PORT MORESBY — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) today signed loan and grant agreements amounting to more than $66 million to help improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program.
The agreements, part of the Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project approved on 29 November, were signed by PNG Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill. PNG Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Acting Secretary Francis Hualupmomi and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann witnessed the signing.
The project, financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG, will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands.
“We look forward to working with the governments of PNG and Australia through this project to help reduce youth unemployment,” said Mr. Hill. “The project will support TVET colleges by providing programs that are relevant and responsive to labor market needs in priority sectors of construction and agriculture.”
Planned reforms include strengthening the capacity and management of 10 colleges, providing high-quality teacher training, developing a curriculum for demand-driven TVET programs, upgrading teaching facilities at colleges to increase female students access to TVET, and strengthening governance of the TVET program. The project will forge closer partnerships with industry and business groups.
“This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers—both men and women—in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high,” said Mr. Ling-Stuckey. “This innovative project will expedite the government’s reform in TVET and will create centers of excellence, as models for subsequent reforms to other TVET colleges in the country.”
“We are thankful to ADB and the Government of Australia in supporting us in building our abundant human capital, especially in developing the critical skills needed to grow our economy. I am pleased to note that they understand the skills required in the construction sector, which is a focus for skills development in this project, as well in developing skills in the agriculture sector,” said PNG Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye.
“Australia is committed to supporting the Government of PNG to achieve its reform goals in the TVET sector and increase the number and quality of skilled, job-ready workers in the country,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “TVET is a key element of the Comprehensive Strategic Economic Partnership between Australia and PNG and will contribute to PNG’s economic recovery from COVID-19.”
The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, private, and church-affiliated institutions. These include technical and business colleges offering post-secondary courses and vocational training.
The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.