First impression of the article is in Steven's Window, The National newspaper of PNG. 07 Friday 2010, p.5.
Here is what I think universities are and what universities ought to be doing. Universities are institutions where the production of knowledge and dissemination of that knowledge is pursued to achieve understanding and wisdom.
A nation is dependent on a university to supply the manpower it needs to propel forward. Each university is established through an Act of Parliament to carry out its duties and responsibilities. A university endeavors to fulfill the national expectations by being mindful of the objectives it has set for itself to deliver as a corporate entity through high academic achievement and excellence to promote the well-being and progress of the nation. Government universities are institutions operating on public funds to carry out their duties and responsibilities.
In recent times a three men Committee investigating the performance of universities in Papua New Guinea released a report of their findings. The report was damaging to all public universities highlighting key areas where public universities seem to fail. The report suggests that the quality of graduates has dropped to a point where our graduates are viewed as half-baked products of a poor system. Many of us with more than 10 years of teaching feel accused of under performance and under achievement in terms of the graduates we produced.
An independent review of Papua New Guinea’s six universities, as reported in the media made 13 recommendations for the Australian and PNG government to take into account. The reviewers were particularly critical of the public universities, framing them within a blanket generalization as failing to meet the demands of the industry more than the social well-being and progress of the nation. Prudence tells me there is more to this report.
Several questions beg answers from the conscience of the graduates of public universities: Does this mean that national progress happened without the input of universities through their graduates? Does this mean the bureaucracy machinery is still operated by poor quality graduates and half-baked certificate and diploma holders? Does this mean the civil society organizations and service providers have no graduates from our public universities working with them to improve the quality of life and understanding of their rights as free and proud people? Does this mean that the academics with more than 20 years of service in some of the public universities have failed in their duties to produce top quality graduates who now head departments, executive positions in the public and private sector, and who are now also national leaders? Does this mean that the degrees our graduates have are not recognized by universities around the world? How did some of us, most of the national academics teaching at the universities, get our Masters and PhD degrees in prestigious international universities in the world?