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Old 10-02-2003, 11:59 PM
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21st Graduation Ceremony Divine Word University

ADDRESS AT THE 21ST GRADUATION CEREMONY DIVINE WORD UNIVERSITY BY THE RT HON SIR MICHAEL SOMARE GCMG CH

BY THE PRIME MINISTER

MADANG, SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2003

President of Divine Word University, Fr Jan Czuba
Members of the Divine Word Council
Ministers, Lady Carol Kidu, Sir Peter Barter, Mssrs Bart Philemon, Alphonse Willie, Alois King and Melchior Pep.
Governors James Yali and Arthur Somare
Archbishop of Madang, William Kurtz
Head of the European Union, Anthony Crasner
Secretaries for Health and Social Welfare, Mssrs Nicholas Mann and Joseph Sukwianomb
Heads of Departments, Students, parents and friends.

I find myself once again being drawn to this institution to share in its success stories.

Late last year, you graduands know that I was invited and opened the new state-of-the-arts auditorium. Today, I am standing in it to witness your 21st Graduation and to celebrate other milestones achieved by this university.

Firstly, to the graduands, I want to say that like your parents, families and friends who are here today to witness your happy moment, I too am happy to see another 343 young people complete this level of education and enter the workforce.

Thanks to institutions like Divine Word University, it is an achievement for you, as much as it is an achievement for this country.

I am sure you have been reminded time and time again how fortunate you are to have come this far. This is because it is true.

From this day forward, you will be the envy of many of your peers who have not had the opportunities that you’ve had to get you this far.

My advise to you is that you make the most of these opportunities to propel yourselves even further. This does not mean walking all over others to get what you want.

On the contrary, it means working hard ethically and professionally and in line with the Christian principles instilled in you by this university and your parents as your first teachers.

Speaking of teachers, it gives me great pleasure today to launch the amalgamation of the St Benedict Teachers’ College with the Divine Word University.

The discussion on the amalgamation began 12 years when St Benedict Teachers’ College in Wewak approached DWU. By comparison, my involvement is quite recent but I am happy nonetheless to help in the process that has led to this reality.

To the people of Wewak, I want to say thank you for their cooperation over the land on which the St Benedict’s Kaindi Teachers’ College now stands. They have my word that work is currently being undertaken to ensure that they also benefit from having an education campus on their land.

A package is currently being discussed to see that children from the area benefit from this initiative and that other infrastructure development takes place in the Kaindi area of Wewak.

To all educators, I want to say that this government wants to improve the quality of education and that can only be achieved through improving the capacity of teachers beginning with Primary level education. Because as we move into the next stage of our development as a country, it is important to keep up with the training of our teachers to meet these new challenges.

I am pleased to see that in this regard, DWU has taken up the torch and will run with it. Through this process of amalgamation I understand that DWU will offer a Diploma in Education leading to a Bachelors then the Masters degree.

While still on the issue of capacity building in our teachers I give my assurance to DWU and the Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby that this government will during our term in office, seriously look at your current wage conditions to bring it in line with government run universities.

While real changes are taking place at DWU, I know that some of you maybe thinking that there is a danger in expanding too quickly, I say one must strike while the iron is hot. This is because one of the four objectives of this government is empowerment. And education is the way in which we can empower our people.

Therefore to assist the endeavours of this university I have thrown my support behind Sir Peter Barter as Regional Member for Madang to transfer the public service training centre on Coronation Drive to the DWU.

For many years the hostel has been unused and is in great need of repair. And though he is not here today, I extend my thanks also to the Minister for Public Service, Dr Puka Temu who has agreed to the transfer of the Title.

The hostel will be used to offer training to public servants, local level government councillors and anyone who is interested in improving his or her education through flexible learning.

Finally I congratulate all graduands on your achievements today and wish you every success not only in your professional lives but in the personal goals that you set for yourselves to achieve.

To Divine Word University I would like to give my assurance that this government will support you in the interest of the educational development of the people of this country. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

RT HON SIR MICHAEL SOMARE GCMG CH
BY THE PRIME MINISTER
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