The PNG University of Technology (Unitech) and the University of PNG School of Medicine and Health Sciences (UPNG SMHS) are the first two universities in the country to co-create policies to make education more inclusive for women and girls.
In February, the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership’s Incentive Fund worked with Unitech and the UPNG SMHS to develop new Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) policies which will embed equity, access and inclusion in all structures, policies and practices to support the welfare of staff and students.
The policies were developed during workshops facilitated by Incentive Fund and attended by 43 people across both institutions, including lecturers, staff and student representatives.
“The workshop helped me understand the importance of GEDSI in my work in the infrastructure department. Disability inclusion has never been part of our planning and implementation. GEDSI inclusion is an area we have not considered throughout our operations although the university's strategic plan talks about inclusion,” said Daryl Likius from Unitech's Projects Office.
Staff and students participating in the UPNG workshop.
Incentive Fund will continue to hold GEDSI training workshops with other partner organisations to support them develop and formalise relevant policies that are inclusive and which will ensure women and girls, and people with disability, are able to access education and development opportunities equally.
Both Unitech and UPNG SMHS have received Incentive Fund grants to construct accommodation for female students, increasing access to tertiary education for women across PNG. Unitech has received PGK15 million to build a 100-bed dormitory for female students and UPNG SMHS has been granted PGK8.7 million grant to construct 40 bed dormitory. Both projects are due to be completed in 2023.
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