The National – Friday, February 11, 2011
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE University of Papua New Guinea will set up a university centre in resource-rich Hela, Southern Highlands, to cater for the increasing number of people who are seeking tertiary education there.
A memorandum of understanding was signed yesterday between the Hela Transitional Authority (HTA) and the UPNG administration to effect this commitment.
In the agreement, the HTA was expected to provide the learning facilities and environment while UPNG was tasked to provide the teaching and support staff as well as study materials for students.
UPNG vice-chancellor prof Ross Hynes said the main aim of establishing the centre in places like Tari was to bring affordable university education to people.
Hynes said education was the foundation for a civil and prosperous society and the cornerstone for good, accountable leadership in the country.
“The greater the number of well-educated people in our community, the more prosperous, fair and just our community will become,” Hynes said.
He thanked Education Minister and Member for Tari-Pori and HTA chairman James Marape and Willie Bando for their vision and foresight saying that with the multi-billion kina LNG project coming on stream, it was important to equip the children of Hela with appropriate knowledge and skills to participate positively in the developments taking place.
Marape, on behalf of HTA, thanked UPNG for establishing the learning centre and for bringing tertiary education to rural areas where the majority of people lived.
He said Hela had a population of 300,000 people, 50,000 of whom were students, of which some 10% were selected for tertiary schools every year, while the rest were left out.
“With the establishment of the university centre in the province those who are left behind can have a second chance,” Marape said.
He said the Southern Highlands government as well as HTA would support the programme to ensure that it was sustainable in the long run.
A cheque for K150,000 by the Southern Highlands government to UPNG was presented to start the programmes with counterpart funding of K150,000 expected from HTA in three weeks.
The centre is located in Tari town and would serve Tari-Pori, Koroba-Lake Kopiago and Komo-Margarima electorates including Kutubu and Mt Bosavi.