Thirty-one new economics graduates from the University of Papua New Guinea have embarked on career paths that could influence the nation’s future.
The recent graduation of UPNG’s economics class of 2015 represents a milestone for the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct – a joint initiative of the PNG and Australian Governments.
Australian National University (ANU) academic Michael Cornish taught the group in their final year under the UPNG – ANU Precinct partnership.
He said many had already managed to secure jobs with big name employers, including PwC, BSP, Oil Search and PNG’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
“It’s a wonderful feeling of pride to be able to see them graduate,” Mr Cornish said.
“Hopefully what they have learned here will set them on a good pathway to a point where some of them will be future leaders of this country.”
Newly graduated economist Hera Hoi is among those to have already secured work, winning a coveted role with BSP.
She said it was a great opportunity to apply her skills and she hoped in the future to contribute to PNG’s development by contributing to public policy development.
“In the future I’d like to do some research work and hopefully get into some policy stuff,” Ms Hoi said.
The Precinct partnership has reinvigorated the teaching of economics at UPNG, with the establishment of a new School of Business and Public Policy (SBPP).
The number of ANU staff at the SBPP has since risen to four, expanding the school’s capacity to deliver high quality courses in economics and public policy.
The SBPP will also receive a new faculty building under the Precinct partnership containing international standard teaching, research and study areas.
The school’s Dean, Professor Lekshmi Pillai, said the relationship with ANU was key to the school’s strategy to promote academic excellence.
“Given the human resources constraints we have, the access to ANU faculty will be critical,” he said.
The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct aims to forge a new generation of PNG leaders giving them the ethical, intellectual and practical framework to usher in a new era of development.