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05 April 2014


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Oh for goodness sake!

Bugger-all notions of localisation.

Get the right person for the job and keep the person. Period.

Inap long lukluk long sikin kala namel, namel long lek na tu askim ol man long singautim Anutu blong yu tasol.

Welcome to the 21st century, numb-skulls!

I don't see this Unitech experience as an apt example of the "ending localisation for the sake of localisation" cause. The students simply demanded the better administrator. They'd had a taste, gotten hooked and from then on no one could hold them back.

The students' demands were clear and just, and they invariably retained their moral standing. The only people implying race or localisation were those with everything to lose. Even then, an opponent's argument doesn't make one's position.

At UPNG, not a single student's tear was lost nor shred of concern afforded when the last two non-local vice-chancellors left. They were hardly noticed. 

The difference here is, as the Unitech students tell it, Schram is simply a more comprehensive administrator and leader who is in touch with his subjects.

He walked the grounds, ate in the mess and made an effort to understand his organisation at all levels.

The substantive argument in the article - and elephant in the room - still stands though.

The genuine efforts at localisation to prove our independence have been frustrated by wantokism and our misplaced sense of entitlement that lends us a poor attitude to service.

That being said, the Unitech experience could have been cast differently to make the case here. The students fought a decent fight (spare a few mishaps under the previous SRC) and won a commendable and honourable victory.

The temptation would be to say: bring back white leadership in key positions; not necessarily Australian, but white (in fact Schram is not Australian; he is Dutch/Italian).

But it will not be enough. I think that if the former colonies really want development they have to accept the fact that it really comes only through hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

If they decide instead to continue going to work at 10am, stealing public money whenever the occasion arises, drinking tonnes of alcohol every year, and enjoying that way; then they must not expect development and a decent society.

Basically everyone, including communities, has what he/she in his/her freedom wants and deserves.

Development, education, peace and order may take a few generations to achieve, but they will never come unless a generation comes that decides to begin the process.

Thank you, to whoever wrote this article.

But life will not be easy in the PNG education scene from now on. There are good students and there are bad students who will want to "take over the school". I have just had this word from a good teacher at Brandi High School.

"Good night East Sepik, for your information, Brandi Secondary School is ruled by students tonight. They smashed all the louvres of Staff-room No.2 including Deputy Principal-academic's office. They broke into the school canteen and ransacked it. They also smashed the 3 male single teachers' house and the 3 teachers took refuge elsewhere. Students at Brandi are now seen by the teachers as a threat.

This is the result of students thinking that when they break the rules, they should not be corrected. The main one being, producing and consuming home brew almost all weekends from Fridays to Sundays".

Former Brandi students are horrified and are writing comments -
"Make Brandi a DAY SCHOOL and let these greedy students be looked after by their parents. Being an ex-student it brings nothing but shame. Teachers must be protected. It is now up to the PEB it take drastic action as to such. Ol slip wei na kam long skul em problem bilong ol. Freeze up boarding facilities to take in more students who are being left out. For now, hold these student's parents responsible for damages caused. Bikpela sori bilong mi go long ol teachers long hevi kamap long ol."

"Academic performance of ESP is very poor compared to other provinces unlike in the past we use to be the best..The onus is on today's students to uplift and maintain the education quality and standard in the province.The teachers are trying their best to give quality education but it is the students who failed their parts due to their attitutes towards their learning."

"Well one way to address this problem is to get young people like Serena Sumanop and Eddie Nagual to go and speak to them. Sometimes our young people need role models they can relate to, to give them hope. I suggest that the cost of this exercise be should met by our Sepik MPs."

One wonders if the news of the students winning their protest at Unitech has played any part in what is going on at Brandi. Probably not. But Brandi is surely in need of a strong headmaster who can stand up to these young men who are obviously very frustrated and have turned to home brew to solve their problems.

As a former teacher at Brandi High School, back in the days when it trained the students who went on to "run PNG" I am very sorry to hear the news, but I am not surprised.

What has happened at Unitech needs to flow through to all high schools. If the present Headmaster cannot control the students he needs to be replaced by someone who can.

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