Rising cost a concern


THE rising cost of tertiary education in Papua New Guinea is a cause for concern for many citizens in all walks of life and this remains the ultimate obstacle in human resource development.
Ordinary Papua New Guineans with low gross incomes are hit hard when massive tertiary fees are imposed making it difficult for them to help their children advance their education.
This is the sad reality for many Papua New Guineans across the nation.
This trend will eventually draw a boundary between the rich and poor in a land considered to be abundantly blessed with vast masses of natural resources so to speak.
About 90 per cent of the total population comprises of subsistence farmers whose average yearly income falls in the range K1,500- K3,000, thus making it quite a challenge for them to meet such a hike in fees.
Educational institutions, therefore, will soon be and is already becoming the breeding grounds for the rich to multiply their own kind – posing a very dangerous trend for society in general.
Children born to poor parents will certainly resort to violence and criminal activities out of frustration because of a biased education system.
This will have serious ramifications that shall bring the country into jeopardy in all spheres of the way we function as a society.
The gap is already widening between the different classes of people in contemporary PNG unlike previously when the national government took ownership of the cost of tertiary education which provided equal opportunities for all classes of people.
The segregation between the poor and rich shall vividly downplay the constitution which vehemently states equal opportunities for all citizens regardless of gender, colour, status and creed.
The government cannot boast of providing equal opportunities for all citizens when the country’s resources are used for the benefit of a few minority leaving the poor staggering because of a biasedly designed education system that fails miserably to consider the poor.
It is about high time the national government should revisit the current policy that is in place and devise remedial measures that can ease the burden on poor parents so that potential tertiary students born in disadvantaged homes can be provided an opportunity to further their education in a fair and friendly education system.
Millions of Kina has been squandered on non-profitable entities that should have been expended on sustainable human resource development which would warrant a space for a struggling poor child forced out of the education system due to lack of fees.
The rudimentary aspects of building the foundation of a prosperous nation is a solid human resource base that will in turn empower the progress of development in the long run and the government should now massively subsidise tertiary education fees.
Thus, education should remain the focus of successive governments with massive investments in tertiary education so that it is made accessible to all people without further discrimination.

Sly Effa