Letter from Chairman of the WPU Council
Thank you for taking time to visit our website.
Let me say from the outset I consider it a great honour to have been appointed Chair of the Western Pacific University (WPU). You may wonder why the Government has made a decision to open another university which resulted in the birth of the Western Pacific University being planned at Ialibu in the Southern Highlands Province. The Government recognizes that it will need more professionals in all sectors, not least doctors, engineers, teachers and critical thinkers with an optimistic vision for the future of PNG.
The vision of the WPU is “to inspire to advance knowledge through research, provide technical education, be the leader in technology, innovation thus servicing society by graduating conscientious and productive citizens”. The paradigm to innovate and create industries that will create jobs, business opportunities, drive the economy and improve the quality of life for our citizens.
We have another reason for establishing the Western Pacific University. In 2015, approximately 24,000, grade 12 students graduated from National High Schools and Secondary Schools in Papua New Guinea. Approximately just over 7,000 of them were able to continue their education in the permitted Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in PNG. The remaining did not continue due to not enough space available at IHEs. We invested in these young people, we raised hopes for a better future and then after 12 years of study there is no hope or no bright future.
On the other hand, there is an acute shortage of technically skilled human resources in the country, to adequately meet the growing demand available. With the rapid growth and expansion of the economy through the industrial and mining sectors. The opportunity to create and provide employment for university graduates who can continue through IHEs in the country is available and in demand.
The National Government in its PNGDSP 2010-2030 has developed strategies and programs to increase the number of technically skilled workers to 295,000 by the year 2030. To achieve this target, IHEs must produce 15,000 qualified graduates by the year to 2030, increasing from the current target of 6,000. This situation requires the expansion of existing IHEs and establishment of new IHEs to make available the necessary spaces. The National Development Strategic Framework defines emphasis on expanding the existing IHEs as well as the creation of new IHEs by providers of Higher Education.
Western Pacific University was established by an Act of Parliament in 2014 and is one of the major impact projects being initiated by the Government to address access issues currently faced by the Higher and Technical Education Sector due to the increasing influx of Grade Twelve (12) students every year. Thus, it is imperative to address the urgent needs of human resource capacity building in PNG.
Saying the above, I think that we need to look at geography, skills and local companies to accelerate development in PNG. Hence, the Highlands Region having a population of more than 4 million with one university in Goroka justifies having a new University.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website.
Sir Peter Barter, Phd. (Hon) GCL, Kt, OBE
Chairperson of the Western Pacific University Council