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The New Ireland Provincial Government’s dream about establishing the “New Ireland University” could become a reality as early as next year.
Secretary for the Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology Fr Jan Czuba conveyed this message to the New Ireland Government on Wednesday during his visit to the Province.
Meeting with Governor Sir Julius Chan, members of the Provincial Executive Council and Executives of the Provincial Administration Fr Jan said that New Ireland already has existing institutions that can be amalgamated, classified into faculties of learning and fall into the umbrella of the New Ireland University.
The institutions include the Fisheries college and the Lemakot School of Nursing
“Setting up the New Ireland University should not be an issue, you can start small, starting with the enrollment of 300 to 400 students next year,” said Fr Jan.
The provincial government has decided to make the New Ireland University a privately run institution.
The suggestion was favourably received by Fr Jan based on his experience running of the Divine Word University where he was the former President.
But he said the provincial government will have to ensure the University must be managed by an Independent board of trustees.
The board will also be pivotal in sourcing funding for the University.
He said quality education was a concern for the country at the moment and encouraged the provincial government to push for qualified academics even if it meant looking outside.
“You have to think New. The Universities of today are no longer the Universities you and I went to or know of. They are completely different. They are embracing the Digital age. Even books and libraries are a thing of the past. You can just build an open room and students can just hook up to a data base system or the Internet and do all their research and gather information from there,” said Fr Jan Czuba who was pivotal in transforming Divine Word University into the Pacific’s first paperless University.
The governor said New Ireland Government is particularly interested in developing a university that will capture New Ireland’s unique marine environment, it’s culture and natural resources that includes mining.
“The fact that you are here gives us confidence that we have already taken a big leap forward. It is my people’s wish that they have their own University.
“With so many of our students having access to high schools and Secondary schools in the province this has created the need for New Ireland to have its very own University.
“We have to revamp and boost Fisheries college and turn it into a premier Institution. With the highest gold prices in years and the many unfulfilled projects under the 25 year old MOA with National Government, it is my hope that Newcrest and Simberi become partners in our quest for excellence.
“There is no better time than now to kick it off,” said Sir Julius.