Increased funding for more research and increasing the quota for university intakes are some of the challenges faced by higher learning institutions.
Furthermore, the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology raised concerns about the low intake of mathematics and science stream students, which ultimately affects performance at university level.
These issues were brought to the attention of the newly-appointed Minister Malakai Tabar, who replaces Delilah Gore.
The Kumul conference room at Holiday Inn was filled to capacity by the heads of the 6 universities in the country, plus heads from the 34 research institutions.
Others included staff from the Office of Higher Education and the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science & Technology.
Outgoing Minister & Sohe MP, Delilah Gore, highlighted seven achievements during her brief stay in office. One that stands out is the ending of the two-year student crisis at the University of Technology.
She was also instrumental in the new legislation that enabled the creation of the Department of Research Science & Technology. It replaces the Office of Higher Education.
Minister Gore told her predecessor to address some immediate tasks, such as establishing the Eastern Papua Agriculture College in Popondetta and continuing to make ICT accessible to all higher learning institutions.
New Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Malakai Tabar, said his first task is to ensure functions of both higher and lower education do not overlap.
He also urged universities to start operating like businesses and not always rely on the government.
The occasion also saw the formal hand-over of the Science & Technology Initiative from OHE to the government’s new entity, PNG’science & Technology Council Secretariat.
Minister Tabar pledged to continue to bring his department forward, while Minister Gore takes up her new portfolio as the Minister for Community Development.
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