culture Development Papua New Guinea

10 things we wrote in 1973 as a guide for ourselves in the future

In 1973, the Constitutional Planning Committee presented a report to the House of Assembly. They also wrote Papua New Guinea's National Goals and Directive Principles. It remains a blueprint of how our country should be run. Below is a summarized 10 point version of one Goal - INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.

In 1973, the Constitutional Planning Committee presented a report to the House of Assembly. They also wrote Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive Principles. It remains a blueprint of how our country should be run. Below is a summarized 10 point version of one Goal – INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.

1. Human development is priority and is not the same as material progress

We do not take development to be synonymous with material progress.  For us the only authentic development is integral human development.  This means that we use the term development to mean nothing less than the unending process of improvement of every man and woman as a whole person.  We take our stand on the dignity and worth of each Papua New Guinean man, woman and child.  In effect, this means that integral human development must reach out to and enrich Papua New Guineans in every part of the country.

2. Freedom and Liberation of the mind

All Papua New Guineans have an inalienable right to liberation and fulfilment through this process of development.  This right does not depend on our Constitution.  The Constitution is merely restating the right and explicitly confirming it.

3. Equal development  for all Papua New Guineans

No particular area or grouping of people should be developed at the expense of another, materially or in other ways.  There should always be an equitable distribution and balanced sharing of all the benefits and opportunities the national has to offer.  For this type of development to come into being, it is necessary for such conditions to be created and to obtain throughout the nation at all times as to be conducive to that development.

4. Selfishness has no place in our development and we need genuine people who care to run our country

These conditions can only be brought about when the running of the country is in the hands of Papua New Guineans who cherish a genuine respect for the traditions of our country, and our people; who can distinguish those features of the peoples’ traditions that should be retained from those that should be allowed to lapse; and who know how to discern what is good in what other nations and people have to offer to Papua New Guinean.

5. Papua New Guineans are the best judges of what is beneficial to us

The best judges, therefore, of what contributes to the full human well-being of the people of Papua New Guinea are to be found among Papua New Guineans themselves.  In probably no other matter is self-reliance more necessary.  The Government will always have its proper and key role to play in helping to create the conditions in which Papua New Guineans can thrive and enthusiastically pursue their own full human development.

6. Our cultural roots and the spiritual development of our people  is key

By tradition, Papua New Guineans are a spiritual people.  This fundamental tradition must always be respected and given the conditions of freedom to develop and to be enriched.  Closely tied with the spiritual and religious features of Papua New Guinea’s traditions are the cultural elements of the nation.  Here we are in touch with the spirit of the people, with their roots and with their authentic creative genius, the nurture of which will ensure our true national identity.

7. Political and Economic  progress must be for the benefit of our people

Although social progress is not synonymous with economic progress, economic development has meaning insofar as it promotes the well-being of the people in many of the important aspects of their lives as members of a community. Without political development of the people of Papua New Guinea, the genuine progress of the nation will be seriously hindered.  What is at stake is human freedom.  One main key to political progress is the increasing participation of Papua New Guineans at all levels of political activity.  This promotes human responsibility and enhances personal dignity as well as helping to safeguard personal freedom.

8. Our children must not be alienated from their culture through education

We are concerned by the way in which in the past development and modern institutions have alienated our people from one another.  Our schools have tended to make children strangers to their parents and their villages.  Universities have furthered this process of alienation.  At least until recently the whole education process was leading towards social stratification, increased difficulty in communication among members of a single social group, and a decline in the level of tolerance and inter-personal respect among our people.

9. Education should be liberating and should promote dialogue and cooperation

Education should be based on and should promote dialogue and co-operation.  It should foster integral human development and tolerance among our people, awaken their social conscience, their awareness of the essential dignity of man, and their appreciation of the need to stand up for their rights, both as members of the community and as individuals, in the face of pressures from foreign interests and arbitrary government.  It should help to develop a spirit of solidarity of one with another, and an appreciation of our inter-dependence. We cannot build a democratic, just society unless our children’s education and all educational institutions are geared to achieving these objectives.

10. Literacy in Tok Pisin, Motu and English is vital and literacy in local languages should not be discouraged.

Literacy in these languages should be actively promoted to encourage better communication between many different groups of our people, and enable them to participate more fully in the affairs of the country.  Literacy in local languages should not, however, be discouraged as they should be safeguarded from falling into disuse.  Thus we envisage that as many as possible of our people will be multi-lingual.

4 comments on “10 things we wrote in 1973 as a guide for ourselves in the future

  1. Thanks Scott for recounting these words. Whenever one reads the CPC Report and the Preamble of the Constitution, one always realises how much wisdom went into writing those things. You also realise the sad reality that whilst we set grand and wise benchmarks, we did not take the time to build the foundations for those dreams to be realised. And so we look at the sad reality of our current life not necessarily reflecting those ideals. For instance the goals of not allowing our education to alienate us from our roots…yet the curriculum does not point our children to our roots. Our curriculum does not teach the journey of nationhood and the CPC report and the NGDP or the Constitution. Yet our Number 1 BSO is to act in the spirit of the Constitution. How can we do so when we don’t know what that spirit is? Such awesome ideals, but such grave blunders in our foundation-building.

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  2. ganjikidwayne

    Thanks Scott for recounting these words. Whenever one reads the CPC Report and the Preamble of the Constitution, one always realises how much wisdom went into writing those things. You also realise the sad reality that whilst we set grand and wise benchmarks, we did not take the time to build the foundations for those dreams to be realised. And so we look at the sad reality of our current life not necessarily reflecting those ideals. For instance the goals of not allowing our education to alienate us from our roots…yet the curriculum does not point our children to our roots. Our curriculum does not teach the journey of nationhood and the CPC report and the NGDP or the Constitution. Yet our Number 1 BSO is to act in the spirit of the Constitution. How can we do so when we don’t know what that spirit is? Such awesome ideals, but such grave blunders in our foundation-building.

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  3. Granger Narara

    Thanks Scott. It is very humbling to reflect back to the wisdom and potential for greatness that is encapsulated by the Constitutional Planning Committee when they penned this Ten Point Guide prior to Independence. It is humbling in that on many points, we have failed to achieve these ideals that were to be our guiding light, after 45 years of freedom.

    My take on this is that the writers assumed all our people would be united and like minded in the pursuit to prevent our country and its vast resources from being pillaged by our colonisers. We were to retain control of these resources and utilise the gained wealth to implement the virtues of this grand plan.

    The one overlooked factor sadly seems to have been the failure to recognise the possibility that not all our people would be like minded, and that some of our own people in positions of leadership and responsibility would be the ones pillaging our wealth through corruption and misdeeds. So in the end the very damage we wanted to prevent happening by gaining Independence was instigated from within and as a result we have unfortunately fallen well short of this high standards we were expected to achieve.

    Having said that. I believe these ideals are still very achievable but the key lies in educating the next generation of leaders and recognising the need to establish robust, accountable enforceable regulations. This is not only essential but critical.

    I believe in the resilience of our people and our ability to take control of our own destiny to get back on track. These guidelines are more applicable now then they ever have been!

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  4. Thank you Scott! I for one, have not much knowledge about our country’s National Goals and Directive Principles or even know much of what is in the Constitution. Maybe it is out of ignorance or maybe just not a priority in terms of my professional skills and what I would spend my time in doing – and reading this part ..”Universities have furthered this process of alienation” – I understand now why it is what it is. True… the more we move away from the study of history in Social Science class in Year 8, unless you choose the field of social science studies, you continue that learning, otherwise – it becomes all technical and scientific, learning much about your field and global perspectives – and its sad. Being in NZ and studying at the university here, one thing I observe is how the Maori culture and learning is intertwined with everything and everyone is encouraged to learn about the culture. It is a compulsory subject in the primary, secondary schools and in Uni, there is their ‘marae’ (cultural house) that international students are asked to at least spend a weekend there – to learn more about the culture and tradition. It is all in-built as part of the education, so people do not forget and are made aware. Even ethics approval for research proposals – there is a Maori culture section that is part of the application. Grand Chief’s passing has allowed us to pause and reflect and re-learn about our history – how we have come, and to look at where we are going. Thank you for your post that has encouraged me to go back and read about the guiding principles , Somare Vision and to teach my children about this and look at how best we can all contribute towards this vision and re-directing us back to these guiding principles. Blessings.

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