akanda said there was funding from the Department of Higher Education Research (DHERST) and Science or local MPs for undergraduate students but no funding or support existed for postgraduate programmes.
“The programme is funded through an inventory budget and there is not a supported budget for this programme,” he said.
“The government must provide some money for such programmes so that it can be developed to stand on its own feet.
“The situation is worse and the government, through DHERST, must organise a scholarship for postgraduate students. It should not only be for Unitech but also for other universities in PNG so that students can compete for scholarships.
Akanda thanked the Australian government for providing many scholarships for postgraduate students to study overseas but also asked if there was any option for funds to be made available to develop national programmes.
By EREBIRI ZURENUOC