Underfunding of Bougainville education a huge problem - Momis
Bougainville to look to donors for help to fund its poorly functioning education sector.
There are concerns in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville at the impact of a continually under-resourced education sector.
Most recently one parent said she had been directed by the Provincial Education Board to enrol her child at secondary school, but the school concerned told her there was no space available.
The president of Bougainville, John Momis, told Don Wiseman that this is just a sign of a much larger problem affecting Bougainville's education system.
JOHN MOMIS: It's a huge problem - huge problem. We now have a big percentage of our youth who can effectively be called a lost generation and they are very, very frustrated, traumatised, and you know unless something is done soon, well; number one, it's a total injustice to them; and second, unless something serious is done to address this problem we are sitting on a time bomb.
DON WISEMAN: Yes I would imagine that many of those children, their parents wouldn't have gone to school either because of the civil war.
JM: That's right.
DW: So two successive generations without any opportunity at schooling?
JM: Yes. It's really ironical.
DW: And is this solely down to things like the allocated funding not being paid out?
JM: That's part of it, but even with the allocated funding, it just wouldn't be enough to address the backlog of young people -- kids -- who have had no education. So probably the most responsible way to deal with this problem would be to, if we had the funds, have more vocational schools to improve our current system of primary and then secondary education, but apart from vocational schools we might have to embark on a programme of popular education, not just vocation, but even just having a mass education system of raising awareness, trying to encourage values, giving people a sense of hope, and then engaging them in simple socio-economic activities to get them involved so that they don't become frustrated and become totally anti-social.
DW: You're going to need money, and a lot of it from other places aren't you? I know you've been trying to develop the economy but progress there, it would be fair wouldn't it, has been very limited. What about donor support? Are you able to go directly to overseas countries and ask for help for things like this?
JM: Unfortunately no. We cannot go directly to donors, unfortunately donors are also beholden to the national government and somehow they come through to us with the approval, so they think, from the national government, which I think is wrong. Donors, they're not involved in any subversive activity and the donors are, probably, our only other viable alternative way of obtaining some funds to do the sorts of things that I just mentioned. Running a kind of programme of education people, and calculating values and giving them simple, practical skills and so on.
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