Address by the Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Mr. Loi M. Bakani, CMG at the 50th Graduation Ceremony of ITI on Friday, 7th July 2017
Thank you for the warm words of introduction.
The Chairman and Members of the Advisory Board, staff and management of the International Training Institute (ITI), parents and guardians, students, and the most important people at this ceremony, our graduands.
I am honoured to be invited as the Special Guest of Honour to this year’s ITI graduation ceremony. It is also the 50thgraduation ceremony and therefore marks an important milestone in the history of ITI’s training of students in the fields of business, accountancy, information technology, human resources and management.
The Vision of ITI is to become a high quality institution and to be a leader in distance and international education in the fields of business and information technology. The Focus is on providing quality education at an affordable price. Both the Vision and Focus are commendable goals. I therefore thank the Board, management and staff of ITI for your on-going efforts in educating our students. The over two hundred (200) graduands seated here before us today are testimony to that Vision and Focus. Today marks the 50th anniversary of meeting that Vision and Focus for both ITI and our graduands. Congratulations to you all.
I note that ITI was first established in Boroko, Port Moresby in March 1999 with an initial intake of 30 students. It was the first institute to provide one computer for one student in the class and also to provide night classes for those who were working during the day.
ITI’s popularity and choice as an institute of learning is seen in the fact that it has over the years expanded far and wide across the country. ITI now has campuses in Lae (Morobe), Kokopau (Autonomous Region of Bougainville), Warongoi (East New Britain), Kimbe (West New Britain), Mt. Hagen (Western Highlands), Goroka (Eastern Highlands), Kiunga (Western), Kavieng (New Ireland), Manus, and Alotau (Milne Bay). ITI is ideally placed to train the many students who pass through their campuses.
With a current enrolment intake of over 4,000 students attending its various certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses in the fields of information technology and business such as accounting, sales, management and human resource, ITI can lay claim to being one of the largest private institute in the country.
Gaining approval from the National Training Council and from the Office of Higher Education as a Private Higher Learning Institution is an achievement for ITI meaning it has obtained recognition from the Government as a leading private higher education institute. ITI’s affiliation with both local and international educational institutions and universities to maintain quality standards is encouraging.
I commend ITI for providing both resident and distance learning opportunities which has increased the educational choices for many of our students, especially after completing high school (grade 10) or national high school (grade 12). The certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses are targeted to the needs of both the students and their potential employers.
Let me talk briefly on education and the economy.
Every society wants and expects the best from their citizens – to be well educated and to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of their nation. PNG is no different. It is therefore no surprise that the Government of PNG has adopted one such strategy with a Free Tuition Fee Education policy. This policy costs a lot in public money but the benefits are far-reaching, setting the foundation for our children with a formal education. The challenge however is the limited spaces in our tertiary and higher learning institutions. Private learning institutes like ITI therefore complement the Government-owned institutions in meeting that demand for high quality education.
The transformation of the PNG economy since the US$19 billion PNG LNG project commenced around 2010 has been nothing short of amazing. During the time of the construction of the LNG project, PNG had one of the highest growth rates in the world. The spin-off activities and opportunities for business have growth, and so has the expectations of our people. This growth continues today, but at a slower pace. Our economy is heavily dependent on the resource extractive sector, mainly mining, petroleum and gas. We need to move away from these extractive industries and develop the renewal sectors such as agriculture and tourism. These are where the bulk of our population live and where we can achieve sustainable development over time. We need a skilled and educated workforce to realise this ambition.
Most of you will know that PNG is consumer-based economy with much of our spending flowing out of the country through increased imports for goods and services. There is therefore a serious need to develop a savings culture where our people can save their earnings, invest for the future and provide financial security for their family and children. I hope you all have a savings account with a bank or financial institution.
Bank of Papua New Guinea
This brings me to what we do at the Bank of Papua New Guinea.
The role of the Bank of PNG is evolving. Apart from the traditional areas of monetary policy and financial system supervision, we have taken on board new areas of responsibilities.
We have done a lot in the financial sector. The second financial inclusion strategy was rolled out to reach the unbanked population as well as to ensure our people participate more effectively in the financial system. We have modernised our payment system to encourage more electronic payments, thereby reducing fraudulent cheques and improving the ease of making financial transactions. New regulatory standards were introduced for life insurance companies and superannuation funds. We also introduced new Anti-money laundering and Counter Terrorism financing laws to combat financing of crime and illicit activities through the financial system. Our banknotes have been resized to differentiate between the denominations, with the larger denomination slightly bigger than the smaller denominations. These developments are to ensure we have in place a sound and prudently managed financial system. Not only are they part of our legislated roles set out in the Central Banking Act 2000, which governs our activities, but are also for good governance and ease of doing business, allowing business activities to develop and prosper.
The Bank of PNG is an equal opportunity employer and we consider ourselves an employer of choice. We employed a number of staff that have graduated from ITI. At present, we have eight staff that have gone through ITI training courses, attaining certificates in business, business communications and business studies, and diplomas in accounting, management, business management and business and computing.
The Bank recruits at the university level for graduate staff, though staff have joined at the non-graduate levels and work their way up, attaining undergraduate qualification along the way. We look forward to recruiting good graduands from ITI. It is also pleasing to note that ITI has plans to introduce degree programmes in the future.
To the graduands, the desire for learning and achieving one’s goals in life are universal. Every parent wants the best from their child and every student strives to get the best grades in their class. Your achievement today is done with some sacrifice, be it in monetary terms, time, resources and others. A sacrifice on the part of your parent, your guardian, your siblings or relatives, your employer, your sponsor or in some case, your own sacrifice.
ITI has done its part in providing you with an education. Your parents and guardians, employers and sponsors have also done their part. The success of your education achievement however will be judged not so much by the grades you scored but rather by how you utilise it at work and in life. That is the real test. The certificate and diploma you receive today reflects an academic achievement. How you use that, how you manage yourself, how you develop yourself and others, is based on your character, your personality – basically, on who you are.
Some of you already have a job, some will be looking for jobs, while others will create their own jobs. Whatever it is, remember to never stop learning and developing yourself. Your ability to learn, reason and develop is shown in the certificate and diploma you achieved today. When you stop learning, you hinder your own prospects, because others are continuously learning, upgrading and developing new skills. It is a very competitive world out there.
For those returning to their jobs, I trust your achievement here at ITI will enhance your work and make you more productive. For those looking for work, your certificate and diploma will increase your prospects with potential employers. I wish you all the best in your chosen careers.
Congratulations and thank you for your attention.