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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Enga's Development challenges still remain, education priority questioned

By WANPIS AKO

Worsening socio-economic indicators in Enga still have precedence over education under Governor Peter Ipatas' reign
IPATAS inherited the free-education policy from one of Enga's finest politicians Late Malipu Balakau.
His drive and advocacy with financial backing from the provincial government over the last two decades have seen improvement in the province's literacy level.
This policy is solely funded by the government's 2.5 per cent equity share in the Barrick Gold Mine which nets about K10 million a year.
It used to be managed by Mineral Resource Enga under the stewardship of Enga Children's Fund.
In the recent past I was reliably informed that it had been further transferred to a charity organisation called Peter IPATAS Foundation Incorporation.
It is a matter which the Ombudsman Commission and other law enforcement agencies can look into.
Though IPATAS commands respect from his fellow MPs and the ordinary Papua New Guineans for being education maniac, the challenges in other sectors remain unaddressed.
It is easy for those accessible by roads to benefit from this policy but for most people in the remotest areas of the province find it as a challenge for many reasons.
The challenge for IPATAS now is to make sure education and employment run parallel so that the provincial workforce absorbs the increase in graduates.
His greenhouse or the provincial head office is mostly occupied by his political cronies and that the implementation of major policies becomes a hurdle for development.
Over K2 billion in PSIP and Provincial grants have disappeared under the pretext of populist education policy but in contrast, gullible people acclaim IPATAS with many name tags like 'action...'
The time will only prove them wrong or they will be set free from the boundage of deception.
The absence of major infrastructure developments to show for such allocation of huge funds holds so much to be accountable.
All the roads in most of the districts are in dire straits but thanks to Kandep MP and Opposition Leader Don Polye, and Wapenamanda MP and Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato that they have at least made their people to experience the comfort of sealed roads among others.
The lack of tangible project implementation compels many to question the staff strength and quality of the province.
Most Engans are working outside of their home province. The governor has to get down to the bottom to address this brain drain.
While Ipatas dedicates resources only in the realm of education, other sectors have fallen apart in the pretext of this scam.
His plan to shift his focus on education to health has not been materialised yet as he is being stuck in a prolonged court battle with his own clansmen over the land issue.
His knighthood is questionable at the time when our health, law and order and other development indicators have been worsened.
The remains of cements and corruded posts are there to remind us that there was once a beautiful village along the corridor of the Highlands Highway within Enga.
For instance, Waila, Rakamanda, Akom, Lakolam, Warumanda and the list is infinite. Most of these villages were devoured by tribal fights one way or the other related to politics.
A rife in alcohol consumption among youths, arms race among tribes, and a bunch of semi-educated professionals occupying bureaucracy in Enga's headquarter among many other socio-economic issues, are detrimental to the promising future of the province if a usual blind-eye is given.
Leaders are not bound to monotonous policy framework like, for instance, education.
A balance has to be struck among all other sectors to achieve provincial greatness. Ipatas does not have to be immune to criticisms as it is healthy for development.
Differing views form the basis for making informed-decisions in the best interests of the people.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 6:24 AM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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