I believe this is one of the most important posts I’ve made to this website. I hope you’ll read it and feel able to take some action on it.
After Dr Geoff Gray indicated his intention of focusing his research on ASOPA, probably later this year, and since Loch Blatchford’s extensive collection of documents and other materials relating to PNG education came to public notice in the past week, there’s been a real buzz around ASOPA PEOPLE.
There can be no doubt that the prospects have increased enormously of securing a definitive history of ASOPA – in its district administration, education and other formulations - at some point in the next few years.
And this is where Loch and I reckon you can help. If you have documents related to PNG education in the pre-Independence period – whether they be ASOPA related or more general in nature – perhaps you could consider offering them to The Blatchford Collection as a medium-term repository. As Loch says: “At least we will find out what is out there and where it is. As material comes to light, it could be added to my collection until we identify a one stop shop of research material on PNG education.”
Just in the last 24 hours Rodger Philpott in Perth has advised he has a collection of PNG education information (about 1.5 cubic meters in volume and very deteriorated) including documents and audio tapes on the development of legislation for the 1969-1970 PNG education reforms.
Rodger also holds several thousand original data response forms to a 1968 nationwide survey of teachers and education administrators about preparedness for managing the education system after Independence. In addition, he has information on the early days and work of the Planning Section within the Department of Education, the Teaching Service Commission, the Office of Higher Education, the National Education Board and the Teachers Association.
Like Loch, Rodger knows that this material is at risk as the years go by if it is not collected and stored appropriately in a central repository. “I have not been able to find a suitable long term home,” he says, “as the items are not an organised collection and require very substantial work. I am sure there are many people with similar work life collections that will invariably be lost for want of a suitable home.”
Well, the starting point is to let Loch Blatchford know what documents are in your possession that may be lost to history if not identified. In the first instance, simply let Loch know what you have. We’ll keep track of this important project, and refer to it frequently, in the months ahead.
So, time to start rummaging through your old papers. Prepare a summary of what you have. And make sure you email Loch here.