Proposal for a Scholarship Scheme ‘The PNG Kiap Scholarship’
to promote mutual understanding between Australia and Papua New Guinea
The lack of awareness of PNG in Australia, given our two countries reside either side of the Torres Strait, is palpable. This lack of understanding is often referred to by those Australians who have served in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Many former field staff (Kiaps) maintain an active engagement with PNG and her people. They now feel that their experience and knowledge of our shared history will simply be allowed to disappear along with those few former Kiaps who, as yet, remain.
While Australian educational curriculums favouring European histories are currently promoted, it seems strange that there is no recognition of the benefits associated in developing a mutual understanding and knowledge between PNG and Australia. Promoting such a mutual understanding could only be beneficial for both nations in this ever more uncertain world. It has been noted that there are now many educational opportunities offered to PNG students and government officers in other countries to our north.
A suggestion has been made that some limited scholarships should be offered to assist PNG students train in Australia. While many PNG students do train in Australia, when they return to their own country the effect is marginal and unable to be assessed. Similarly, it is thought that Australian students would benefit from gaining an understanding and education about our nearest neighbour given the rich cultural differences.
In order to perpetuate the memory and dedication of TPNG Administration Field Staff, it is proposed to call the scholarship ‘The PNG Kiap Scholarship’.
How would the Scholarship operate?
It is proposed that a sustainable fund be created for the operation of such a scholarship. Requests to accumulate the necessary funding to operate such scholarships would be circulated to former field staff (Kiaps) and anyone interested in the initiative, including possible sponsors from business entities in both nations. All available options will be considered.
The fund would be managed by the PNGAA and audited as part of the Association’s annual budget. Scholarship recipients would be decided by a combined committee of PNGAA representatives and former field staff. The inclusion of a suitable representative from the PNG education system could also be considered. Those wishing to avail themselves of a scholarship would be required to apply in writing to the review committee.
PNGAA Approval in Principle
The PNGAA Committee has given approval in principle, so a more detailed brief will be prepared for the Association to consider. Subject to the Association’s approval, the intention would then be to advertise the initiative and request donations prior to the Bi-annual Field Officers gathering at Kawana Waters this year (12th November 2017).
Paul Oates E: email@example.com
29th January 2017