Papua New Guineans Across Border to Indonesia for Education

MERAUKE - A lack of tertiary institutions and vocational training schools for Papua New Guineans living in border regions has forced students to seek education in Indonesia.

According to former PNG defence attache to Jakarta, Col Tokam Kanene, students from South Fly, Western, have been attending the Sotar Agricultural Vocational School on the Indonesian side of the border since 2005 without proper documentation from both governments.

Kanene told The National that there was a traditional border arrangement in place for villagers to hunt and fish in the nearby areas and waters but PNG children had gone to the extreme of getting educated in Indonesia.

“Eighteen out of 150 PNG students have successfully graduated from the three-year programme and three students have moved on for further studies at the tertiary institutes in Merauke,” he said.

Merauke, west of South Fly, is considered to be the eastern most city in Papua province, Indonesia. It is located next to the Maro River.

“One of the these is Ken Kerry from Gwaku village in Suki, Morehead sub district.

“Kerry is doing his third year at the Musamus State University at Merauke.

“The PNG government has failed to bring very basic services to its people and especially the PNG children’s right to education,” Kanene said.

He added that the Indonesian government allowed PNG students to study in their country out of humanitarian assistance.

Sotar Vocational School is a boarding school that specialises in animal husbandry and farming and is connected to Merauke by road.

Sotar is located next to the PNG/Indonesia border marker number 13 opposite the PNG town of Weam in the South Fly district.

Indonesian government services at Sotar include customs, quarantine, a sub-district office, police station, rural health centre, mobile phone service, a military post and a vocational school.

“In September 2011, a joint PNG/Indonesia verification team travelled to Sotar to verify a report that PNG citizens were attending Sotar,” Kanene reported. [IslandsBusiness]
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