FINANCE and Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch has foreshadowed the Government’s continuing commitment to giving priority to education.
In the days leading to the handing down of the 2010 National Budget tomorrow, Mr Pruaitch addressed two school graduations in the Momase region at which he made a pledge to ensuring that the education of the future generation received the attention it deserved.
He first spoke at the Grade 12 graduation of Bugandi Secondary School in Lae last Wednesday, followed by an address at the first Grade 8 graduation at Prou-Vokau Community School in his Aitape-Lumi electorate on Saturday.
His demonstration of that commitment was to take time off from his busy pre-budget schedule to attend the two graduations.
Mr Pruaitch’s major announcement at both occasions was the Government’s decision to redirect the K100 million-a-year Rehabilitation of Educational Services Infrastructure (RESI) funds directly to the districts rather than through centralised distribution controlled from Waigani.
He has, in the same vein, foreshadowed similar arrangements for a couple of other impact project fundings such as the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) in the National Alliance-led Government’s drive to refocus on developing rural Papua New Guinea.
Mr Pruaitch told the Bugandi graduation: “Education is currently a priority of the National-Alliance-led Government as is contained in the Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) of 2005-10. The Government aims to develop our education system so that it caters for the formal as well as the informal sector, the urban as well as the rural sector.”
He said this strategy was well-placed for many good reasons, including the Government’s focus on rural development and the expected economic boom to be brought about by the resources development, more so with the multi-billion kina LNG project.
Mr Pruaitch said of the balanced approach: “We are doing this keeping in mind that not all students leaving secondary schools will eventually enter the formal employment sector. Let’s be realistic, many of you graduating today will end up back in your villages, but when you do, your Government would have catered for your well-being by creating economic and social opportunities through various intervention programs.
“For those of you progressing on to becoming trained professionals, our economy is poised to enter an era where formal employment opportunities will abound.”
At his home electorate, Mr Pruaitch opened three double classrooms at the Prou-Vokau Community School, which he funded to the tune of K150,000 through the RESI programme, and pledged a further K100,000 for teachers’ houses.