DHERST and Sports Minister -Hon.Don Pomb Polye’s 2024 Academic Year Press Statement

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Anticipating a year of Fruitful collaboration and academic excellence in 2024

In my capacity as the Minister entrusted with the oversight of Higher Education domain, I extend cordial welcome to all members of the academic community as we commence the academic year 2024. This momentous occasion signifies the inauguration of a new academic time, replete with untapped possibilities and synergistic endeavors. Today, it is my privilege to articulate important initiatives that will guide our path over the course of this academic annum.

As stewards of knowledge dissemination and academic advancement, we find ourselves at he intersection of innovation and tradition. The unfolding year beckons us to navigate uncharted territories, fostering intellectual growth and collective enterprise. Through the following statement, I elucidate upon the pivotal, initiative that will underscore our education expedition.

Elevating the Academic Discourse

Our commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and the enhancement of scholarly discourse remains unwavering and we will enhance through digitalization of Higher Education Sector. The year 2024 is poised to witness concerted efforts to augment the academic landscape through digitalization, strategic interventions and collaborative ventures. The collective pursuit aspires to elevate the intellectual milieu within our academic institutions.

Strategic Collaboration and Partnerships

In adherence to the principles of academic diplomacy, we affirm  our commitment to cultivating strategic collaborations and partnerships that transcend institutional boundaries. The emphasis on international engagement will be manifested through scholarly exchange, joint research endeavors, and collaborative programs, enriching the global academic community.

Our enduring collaboration with the Government of Australia remains steadfast and robust, aligning with established norms. The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year, will be further intensified. Additionally, we hold in high regard our longstanding partnership with the Government of Japan through JICA, actively exploring avenues for expanding this collaboration. The Republic of Indonesia has generously extended its cooperation with the PNG Higher Education Sector by offering 20,000 scholarships, providing numerous Papua New Guineas with the opportunity to enhance their skills and obtain overseas degrees. Our well-established partnerships with the Public of Korea (South Korea) includes interuniversity relationships and opportunities for our young people to pursue postgraduate degrees.

The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology (DHERST) is collaborating with Taiwan to explore possible corporation in the realm of ICT, aiding PNG’s Higher Education Institutions in expediting the digitalization process. Notably, the Government of Hungary, late last year, extended a scholarship offer of 50 slots for Papua New Guineans to study in Hungary’s Universities. Furthermore, we maintain a constructive and longstanding partnership with the Republic of Poland, providing post graduate programs to our students. These collaborations underscore our commitment to advancing the academic landscape and fostering international cooperation.

Enhancing TVET Sector Quality

In collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Australia, we will persist in our endeavors to elevate the quality of learning and teaching within the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector. Our engagement with the National Skills Development Agency will strengthen industry involvement in governance and curriculum development in TVET institutions.

Innovative University of Enga

 We enthusiastically welcome the establishment of the Innovative University of Enga, marking a significant milestone in the higher education domain. This development holds considerable importance and promise for the academic landscape.

TESAS and Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

I am pleased to confirm that the complete distribution of outstanding Tertiary Student Assistance Scheme (TESAS) payments for the academic year 2023, totaling K30.5 million. All universities and Higher Education Institutions are urged to promptly submit to DHERST the electronic list of eligible students for TESAS 2024. This year allocation for TESAS is K83 million. Furthermore, students are encouraged to apply for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which has an allocation of K52 million this year.

Research Budget Enhancements

In a positive development, the 2024 budget for universities and research institutions earmarks a substantial increase, reinforcing our commitment to research activities. Robust research is pivotal for acquiring data and analysis that underpins advancement in economic and social sectors, ultimately enhancing the quality of academic programs.

Governance Manual and Organizational Structure Implementation

On January 22,2024, I officially approved and launched the Governance Manual and Organizational Structure for all Higher Education Institutions in Papua New Guinea. Workshops will be conducted throughout the year to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of these documents and their full implementation.. These tools are designed to enhance governance quality, leadership efficiency, and management effectiveness at Higher Education Institutions.

Policy Frameworks and Educational Paradigms

The crafting and implementation of robust policy frameworks and progressive educational paradigms constitute the bedrock of our agenda. This year, I plan to organize workshop on an Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ethics : navigating the ethical landscape in the age of intelligence machine. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming various aspects of human life, offering unprecedented opportunities and challenges. As AI technologies advance, the ethical , considerations surrounding the their development and deployment become increasingly critical. This academic year, we will explore the intricate relationships between AI and digital ethics, delving into the ethical implications, principles, and framework that shall guide us in responsible use of intelligent machines.

These frameworks are envisioned to recalibrate educational norms, ensuring resonance with contemporary socio-political exigencies and positing our academic institutions as instruments of societal transformation.

Ethical and inclusive Governance

A corner stone of our mandate is the cultivation of ethical and inclusive governance models within the domain of higher education. Upholding the principles of transparency, fairness, and equity, we aim to fortify the foundations of academic governance, fostering an environment conducive to scholarly excellence.

Addressing Social-Economic Realities.

Acknowledging the interplay between education and social-economic realities, our focus extends beyond the confines of academic walls. We plan to address the social-economic imperatives of our nation, aligning educational endeavors with broader developmental goals.

As we embark on this academic journey, the landscape before us is ripe with potential. It is my fervent hope that through collaborative endeavors, intellectual pursuit, and visionary leadership, the academic community will contribute substantively to the intellect and social-economic-political    development of our nation.

I look forward to your year of fruitful  collaboration and advancements in our shared pursuit of academic excellence. Thank you, and once again, I extend my warm welcome to the academic year 2024.

Hon. Don Pomb Polye, MP, CMG, BE, MBA, MIEPNG Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, Technology and Sport: Image Credit: https://www.parliament.gov.pg

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