Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bringing Enga forward . . .

Source: Weekender, Posr Courier, December 3-4, 2011
Peter Ipatas is investing in human resources in Enga Province, a move hailed by many as a step in the right direction to ensuring that one day, Enga will no longer be known as the last frontier
By DAVID MURI
I COULDN’T precisely recall here but sometime in 2009, Peter Ipatas called me from Jacksons Airport that he was on the morning flight to Mt Hagen.
Governor Ipatas wanted me to accompany him to cover a presentation at the Highland Lutheran School at Amapyaka where he’d donate a brand new vehicle. The vehicle, a fully kitted Toyota 10-seater troop carrier was awaiting pick-up at the Ela Motors yard.
It was bought with savings from the Enga Children’s Fund – the councillor-cum governor’s own brainchild. Ipatas arrived with former EM TV personality and his long-time sidekick John Eggins. We met at Ela Motors where he got the keys. Even though we had extra drivers on our convoy the Ipatas decided to drive his children’s car himself.
As his nickname goes, the “action governor” wasted no time. He wanted us to move right away. He started the car and I hoped on. We headed straight for Wapenamanda. His escorts followed us closely.
We had a brief stopover at the border of Western Highlands and the governor checked who were on the procession. He was bitterly frustrated when he realized that John Eggins was not in the convoy. Eggins delayed his stay in Mt Hagen for family matters but caught up with us later.
We had to proceed without Eggins even though he was an important member of his entourage. The governor didn’t want to waste any time because there were much more important people than us waiting at Amapyaka. These were students and the teachers. That’s how Governor Ipatas holds every Engan school child with high esteem. He can do anything in their name.
Others can make presentations on his or the Enga Provincial Government’s behalf in other occasions but when it comes to education, you will not miss him. The point I’m trying to raise here is that Governor Ipatas is one man who is promoting education in his province big-time with his various policies and schemes. He is trying to change that “wild west” tag into a province that will one day become PNG’s human resource backbone.
I was prompted to write this article after several prominent people from my own Western Highlands fear that Enga will rule PNG in the near future with its well-educated population. And there’s no doubt! Engans are educated in every field today and not many people are realizing this important investment their governor is spearheading.
My own governor Tom olga admitted in a lunch-hour meeting at Parliament House last month that there is no doubt Engans will rule and reign in PNG within the next decade.
“Governor Ipatas is certainly investing in education and his people will shortly control this nation,” says Governor Olga, who also focuses on promoting education in his own province.
Another Western Highlands businessman James Yoka Ekip made similar sentiments in an earlier discussion. “Ipatas is putting money into a very fundamental area in human resource development which is poised to bring his province out of the doldrums. Many governors are ignoring what he is doing but in 15 years we’ll be surprised to see that Engans will hold very important positions in both public and private sectors,” Yoka predicts.
He said Ipatas is wisely investing the royalties from the Porgera gold mine into developing the human resource of the province.
After the Porgera mine Enga will still sustain itself through its investments human resources.
His investments are reflected in the high number of students in tertiary institutions. Thirty-five per cent of students at PNG’s premier university, UPNG, are of Enga origin. He has also established a branch of the Institute of Business Studies in Wabag recently. The Enga Teachers College at his Irelya Village is into competition and new teacher trainee intake will be early next year. He is also sponsoring Engan pilots.
Many students are also being sponsored through the Ipatas Foundation chaired by Issac Lupari. The winning Sir Tei Abel Secondary School in the2011 IBS school debate competition was also sponsored by the foundation. Many Engans will become successful shortly and those successes will be attributed to this governor’s foresight and vision. Ipatas is a man who will have left so many legacies to be remembered by many successful people
Watch out PNG! Enga will not be the last frontier anymore. As the saying goes; the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

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