Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Government must support universities


THE National Government must provide financial backing to universities if it is serious about contributing positively to the growth and national development of the nation.

Former Prime Minister and senior statesman Sir Rabbie Namaliu made these remarks at the 12th graduation ceremony of the University of Vudal last Friday.

Sir Rabbie, who is Chancellor of the university, said universities could not continue to rely on the goodwill of bilateral partners or donors for their growth and expansion.

“The National Government must put money where its mouth is if it is serious about training skilled and professional people to meet the growing demands of both the public and private sectors,” he said.

He said the government must provide adequate financial resources to universities to ensure that they offered a standard of education and training that was recognised in PNG and internationally as well.

The Chancellor said this would attract well-qualified and experienced staff and students both locally and abroad.

Sir Rabbie said universities like University of Vudal needed proper libraries, proper laboratories, adequate resources with relevant information materials and computer friendly facilities.

For instance, he said the granting of a temporary license to universities by PANGTEL to pilot broadband for a short period was welcomed, but it was not a solution to the long tem demand.

“We would much rather see universities licensed to use this modern mean of communication on a permanent and sustainable basis,” Sir Rabbie said.

“It would improve the quality of teaching and learning immeasurable as well as research in this modern day and age.”

He said broadband would boost the capacity of the library literally overnight because staff and students would have access to sources of information including books from anywhere in the world.

The Chancellor said the Government had made a good start in the 2006 supplementary budget when it allocated K50million to the four state universities for maintenance and rehabilitation and this was appreciated even though University of Vudal and University of Goroka only received K4million each.

Sir Rabbie said as the youngest of the four universities, University of Vudal was striving to find its rightful place as an institution of higher learning and research after many years of training agricultural specialists not only in PNG but also in Pacific as a college.


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