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Historic training institute looks to next 40 years

Future public service leaders are drawing inspiration from the renewal of the PNG Institute of Public Administration, where the nation’s founders planned its first independent government.

The historic institution – formerly known as the PNG Administrative College and home to the famous Bully Beef Club – is being rejuvenated as part of a new leadership precinct.

PNGIPA Director Angori Wewerang, who is marking his 12 month anniversary in the job, said he’d seen a dramatic change in the outlook of students during that time.

“The public servants who are doing training here are seeing the difference in the programs provided. There’s a new energy here. At nights they are staying after classes to do more studies. Good things are happening. And that’s what I believe will shape them when they go back, to bring back new value to their workplaces and make a difference in their communities,” he said.

PNGIPA Director and Deputy Director celebrating PNG's 40th Independence anniversary with staff.
PNGIPA Director and Deputy Director celebrating PNG’s 40th Independence anniversary with staff.

The institution, which will be known as the PNG School of Government, is receiving new Australian-funded buildings and a revamped curriculum.

The school will be part of the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct, which will also include UPNG’s School of Business and Public Policy.

The changes seek to re-affirm the national importance of the institution where, in the early 1970s, the now-Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare talked into the night with Bully Beef Club contemporaries about how PNG would become independent.

“My vision is to transform this place, to provide leadership training and development programs for Papua New Guinea public service leaders who will be able to lead and guide this nation through the next 40 years,” Mr Wewerang said.

Students at the PNGIPA Library (1970s)
Students at the PNGIPA Library (1970s)
PNGIPA students in the early 1970s
PNGIPA students in the early 1970s

Mr Wewerang said there was immense goodwill towards the institution from within and outside the public service.

“Australia’s support is vital,” he said. “Of course, it is not just the infrastructure that Australia is contributing towards. It is also helping to strengthen the training programs we provide.”

The PNGIPA is partnering with the Australian Public Service Commission and other Australian institutions such as CIT Solutions, to improve the quality and focus of the courses offered.