DO WE HAVE ANY COHERENT plans and strategies to combat tribal fights and other violent social unrest which are too common in Papua New Guinea?
I believe education would be a greatest tool to solve these issues in our country - and most of our people are really lacking an education.
The vast majority of Papua New Guineans, more than 70%, still live in rural areas where there is no proper education. As a result, we have an uneducated population with many social issues.
Tribal fights, as mentioned by Francis Nii in a recent article and similar social issues we discuss and read about at PNG Attitude and other media, are very common in much of PNG society where there is no proper education, health and other basic infrastructure.
Successive governments have neglected this vast majority, their focus diverted to the main centres of the country. And that was really unfair for the people.
Rural societies need support from the responsible authorities. The national, provincial and local level governments, NGOs, business houses, international agencies and organisations must support students and educated youths to conduct awareness in rural villages on pressing issues such as warfare, elections, HIV/AIDS, education, global warming, etc.
This will bring some change to community, provinces and country. The students and youths will be engaged so they can be advocates for social peace and order. As we know, young people have the potential to do harm or good and that is where a change for the better needs to start.
Government must invest more in human resource development. Establish schools, subsidise schooling, get more school age kids enrolled and provide more employment opportunities for the growing population.
I know education can play a greater role in maintaining peace and order in the societies throughout the country. Being educated doesn’t mean a bachelor’s degree; it means you do things well and think better than others. And that’s where change starts.
As a member of the educated elite in my society, I know I would not tolerate tribal fights or other social disorder in my society nor support perpetrators in any way.
I know that education has shaped the way I think and act. Education has changed me to be who I’m and given me a bright future. That's how it helps keep societies in order when change starts from an individual through education.
We can deploy armed security, police and even defence force to tribal areas to contain fights and social unrest but they will never solve the problem. Trouble will still erupt because people are uneducated.
As the great Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Yes, we can change Papua New Guinea through education.