Diploma in Education Management Training Program
Reciprocal Opening Address by the Government of Australia
Ms Kate Fuller, First Secretary, Education
Australian High Commission, Papua New Guinea
Venue: PNG Education Institute, Wards Strip, Waigani, Port Moresby
As Presented March 30, 2016
Mr Titus Hatagen, Acting Deputy Secretary, Schools and Education Standards, National Department of Education
Dr Catherine Nongkas, Assistant Director, Diploma in Education
Dr Tivinarlik, CFC, OL, Program Director
Ms Elizabeth Kosi, course participants’ spokesperson
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for the opportunity to attend today’s completion ceremony.
I trust the knowledge gained from your studies will benefit you in the important role you play as managers in the National Department of Education.
Often people are promoted to management positions and left to their own devices on how to do the job.
One day we were working as a part of a team, collaborating with colleagues and getting advice from our team leader. Then, suddenly the team leader or manager got promoted, and you were tapped on the shoulder to be her replacement.
One day you were a team player, the next day you were a team leader. Overnight you had moved from managing your own workload to managing the workloads of 10 or more other people.
Does that story sound familiar? I am sure it still happens in government departments around the world. It certainly happens in Canberra, the public service capital of Australia.
The problems is, no one taught us the difference between being a team player and being a team leader, between accepting management decisions and making management decisions.
That is why courses like the Diploma in Education Management Training Program are so important.
This course has offered you the opportunity to learn a number of key management skills. These have ranged from effective ICT, written and verbal communications through to effective research skills, ethical leadership and how to manage and lead people.
This training program has been one of the ways Australia has responded to the National Department of Education’s aim to improve education management and raise the quality of teaching and learning in PNG.
Increasing management skills and knowledge in delivering basic education is critical to Papua New Guinea’s development.
Producing students who are literate and motivated to stay in school and learn, requires good management and quality teaching.
Ensuring learners advance to secondary, further and higher education and gain the skills to become economically productive individuals requires excellent leadership and effective teaching.
That is where you come in.
You are the managers, the leaders, who will guide the National Department for Education, the provincial departments, the provincial education service providers, the church education agencies and the district education officers across the country.
Hopefully, the skills gained from your studies will help you in providing this guidance.
By providing better guidance and leadership you will be enhancing the quality of education across PNG.
Enhancing the quality of education in Papua New Guinea will lead to people getting better jobs and higher earnings.
Enhancing the quality of education will lead to better educated women who have children who are healthier and more likely to complete their education.
And, on that note, it is pleasing to see that the National Department of Education ensured an equal number of women participated in this course.
Educational opportunities like this training program are critical to ensuring women can contribute to, and benefit from PNG’s economic development.
We know that having women in management improves decision-making and helps ensure more inclusive policy making.
Internationally, investing in the education of women and girls has been shown to deliver immense economic and social benefits.
It is the single most important activity any country can support.
It is also pleasing to see that the Department has encouraged provincial participation in the training program, with a quarter of the participants coming from the provinces.
This training program is just one area in which our two governments are working together to improve skills, leadership and governance within the public service.
Last November, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Julie Bishop, PNG Public Service Minister, Sir Puka Temu, and PNG Minister for Higher Education, Science and Research, Malakai Tabar, launched the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.
The aim of the Precinct is to support and strengthen PNG’s vision of a more professional and skilled public service with an embedded culture of capable leadership, ethics and values.
The Diploma in Education Management Training Program complements the Precinct’s aim perfectly.
Furthermore, in 2016, the Australian Government and National Department of Education will work with teacher training institutions in PNG to develop high quality teacher training programs that will improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.
Australia understands that a more effective education system, with access to quality classroom teaching, will be critical for PNG’s future prosperity.
In closing, I wish to thank Dr Kombra and Mr Titus Hatagen for their support from the Department for this initiative, as well as the support from the Teacher Education and Standards division.
I also wish to express the Australian High Commission’s gratitude to the staff from Divine Word University for their role in designing and delivering the course, including to Dr Catherine Nongkas for her crucial contribution as the Assistant Program Director and to the Provincial Services Wing.
And finally, I thank and congratulate all of you who participated in the program. I wish you well in your future careers.
You are the people whom others will look to for leadership and guidance in improving basic education PNG.
It is a big responsibility. I am confident you will manage it well.