The annual Senior Education Officers’ Conference for 2021 was officially opened by Justice Dr. Vergil Narokobi on behalf of the Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika at the town oval this morning (Monday, Aug 30).
Dr Narokobi conveyed the Chief Justice’s apology to the crowd who gathered there for not being able to make it due to a prior commitment overseas.
The beginning of the speech talked about the challenges the Chief Justice faced during his early schooling days at the Kodoro Primary School in South Fly District which prompted him to leave his home and family for better education elsewhere.
In his own personal reflection of his life’s journey to where he is now the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea, he was fully aware of the significance and importance that education played to enable him to be in this constitutional position. He especially wanted to share his experiences to motivate and encourage those responsible for managing the national education system to keep pushing harder because the student that they help to shape today may tomorrow be the country’s next Prime Minister or Chief Justice or Governor General.
The importance of equal access to schools by both girls and boys in order to produce stronger families should lead to stronger villages and communities and a stronger country, according to the Chief Justice.
Also in the Chief Justice speech, education as a lifelong process was highlighted. The Chief Justice appealed to education officials to focus on being creative with purpose to provide the learning environment that produces the very best from the students. He said in order to do this they must find ways to break down barriers that hinder the provision of equal opportunities for all students in Papua New Guinea.
“Whether it is the socio-economic divide or person with disability reality which poses great challenge for many students and persons who would like to be students, I urge you to find lasting solutions that ensure that everyone in Papua New Guinea has access to quality education.”
The Chief Justice speech also mentioned that policy development and implementation is only good as the people who are working to pursue these aims and objectives. He said that he has shared some of his thoughts based on his observations of the importance of education and how access and quality education for all makes a difference in national growth and development and it is incumbent on policy makers to raise the standard of education in PNG.
Also in attendance and who also addressed the gathering were the Minister for Education, Hon,. Jimmy Uguro, MP, Governor, Hon. Taboi Awi Oto, Provincial Administrator, Mr. Robert Alphonse Kaiyun, and Secretary for Education, Dr. Uke Kombra.
More than 70 participants comprising provincial education advisors, representatives from key government departments and agencies, Office of Libraries and Archives, Teaching Service Commission, and Department of Education officials, Church education agency representatives are gathering in Kiunga this week at the New Century Hotel to discuss the implementation of the National Education Plan 2020-2029.
For the first time development partners and a number of stakeholders will not be attending the conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic but will be watching it through zoom.
The theme for the conference is ‘Promoting Access to Quality Education and Training for All”.
The conference will be chaired by the Secretary for Education Dr Uke Kombra and will focus on the theme derived from Major Focus Area Number 2 of the Plan which is ACCESS. The major outcome of this Focus Area is to ensure that all Papua New Guineans have access to 13 years of education and
training in a safe and hygienic environment that is conducive to learning.
“This conference is an excellent opportunity to bring together people who have a heart for education. The conference will enlighten us about how the Ministry and its partners and stakeholders will implement the NEP 2020-2029. It will also present key issues and challenges faced in service delivery and how these can be addressed in the next 10 years through the National Education Plan 2020-2029.”
“I am particularly happy to announce that this conference is successfully delivered to our officers, partners and stakeholders through Zoom video conferencing daily,” Secretary Dr. Kombra announced.
Other stakeholders namely, churches and line government departments will also make presentations on how they are contributing to the development of education in PNG, in especially the need for quality education.