PNG PM defends moves to build new university

8:21 am on 13 May 2015

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister has justified his vision for a new university project.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill greets citizens in Southern Highlands.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill greets citizens in Southern Highlands. Photo: Supplied

Peter O'Neill has come under fire over the plans, announced in 2013, for establishing the new Western Pacific University, to be built in the prime minister's own electorate in Southern Highlands Province.

Critics say the existing universities are under-resourced and the Government needs to consolidate before building its $4.4 million US dollar applied technology-based university in Ialibu.

But Mr O'Neill says it is about providing higher education to as many people as possible.

The Acting Secretary of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor David Kavanamur, has said there's a chronic shortage of space in the six universities.

The Prime Minister says the large population in the Southern Highlands justifies a new institution, tipped to cater for 6,000 students.

He says with the country's population growth at 2.7 per cent each year - one of the highest in the world - the Government is morally bound to provide educational services.

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