CHAPTER 2 - Colonialism and Development
In "Problems of Devolution of PNG Education" -by - Dr Gabriel Kulwaum, Adminstrator, Manus Province, PNG
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: COLONIALISM AND DEVELOPMENT
This chapter seeks to provide a general account of colonialism and development in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a background to the research on devolution within education. Such a background is necessary for a discussion of the issues concerning the policy of devolution in PNG educational administration. The background to PNG is presented around three key arguments. Firstly, it is argued that Papua and New Guinea is an historical artefact constructed through the processes of colonialism. As such, it has been represented in different forms at different times in history, and it continues to be a contested construct. Secondly, it is suggested that the colonial construction of PNG was accomplished through the creation of a powerful centralised bureaucracy. Such a bureaucracy was considered essential for achieving the State's cohesion and the nation's identity. It should be noted that a centralised bureaucracy persists in PNG and that any democratic reforms that the government might propose have to filter through this bureaucracy. The PNG bureaucracy thus has the potential both to promote as well as to constrain democratic reforms. Thirdly, it is maintained that as a Third World country, PNG lacks the resources to develop in an autonomous fashion, and has to rely on aid and advice from the international community, most notably from Australia. The form this aid and advice takes has an impact on the way the notion of development has been understood in PNG. The extent to which PNG is in a position to construct its own definition of development is an open question, and dictates the parameters of PNG politics.
Papua New Guinea: A Colonial Construct
PNG is a land of many contrasts--many languages, many tribes and many cultures. Prior to colonial occupation, its people did not regard PNG as a nation. This western construct was only achieved in the late nineteenth century, with its boundaries defined by the colonial powers, who ruled over it for more than a century. Colonialism has thus mediated in defining not only internal relationships between tribes but also PNG's external relationships with its neighbours.
Papua New Guinea lies between 1 and 12 degrees South latitude and between 141 and 169 degrees East longitude (Hastings, 1973:1) (see [PNG] Map 1). To the West lies Irian Jaya, incorporated in 1961 as a new province of Indonesia, but referred to by the local "Freedom Fighters" as West Papua. Irian Jaya, a former Dutch colony, was recognised by the United Nations in 1961 as part of Indonesia (Biskup, Jinks and Nelson, 1968), but the indigenous people of Irian Jaya continue to resist Indonesia's cultural and political domination (Waiko, 1993). They share closer cultural and family ties with the tribes in PNG than with the people of Indonesia (Dorney, 1990: 247-285).
The arbitrary border between PNG and Indonesia demonstrates the historical construction of PNG as a nation-state and is of current political interest because of the location of the profitable giant Ok Tedi Mine (Jackson, 1984) along the border between the two countries. Furthermore, within PNG, Indonesia is widely believed to be pursuing expansionist policies. West Papuans constantly launch guerilla warfare against Indonesia from the PNG soil (Osbourne, 1986). These boundary skirmishes have implications for PNG's political stability (Waiko, 1993:198-200).
To the South of PNG lie the Torres Strait Islands, arguably part of Australia. This group of islands have recently asserted independence from Australia, on the grounds that culturally they have more in common with some tribes in the Western Province of PNG than with either the indigenous or migrant Australians (Dorney, 1990:29). Torres Strait Islanders and the people from the Western Province of PNG regularly cross the border between Australia and PNG to fish in the traditional fishing grounds and to visit relatives (Fisher, 1984). This supposedly illegal movement of people and the exploration of oil and gas in the region, as well as increased drug smuggling, are causing considerable friction between the Australian and PNG governments. However, the friction also demonstrates the arbitrary nature of the colonial construct of boundaries which took no account of traditional family and cultural ties. Nelson (1974:47) argues:
To the East, PNG shares the boundary with the Independent Island State of Solomon Islands. The two island nation-states are separated by a vast area of oceans, where thousands of tuna fish worth billions of Kina, regularly migrate during particular seasons (Rodwell, 1992). This attracts foreign fishing companies, often with the approval of the respective governments for whom the commercial activity represents a major financial bonus (Waugh, 1992). However, traditional fishing is increasingly compromised by large capital-venture activities.
The North Solomon, a province of PNG, shares the boundary with the Solomon Islands. This province has one of the biggest open-cut copper mines in the world (Filer, 1990). It has become a major trouble-spot in PNG (Connell, 1990), as both its ownership, and the profits from the mining activity, are disputed (Connell, 1992). These disputes have led to a struggle between the PNG government forces and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, the military elements of the traditional landowners. As Henningham and May (1992:1) assert:
In recent years, this disruption has led to the closure of the copper mine, as well as to the threat of secession. It has already created pressures on the political integrity of PNG, because the New Guinea Islands (Manus, East New Britain, West New Britain, and New Ireland) are largely sympathetic to the cause of the North Solomon Province and are also threatening to secede from the rest of PNG. Henningham and May (1992:1) further maintain:
These demands for secession have also damaged the relationship between PNG and the Solomon Islands. The PNG Government accuses the Solomon Islands government of harbouring and supporting the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (Post-Courier, 30 April 1993). At the same time, the government of the Solomon Islands alleges illegal incursions by the PNG Defence Forces into its territory.
As the nation is currently constituted, Papua New Guinea's land mass is approximately 463,000 square kilometres (see PNG physical features map 2). The terrain is very rugged and mountainous. Most of the ridges rise to the average height of 3,000 metres. Mt Wilhem, the highest peak in PNG, rises to the height of 4,500 metres. The fast-flowing meandering rivers such as the Sepik and Fly, are another characteristic of this land. This makes difficult the mobility of the people from region to region and further limits the possibilities of communication and travel (Baldwin 1977:13-14).
The coastal areas are known for their vast areas of swamps. In the Sepik, Western, and Gulf Provinces, human habitation is widely regarded as very unattractive. In the Island Region, which consists of small atoll islands separated by vast open seas, travel and communication are also difficult. Throughout PNG, the climate consists of two seasons only: wet and dry, mostly influenced by strong monsoon winds. The high humidity affects the possible levels of human activity. This topography of the land presents major challenges for the PNG government, especially with respect to its capacity to provide in some equitable manner the quantity and quality of goods and services required by the people.
The ownership of the land is a major political and economic issue in PNG (Barnett, 1992). In traditional terms, most of the land, sea and reef are owned by the members of clans and tribes. The usage and transfer of land are governed by unwritten customary laws and practices administered by the leaders of various tribes. It is widely held that what is under the land, above the land, in the reefs and the sea and in the sky belongs to the traditional landowners (Larmour, 1989). As a Jarrett, Anderson and Nguyen (1990:31) document suggests, more than 90 percent of the land
In recent years, the traditional right to the land has been challenged, as the government now claims the right of ownership to the nation's natural resources, especially: minerals like gold and copper (Connell, 1992); oil and gas (MacPherson, 1992); forests (Taylor, 1992); and fish (Waugh 1992). The PNG government, together with foreign companies, is, for example, mining copper in Ok Tedi (Jackson, 1982), and gold in Pogera; and is allowing the trees to be cut down for timber in Madang, Manus, West New Britain, Central and Kerema (Deklin, 1992:127). The National Government also claims ownership of urban areas like Port Moresby, Lae, Hagen, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak and Lorengau. The traditional landowners, however, dispute these claims, and are asking for the return of their land or are demanding massive monetary compensation. The rights, usage and transfer of the land is now regulated by such laws as National Forestry Policy (1990) and National Forestry Act (1991). However, the right of the national parliament to manage land in this way is questioned by the traditional landowners. As O'Faircheallaigh (1992:272) suggests:
This fear is also expressed by a Bouganvillian:
In response, the government argues that the land should benefit all of PNG's citizens, not only because of the need to develop the nation's economic resources, but also to ensure the integrity and cohesion of the Nation-State (PNG Economic Policies, 1993). Not surprisingly, this government view is shared by the World Bank Report (1988:xi) which has argued:
Jarrett, Anderson and Nguyen (1990:viii) provide a similar economic analysis:
The 1990 National Census showed that Papua New Guinea has a population of 3.5 million. This represents an increase of 2.8 percent on the last census in 1980 (National Census Office, 1990). The census shows that 85 percent of the population lives in the rural area (World Bank Report 1988:xi). These people live in scattered villages and hamlets, often in inaccessible terrain. As has already been pointed out, this makes the provision of social services like health, education and extension support like agriculture, law and order, road networks, transport and communication by the State, not only difficult, but also very expensive.
The other 15 percent of Papua and New Guineans are urban dwellers who work and/or live in towns and cities like Port Moresby, Alotau, Kerema, Daru, Poponetta, Lae, Madang, Wewak, Vainimo, Hagen, Wabag, Goroka, Rabaul, Kimbe, Kavieng and Lorengau. The World Bank classifies PNG as a lower middle-income country (World Bank Report, 1988:2). In 1988, its per capita income was $US810 (Stein, 1991:2). The World Bank regarded PNG as the 50th poorest country of the 120 it surveyed (World Bank Report, 1993). Whilst PNG is a lower middle-income nation, its standard of literacy is below most other Third World countries. The cash economy capacity of the country is very limited. It can only engage 14 percent of its population in the formal labour force. A further 35 percent are engaged in the informal commercial activities producing cash crops, whilst the other 51 percent are either dependent on the subsistence economy or are unemployed (PNG Education Sector Review, 1991:1). It is important to recognise, however, that these data are framed within the assumptions of a western economic theory, and may not describe the way most people in PNG view their livelihood.
The government of PNG is involved in steering both sectors of the economy: the cash as well as the traditional. It is concerned to promote economic activities designed to generate new employment in the cash economy and at the same time improve forms of subsistence and related traditional activities. To develop its cash economic sector, PNG has established initiatives in the use of non-renewable resources such as oil and minerals; the use of renewable resources, including agriculture, forestry and fisheries; and the development of industrial infrastructures through commercial statutory authorities and through private sector partnerships (Economic Policies and Strategies, 1991).
One of the directives of development in PNG is Equality and Participation as outlined in the National Constitution (see Appendix 2 on Five Directive Principles). What this means is that all citizens should have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development of the nation. It is widely recognised, however, that currently the necessary conditions do not exist in PNG for any meaningful participation in the processes of economic development. People lack the capital, technology, relevant expertise and the technical know-how. Accordingly, the expatriates are considered by the PNG Government to be indispensable to the processes of economic and social development. Conroy (1982:134) suggests:
The expatriates who work in PNG are of two kinds: those Europeans who stayed on after political independence, and those who may be referred to as "the new entrepreneurs". The new entrepreneurs work through foreign companies or organisations, and often engage local entrepreneurs as business partners in the exploitation of both renewable and non-renewable resources. The profit motive looms large in their thinking. Although the government benefits from the activities of these entrepreneurs (through the collection of taxes, for example), the people in the villages do not always get any direct benefits. Also, it could be argued that the extensive foreign economic activity makes it difficult for PNG to realise another of its key principles outlined in its National Constitution, namely, National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance.
The PNG Government has insisted that the nation's economy should be basically self-reliant (Economic Policies and Strategies, 1991:2). But this cannot be the case as long as PNG's economy is controlled, exploited and dominated by foreign individuals and companies. The PNG Government fears the creation of a dependency relationship on foreigners because they have the power of the purse: for after all, if they can control the economy of the country, it is possible they can also control the government and influence the formulation and implementation of key policy decisions. The political independence of PNG will become largely symbolic if the fundamental political and economic decisions are steered by foreigners as advisers, as consultants or as business executives; or indeed if the local political and economic elites--the politicians and public servants--simply become the spokespersons for foreign interests.
Papua New Guinea is a nation of many tribes. The average population of each tribe is around 1,000. Each tribe has its own culture. A tribe can often speak more than one language or dialect. Apart from English, Pidgin-English and Motu, there are 700 other languages spoken in the country. Each tribe regards itself as sovereign. For many people in PNG, the organisational structure of the tribe is often more significant than that of the national or provincial government. This fact serves to highlight the recency of the concept of the nation of PNG. As already pointed out, Papua New Guinea as a nation was historically constructed to serve a range of colonial interests. It also serves to highlight the complexity of government in PNG, the diverse tribes of which may submit to a conflicting set of legal and traditional authorities.
As Waiko (1993) has pointed out, the notion of a citizenship is a highly problematical one, since the primary allegiance of the people is to a tribe, and not necessarily to the nation. And yet, many of the laws that affect people are enacted not by the tribes but introduced and enacted by a new political institution called the Parliament. For most Papuans and New Guineans, the concept of citizenship is a foreign one. For many indigenous people, it seems paradoxical that anyone who is not a member of a tribe in PNG can still apply for citizenship. To them, it is strange that Europeans, Asians or Pacific Islanders can also become citizens of PNG through immigration.
Given this demographic and historical complexity, the political cohesion of PNG as a nation-state remains an important issue in the country; as does the issue of the nature of the relationship between the State and its citizens. Most Papua New Guineans experience a sense of conflict between the traditional and modern ways of life. As Waiko (1993:246) argues:
Most Papua New Guineans are thus faced by a conflicting set of obligations: to their tribe, to the provincial authorities and to the national government. Not surprisingly, therefore, there is no strong tradition of nationalism in PNG. As an academic at the University of Papua New Guinea suggests:
Papua New Guinea has been subject to many anthropological studies (for example Mead, 1931; Malinowski 1932; Mead, 1970; Strathern, 1971). Often these studies have portrayed PNG along narratives that classify cultures along such dualisms as primitive-non-primitive, traditional-western, uncivilised-civilised, pre-industrial-industrial, inferior-superior and modern-postmodern. The problems associated with such classificatory systems are now well-known (see for example Boon, 1982; Holy, 1987; and Kuper, 1992) and relate to their ethnocentricity. Critiques of these systems suggest PNG's cultures should not be described in such western terms, but should instead be viewed in their own unique contexts.
Moreover, these contexts are not homogeneous. Such cultural groups, as Tolais, Sepiks, Kavieng, Highlands, have their own distinctive traditions. These cultures are moreover not static; they are constantly changing in response to new pressures, accommodating some trends, while resisting or rejecting others (Carrier and Carrier, 1989). Indeed, it is misleading to suggest that these traditional cultures are somehow unchanged by the colonial presence in the country. There is thus a dialectical relationship between the traditions that remain and the trends that are emerging. Waiko (1993:254-255) maintains:
New cultural forms are emerging throughout Papua New Guinea, partly as a consequence of the incursion of western values and institutions (Reed, 1983; Wolfers, 1992:248), and partly in response to greater communication among different tribal groups. Wolfers (1993:247) argues:
The assimilation of many western ideas is evident in the changing lifestyles of the people, many of whom now build and live in permanent buildings, in well-furnished western houses, and now also watch television beamed into their homes from Cairns in Northern Queensland. Simultaneously, however, the traditional life-styles have not been abandoned. Many houses still are built out of trees and sago leaves and kunai-grass. People travel by plane and motor boats, but they still sail the open seas by outrigger canoes. They consume rice and tinned fish, but they also eat taro and fresh or smoked fish from the sea or river. In the Highlands, a man wears a western shirt on his back but uses large leaves called "tanget" to cover his buttocks. The PNG Public Service recruits officers not only on the basis of bureaucratic performance and qualifications but also on a commitment to tribal values. Papua and New Guineans thus live in a cultural space that is complex and hybrid (Homi Bhabha, 1994). Carrier and Carrier (1989:238) further argue:
The Fifth Directive in the National Constitution refers to Papua New Guinea Ways. It suggests PNG should achieve development through the use of the distinctively indigenous forms of social, political and economic organisation. Exactly what these "ways" are is an issue that is both complex and confusing. Is Sepik, Tolai, Manus or Ukarumpa a "PNG way"? Is the use of a plane or motor boat a "PNG way"? Is recruitment and appointment of officers based on tribal obligations a "PNG way"? The Directive does not provide any clear guidance as to the way Papua New Guineans might reconcile the diverse "PNG ways" and at the same time live with the ubiquitous western cultural pressures. It is significant to note, however, that the Fifth Directive is couched in terms of an aspiration that is post-colonial: the emphasis on the Papua New Guinea "ways" expresses a set of values that are defined in opposition to the colonial values into which Papua New Guineans were supposed to assimilate prior to political independence. What is suggested is, however, that despite this post-colonial aspiration, colonialism continues to play a major role in the social and political organisation of the country, including its system of educational administration.
Forms of Colonialism
The idea of colonialism is a complex one and does not permit a simple definition. The theoretical literature surrounding it is littered with controversy (Drakakis-Smith, 1992). A part of the problem is, as Brookfield (1972:1) suggests, that "the term colonialism means many things to many people". Also, discussions of colonialism do not always clearly distinguish between different aspects of the problem: for example, the conditions which led to the emergence of colonialism; the motives for colonial adventure; the approaches and processes of its realisation; and the effects of colonialism in terms of its benefits and problems, both for the colonisers and the colonised (Fieldhouse, 1981). Theoretical analyses of these complex issues cannot, moreover, be value-neutral. They depend on the analysts' broader ideological and political views, as well as on their disciplinary perspective. Thus, by and large, the colonisers can be expected to have different interpretations from the colonised, and the political scientists are likely to approach the issues of colonialism from a different perspective to that adopted by the economists or the anthropologists. The differences in views are due not only to different ideological positions adopted by the analysts, but also to their different theoretical interests; such a range of differences often means that different aspects of the problem are studied.
Colonialism is a highly contested concept for which there is no universal meaning. Balandier (1960:1) maintains that:
Balandier sees colonialism as a political phenomenon. His view suggests that colonialism is about relationships of power through which one group of people rules over another. The ruling group can be either similar or different in their way of life from those who are ruled. However, in this relationship, the rulers are those who assume the power to make decisions which affect either directly or indirectly the livelihood of the ruled. In history, this has been done in a variety of ways, ranging from the use of overt force and the imposition of foreign social, economic and political institutions, and consequently, the destruction of the indigenous ways, to the use of more covert hegemonic means, such as the application of foreign colonial norms which have corroded local values and traditions (Spybey, 1992:114-115).
In political terms, colonialism is often assumed to be a temporary phenomenon. With the passage of time, and often as a result of a long struggle, either by peaceful or violent means, nations obtain political independence, which is assumed to mark the end of colonial rule, signified by the exodus of colonial rulers and an end to their dominance and influence. The colonised are assumed to become responsible for making their own decisions over issues which affect their livelihood. Political independence is assumed to mark a major shift in the structure of power and authority for making such decisions.
However, this account of political independence is highly problematic, for, as it has been argued, the shift in power relationship is never as dramatic as suggested by this account. As Brookfield (1972:1-2) argues:
What this implies is that colonialism is often a much more persistent phenomenon, since, in addition to its political form, it is also characterised by its economic and ideological dimensions.
Over the past two centuries, economic colonialism has meant a deliberate replacement of the traditional-subsistence economy by a modern capitalist economy which aims to restructure the relationships of self-reliance into one of resource dependency on the colonial powers and its financial institutions. In most colonised countries, this has resulted in the formation of a dual or mixed economy (Brookfield, 1972). But economic dependency has also meant that, after political independence, most previously colonised countries have been unable to secure the economic freedom they had been promised (Faraclas, 1993). It is not surprising, therefore, that the current economies of the newly independent nations in Latin America (Sweezy, 1992), Africa, (Patnaik, 1990) Asia (Sweezy, 1992) and the Pacific (Luteru, 1991) continue to depend heavily on the international financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and multi-national corporations. Having had their own indigenous resources--both material and social--stripped, they are now at the mercy of international monetary agencies (Morss, 1991).
In recent years, the issue of how the economies of the Third World have become dependent on international financial institutions has been the subject of considerable debate (Spybey 1992). The Third World countries have needed funds for development. Few previously colonised countries deny the importance of development, but there are major debates about what this development should comprise, and how it should proceed. At issue is the nature and scope of development that is both desirable and, given limited resources, feasible. In many Third World countries, there is an emerging view that it is the Western financial institutions and their agencies which now dictate the terms in which the notion of development should be understood (Hettne, 1990). Furthermore, it is evident that these international financial institutions and multi-national corporations are closely linked and controlled by the former colonial powers (Barrat Brown, 1982). This observation suggests that the dominance of the colonial powers now manifests itself in a new form: through the activities and operations of these institutions and agencies.
The economic circumstances of most newly independent states are thus defined by a relationship of dependency (Larrain, 1989). This relationship is not only dictated by the politics of the international financial institutions but also the politics of aid. Many Third World economies have become heavily dependent for their very survival on outside assistance. This assistance has many forms: direct or indirect foreign aid and grants, loans and joint ventures. It can come in the form of capital or in the form of services, for instance, consultancy provisions, economic advice or technology and human resources. O'Collins 1993:(67-68) contends:
So, while most Third World countries welcome aid, there is now an emerging concern that the relationship that defines the provision of aid is constituted by the exercise of a new form of power over the Third World countries. Some authors (for example, Larrain, 1989; Hettne, 1990 and Spybey, 1992) have gone as far as to call it "a new expression of colonialism".
Colonialism is not only expressed in political and economic forms. It can also be defined as an ideological phenomenon (Fanon, 1966). It can be viewed as a form of cultural dominance which involves the substitution of the way of life of the colonised by traditions that the colonisers assume to be inherently superior. More than forty years ago, Balandier (1951:75) described this feature of colonial situations as the
While Balandier's view of colonialism is couched in terms that seem dated now, his observation that colonialism needs to be understood as an ideological phenomenon is still relevant, and is applicable to contemporary expressions of colonialism.
Referring to the act of cultural dominance as "cultural imperialism", Martin Carnoy (1978) argues that in cultural terms colonialism invariably invokes the assumptions of racial superiority of one "race" over another, and can thus be considered as a form of racism. It represents a justificatory scheme through which domination is legitimised. It rests on an historical narrative in which the notions of progress and development are assumed to have an essential meaning. In the language of post-modernism, colonialism rests on the assumptions of a grand narrative which implies the essential superiority of Western institutions of technology, cash-oriented economy and education system over all other forms.
At the same time, however, it should be noted that colonial dominance is never uni-directional. It requires the formation of a particular power relationship between the coloniser and the colonised. In its most basic form, the coloniser imposes and the colonised accepts. The colonised, although manipulated to some extent, are nevertheless willing partners. The colonial relationship cannot be obtained without the active involvement and the complicity of the colonised. The colonised come to accept as their own the values and practices of the colonisers, either completely, or by modifying the local practices to blend into the structure of the foreign traditions. Within the terms of the grand narrative, the colonisers expect the colonised to submit to the foreign values and practices because they subscribe to a universalistic logic of progress. In the view of colonisers, there are no alternative traditions superior to their own.
The consequences of this mode of thinking can be drastic and serious both for the coloniser and the colonised. For the colonisers it can mean arrogance, vainglory, and narcissism. Spybey (1992:113) suggests that:
For the colonised, on the one hand, it often meant the loss of self-identity and self-respect, replaced by feelings of inferiority and fear. It also meant the gradual disappearance of the way of life that held a group of people together, leading to social disintegration and what, in another context, Habermas (1976) has referred to as the crises of legitimation and motivation. Finally, it meant a failure of imagination, an inability to conceive of alternatives to those notions of development and progress prescribed by the colonisers.
The Indian social theorist, Nandy (1983), has developed these ideas further with the use of insights obtained from the Italian sociologist, Gramsci (1978), and the Algerian political writer, Fanon (1967). While accepting that colonialism is associated with political power and economic gains, Nandy adds that "colonialism is a state of mind" or a "psychological state rooted in earlier forms of social consciousness in both the colonisers and the colonised. It represents a certain cultural continuity and carries a certain cultural baggage" (1983, pp 1-2). He suggests that colonialism is best viewed as a mode of thinking. This mode of thinking exists in the minds of both the coloniser and the colonised, and is expressed through their cultural experiences and practices. It can be reflected in the values system which structures the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised. When Nandy speaks of the colonisation of the mind, he suggests an ideological framework in which the colonised accepts and assumes as natural the values of the coloniser. This, Nandy regards, as the most destructive form of colonisation.
Nandy's account thus challenges the traditional view that only the coloniser is responsible for the act of colonisation and the colonised has nothing to do with this power relationship. It suggests instead that both the coloniser and the colonised are equally implicated in the practices, the processes, and the outcomes of colonialism. It also suggests that it is a mistake to assume that everyone is affected by colonialism in the same way. Indeed, the categories "the colonisers" and "the colonised" are not homogenous, and should not be treated in terms that are totalising. In both the colonising and colonised nations, there is often a wide range of views about the origins, practices and impact of colonialism. In colonising nations, there are often political criticisms from various sections of the community of colonial adventures and exploitation on both economic and moral grounds. In colonised countries, on the other hand, there is a varying degree of complicity and resistance to colonial advances. So while some generalisations are possible, the nature about colonisation should be treated with caution.
To understand the origins of colonialism in PNG, it is necessary to examine historically the rapid expansion of colonial activity in the late nineteenth century. During this period there was a scramble for colonies in the African continent. Between 1880 and 1900, most parts of Africa were effectively under colonial administration (Boehan, 1987:27). While this was happening in Africa, the same colonial powers, namely the British, the Germans and the French, were also seeking new territories in the Pacific. Melanesian areas, namely Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and PNG, were seized by different imperial powers late in the nineteenth century (Brookfield, 1972: 20-23).
Although historians may not share the same views about the motives for this rapid colonial expansion in the ninetieth century, there is a general agreement that the colonial powers were in search of the three "Gs": namely, Gold, God and Glory. Griffin (1978:xi) refers to these motives as:
Boehan (1987) argues that in order to understand the factors which led to the Europeans' scramble for colonisation, we need to look at the political, economic and social conditions in 19th-century Europe. Politically, the colonial powers were rivals. Each was concerned with the building of its own empire. The desire for an extension of empire became the basis for power, control, domination and reputation in Europe. The decline of feudalism and the rise of capitalism made it necessary to exploit the natural resources of the regions outside Europe. Industries were developed to produce secondary products and further accumulated capital. The surplus products and capital intensified the efforts of the colonial powers to establish new markets outside Europe, that is, for trade to extend to other parts of the world, in particular the African, Asian and Pacific regions. In addition, the surplus capital was also invested to enable secondary industries to be established as part of the extension of industrial networks.
The spread of Christianity and the conflict between its various sects during this period, were also factors in rapid colonial expansion. The missionaries of different Christian denominations went out to convert the heathens, believing it to be their moral and Christian duty to bring light to their darker brethren so that these "primitives" could become civilised. They believed, moreover, that for the natives to become Christians, they needed to change their values, beliefs, and indeed their total way of life. They felt that cultural change was inevitable once the natives accepted Christianity. In this way, it could be argued that they confused Christendom with Christianity. That is, they could not separate Christ's teachings from their own culture. In other words, they viewed the Gospel through the narrow lenses of the European culture, and thus found it difficult to project a wider concept of Christianity. Theirs was a world-view that was not only ethnocentric but which also demanded complete assimilation.
It is important to recognise that, whatever their wider interests, many European colonisers saw colonialism in benevolent terms. In the ninetieth century, there were a wide variety of reasons given for colonial activity. First, it was suggested that the presence of Europeans in the colonies helped pacify the warring tribes which had been fighting each other for generations. The colonisers saw themselves as peacemakers, and often used diplomatic activity to secure consensus between tribes. At the same time, however, they fuelled minor disputes in order to establish their own authority, and to garner economic favours. Also, they often set one tribe against another in order to keep disputes going so that they could retain their own influence and control.
Second, many colonisers felt that their presence contributed to the economic development of the colonies. Colonists lived in a state of moral, social and economic poverty. They believed that their task was to improve the way of life of the natives in ways that paralleled the lives of Europeans. They felt that they had created an economic infrastructure for the colonies, such as a railway system, which they felt were necessary for the development of the countries they occupied.
Whilst these altruistic views were no doubt held in all sincerity, the colonisers also had another agenda, which related to their wider self-interests. What did they expect to gain from colonial activity? With the exception of some individuals, their dominant interests were political and economic. In the ninetenth century, colonial expansion meant prestige and power, and nations such as Belgium and Germany, which had not previously engaged in any extensive colonial activity, saw acquisition of territories as something that signified their claim to greatness, rivalling those that had already been established by Britain and France. But arguably economic interests were more important. Annexed lands meant an opportunity to exploit natural resources such as timber, minerals and fish with the use of recruited natives to work in the plantations, factories and mines. In the colonies, capital accumulation was possible in a context of extremely favourable labour conditions.
This Marxist view suggests that it was capitalism which gave rise to and facilitated colonialism. Capitalism involves control over the mode of production through the manipulation of labour in the production of commodities. The commodities are sold in the market for money which can be invested for further accumulation of capital. Cheaper production processes, including the costs of raw materials and labour needed to produce secondary goods, facilitate greater profits. According to Marxist thinking, capitalism provides an adequate explanation of colonialism. The colonies provided a cheap source of raw materials and labour. It is suggested that it was the importation and exploitation of cheap raw materials from the colonies that enabled the rapid growth of capitalism in Europe.
It has been noted, however, that Marx did not himself oppose the idea of European colonisation. He did not appreciate the cruelties inflicted by the colonisers on the colonised. Moreover, he assumed that the only path to development for the colonies was through industrialisation, and that "primitive" modes of production would eventually be replaced with capitalist institutions. Larrain (1991) has suggested that Marx shared the view that it was justifiable historically for the "backward" nations to be "liberated" through industrialisation. His historicist world-view led him to believe that capitalism was a necessary stage in the eventual enlightenment of people everywhere.
Critics of Marxism, such as Blaut (1989), do not share Marx's contention that capitalism led to colonisation. They argued that there was no single motivation, no single originating idea, that explains colonialism. Blaut argues that Marx's explanation represents a highly Eurocentric view of history, and is framed by the limited knowledge he had of places outside Europe. Blaut suggests that colonialism contributed to the expansion of capitalism, giving it new forms. New modes of production were created, altering the nature of power arrangements both within Europe and in the colonies. In this way, colonialism and capitalism articulated with each other, so that neither can be said to be so analytically or historically prior to the other. Further, colonisers controlled the modes of production, but would not have been as successful had they not received some support from some sections of the local communities. There was thus a dialectical relationship between the political, economic or social conditions in Europe and the conditions created in the colonies by colonialism. Europe, Blaut maintains, should not be the centre of explanation; what was going on in the colonies was as much responsible for the expansion of colonialism as the actions of the colonisers.
Recent post-Marxist analyses of colonialism, for example, the work of Hommi Bhabba (1994), are instructive. To begin with, they make the issue of what counts as colonialism a great deal more complex. It is clear that colonialism does not admit a single definition: it has many different historically specific forms. It can be interpreted simultaneously as a political, economic, socio-cultural and ideological phenomenon. Its economic dimensions cannot, for example, be understood adequately without reference to its ideological or political dimensions. However, while expressions of colonialism are complex and historically specific, it is nevertheless possible to identify some of the ways in which contemporary forms of colonialism differ from its earlier forms.
No longer are colonial activities linked to the desire of one nation-state to conquer another and control its means of production. Instead, the contemporary expressions of colonialism are now linked to the global movement of capital and to the activities of large multinational companies. Richer nations no longer have an interest in administering the poorer nations; rather there is now a pattern of economic exploitation and ideological control through the operations of an international capitalism that is not confined to national boundaries. The ideological language by which colonialism is now justified has also changed. While humanitarian or philanthropic motives are still invoked, it is clear they have become secondary to a concern for economic gains. Traditional colonisers such as missionaries, settlers, planters and administrators, have been replaced by international players operating at the global level rather than at the regional or national level. It can thus be argued that colonialism has re-emerged as an international phenomenon (Sivanandan, 1991).
Arrival of Europeans
In order to understand the changing forms of colonialism in PNG, it is useful to provide a brief historical overview of the European presence there. It is widely believed that D'Abrew, a Portuguese sailor, might have been the first European to have sighted the coast of New Guinea in 1516 (Ryan, 1961:1). However, it was not until 1526 when the first landing by a European was made by Jarge de Meneses in the north-west of the island. He named this territory "Ilhas dos Papuas" (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968:18). The word "Papuas" comes from the Malay term orang papuwal which means "fuzzy-haired man". The word "New Guinea" suggested the discovery of a new territory which the colonial adventurers thought was geographically similar to Guinea on the coast of Africa (Ryan, 1982:2). The name "Papua New Guinea" was thus a product of a colonial world-view which had assumed that the land had no history, and that its people could only be identified by their appearance, as Others who were not Europeans.
Much of the history of PNG has been written from the dominant European view which has assumed European civilisation to mark the highest point of human development. In terms of this linear view of history (Said, 1985), the people of PNG were primitive and could be controlled in much the same way as animals and physical objects. The names, Papua and New Guinea, are thus not local in origin but have nevertheless come to be accepted as part of the nation's colonial legacy (Nelson, 1974 :163). Papua New Guineans now identify themselves with this new name. It provides the legal and administrative framework which binds different parts of the nation together. In PNG, there does not appear to be a determined political movement to change the name by which the country is currently identified, though the issue has been talked about in general terms from time to time.
Apart from the Dutch, the English, French and Germans were also involved in the exploration of the new land (Griffin, 1978; Reed, 1983). In 1606, William Janz visited the south-east area of New Guinea. In 1616, Maire and Schouten sailed the northern coast and then across the Bismark Sea to New Ireland. Dampier was the first English captain to sail in the New Guinea waters. A passage between New Britain and Umboi Island is named after him. There were other English sailors such as Owen Stanley and John Moresby who explored the southern coasts of New Guinea in 1840 and 1849 respectively. The French also made a number of voyages to New Guinea. Conte de Bougainville was one of the sailors who sailed through the Melanesian waters at the end of the eighteenth century.
Interestingly, in naming localities, colonial adventurers overlooked the indigenous names of tribes, mountains, bays, straits and islands and so on (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968:20), but chose instead to call places after themselves, their friends, queens or kings, or towns and cities in their countries of origin. For instance, the capital city of Papua New Guinea is named after Captain John Moresby; the great dividing range which divides Papua and New Guinea is named after Captain Owen Stanley; the island of Bougainville is named after Conte de Bougainville; the Schouten Island is named after the sailor Schouten (see PNG Map 3 on early European explorations).
Initially, the European explorers were only concerned with mapping the land they had supposedly discovered. But, in retrospect, it is clear that they had prepared the conditions for the Europeans to later settle in the country and exploit its natural resources for their own economic ends. From early 1800s, they began to lay claims to land that was not theirs, dispossessing the traditional landowners in an arbitrary fashion. Contrary to a common misconception, the indigenous people did not readily accept this adventurism. On record are numerous instances of resistance and conflict over rights, ownership, usage and boundaries (Nelson, 1968:52). Some of these conflicts have intensified after independence in 1975, and currently represent a major problem for the PNG Government.
With the acquisition of land came the missionaries, planters and settlers, traders and administrators who became heavily involved in the "development" of PNG (Rowley, 1985), supposedly for the benefit of the indigenous people. The different mission denominations, namely Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and London Missionary Society (LMS) established mission settlements, or stations. The establishment of these stations enabled the missionaries to teach indigenous people how to read and write so that they could be converted to Christianity. Chalmers, of the London Missionary Society, wrote in 1895,
The traders sought to "develop" timber, copra and beche-de-mer industries. They became involved in the hunting of whales as well. In the 1900s, these activities grew in scale and in profits. The indigenous people provided labour, often paid for in terms of exchange of goods such as tobacco and clothes. As the companies which employed them expanded, many indigenous people were recruited to work as labourers from outside Papua New Guinea--places as far as Queensland. This represented the beginning of the gradual involvement of the indigenous people into the cash economy.
The administrators became permanent residents in convenient locations which later became known as "Patrol Posts". These were centres where the colonial administration established its offices, the purpose of which was to provide "conducive working environments" and facilitate the various objectives of the agents of "development": missionaries, traders, settlers, planters and so on (Reed, 1983). The notion of "conducive environment" referred to the need to pacify warring factions through the establishment of law and order so that capital accumulation could proceed unhindered. The colonial government sought to form different political groupings and establish indigenous leadership in order to assert its administrative authority. Its aim was to bring the opposing factions under a single administrative regime and a system of justice that was, from the point of view of the settlers, uniform and predictable. This system of justice and administration, based on a network of central and regional centres of power, later became the foundation for the creation of the state of Papua New Guinea.
Between 1884 and 1914, New Guinea was annexed and ruled by Germany or its colonial agencies (Firth, 1986). (See Map 4). Before 1889, one of these agencies, the German-owned New Guinea Company, had effectively acted as a government, but when it struck economic difficulties, it relinquished its power, and the German Government took direct control of the colony until its defeat in World War I. In 1919, Australia, under an Agreement of the League of Nations, assumed responsibilities for the administration of New Guinea.
The German Government had already begun to construct a system of administration in New Guinea which involved the appointment of village officials who were accountable to regional officials and through them to the central authority (Firth 1986:73-74). The system of luluai (the leader) and tultul (the messenger) was established. The luluais were supposed to act as the "mausman" or spokesmen of the Government, and were responsible for collecting taxes, settling minor disputes and reporting major disputes to the Government. The tultuls were messengers, and acted as assistants to the luluais. Through this system, the whole of New Guinea was, either directly or indirectly, under the control of the German colonial authorities by 1914. The Government had also initiated moves to extend its control over eight other centres, namely, Rabaul (East New Britain), Madang (Madang Province), Kavieng (New Ireland Province), Namatanai (New Ireland Province), Kieta (Bougainville), Morobe (Morobe Province), Aitape (West Sepik) and Lorengau (Manus Province) (Mair, 1970:34-35).
This administrative arrangement was noteworthy for a number of reasons (Reed, 1983). Firstly, while it sought to accommodate the traditional patterns of leadership and perhaps allow some degree of participation of indigenous people, in the long run, it proved ineffective because in most cases the selection of the luluais and tultuls was not based on traditional leadership, but on a range of other considerations. Mostly, they were selected because they could speak Pidgin-English and were compliant. It was not that the administration was not interested in allowing indigenous participation, but instead it operated on the principles of administrative convenience. Understandably, the arrangement created considerable tensions between traditional and imposed leaderships. Remarkably, however, this administrative arrangement remained basically the same until very recently when the positions of luluais and tultuls were formally abolished. The administrative division of the country into regions, provinces and districts that had been established by the German colonial authorities has also remained intact.
Secondly while the German colonial authorities had hoped to make large profits from the exploitation of resources in New Guinea, they encountered considerable difficulty in achieving this goal. Part of the problem related to the enormous shortage of labour, with the attempts to train the locals to work as skilled and semi-skilled workers failing on most occasions. To secure profits, the German colonial authorities even made a number of unsuccessful attempts to introduce a taxation regime in the area of the traditionally-orientated village agriculture. By all accounts then the German colonial rule over New Guinea was a failure. Even without its defeat in World War 1, it is arguable whether the Germans would have stayed in New Guinea.
Its defeat simply hastened the process, leading in 1919 to a proclamation and imposition of Australian military rule in New Guinea (Reed, 1983). The proclamation was read in Pidgin-English by one of the Australian military officers who stated that the natives were now under a new colonial master, with a new flag, and should therefore swear allegiance to the King of England (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968). After the War, the colony had been transferred to the League of Nations under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, Paris, and Australia was given the mandate to administer New Guinea. However, one of the conditions governing this mandate was that Australia was to give self-determination to the New Guineans over a period of time which was unspecified.
Between 1919-21, Australia retained the administrative system that had been established by the German administration before the War (Reed, 1983). That is, it maintained a system that involved the appointment in every village of a luluai and a tultul, ensuring the maintenance of colonial control over the villagers. However, the Australians went further and appointed Patrol Officers known as Kiaps, all of whom were Australians, with the responsibility of overseeing the system. The luluais and tultuls received their orders from the Kiaps (Rowley, 1986). The Kiaps played a powerful role: as administrators, as police officers and as magistrates rolled into one position. They inserted considerable fear into the hearts and minds of the indigenous people, and were much despised. The Territory of New Guinea was divided into administrative units called Districts. There were seven Districts altogether, three on the mainland and four in the islands. The boundaries of these Districts have been maintained in post-independence Papua New Guinea and are now known as the Provinces. In each District the work of the Kiaps was co-ordinated by Commissioners who were in turn accountable to the colonial Administrator in Port Moresby. This was a hierarchical system designed to maintain a tight control over indigenous institutions.
As for the territory of Papua, Britain had claimed it as its Protectorate in November 1884 (see Map 5). The Proclamation that governed British occupation in Papua emphasised an ideology of protectionism (Hastings, 1973:45). The British Government, the Proclamation suggested, would protect the natives and their land from exploitation by the unscrupulous Europeans, mostly the traders, settlers and planters. Further, it would seek to pacify and bring peace amongst the warring factions in the territory. It saw its role as being restricted to policing; to maintaining social conditions necessary to maintain "orderly" economic activity (West, 1966:45). However, while the British Government greatly profited from this economic activity, it had no intention of providing direct services to the indigenous people so that they could develop towards self-government and independence.
The administrative system that the Papuan colonial authorities set up was concerned solely with the issues of law and order, and owed much to the British colonial experience in the Western Pacific, especially Fiji. In this arrangement the head of administration was called the High Commissioner who was supported by a number of Deputy Commissioners. The Deputy Commissioners, in turn, exercised their authority through the traditional leadership of chieftainship. However, while this arrangement might have worked in Fiji, it did not in Papua, because chieftainship, in so far as it existed, worked very differently in Papua. In Papua, the chiefs did not have the power and influence over their tribes in the manner they did in Fiji. Papua had a system of multiple chiefs in the same tribe, who governed in a collaborative fashion. There was no central hierarchical authority which the British could use in an effective system of governance. Recognising the ineffectiveness of the Fijian system, and fearing the designs that the Germans had on Papua, the British Government invited Sir Samuel Griffith, the then Queensland Premier, to devise a new administrative system for Papua. This system was implemented in 1888, and represented Australia's initial involvement in Papua.
The Griffith system involved the division of Papua into three district areas: Western, Central and Eastern. The Administrative Head of Papua was called the Administrator. Each division was looked after by a Resident Magistrate, whose basic role was to co-ordinate patrols and expeditions, to investigate disturbances, to hold trials and to issue appropriate punishments. At the village level, a system of village constables was established whose role was to ensure that Resident Magistrates' decisions were implemented. With the institution of this new system, Papua's status changed from being a protectorate to a British colony. However, in 1901, Britain sought to transfer the responsibility of governing Papua to Australia.
This responsibility was formally accepted by the passing of the Papua Act by the Australian Parliament in 1905, four years after Australia had become a Federation. The Act created an Executive Council which had three members, all appointed by the Australian Government. The Council was headed by the Governor who had an almost unlimited range of powers. The Papua Act remained in force until 1949 when Papua was amalgamated with New Guinea to form Papua and New Guinea. After independence in 1975, "and" was dropped and the new nation is called Papua New Guinea (PNG) to signify the construction of a unified entity.
The appointment of a Governor and an Executive Council in Papua did not however lead to any substantial administrative changes. The divisional administration and the village constable system recommended by Griffith was maintained, though it was felt that administrative work should be supported by a local council in each village. The councillors were selected by the villagers themselves rather than appointed by the Government. Their role, however, was largely advisory--on questions of how to improve the quality of life in the villages. While this initiative had a democratic intent, the councillors often became informants rather than decision-makers. They were often manipulated by the colonial officials in supporting positions that were not in the interests of the villages they represented. In effect, they became important cogs in the political and administrative machinery of the colonial state.
By the Second World War, the administrative systems of Papua and New Guinea had become remarkably similar (Downs, 1980). So it was not surprising when in 1941 the two administrations were brought under a single Administrative Unit (Downs, 1980:6-8). The Administrative Unit was known as the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU), and was formed initially to provide support for the War effort (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968:111), but later became a permanent feature of the colonial state. ANGAU was a creation of an Australian Labor Party (ALP) Government, whose Minister for External Affairs, Mr Ward, sought to re-orient Australian policies in Papua and New Guinea away from economic exploitation to a focus on the welfare of the indigenous people. He argued that:
Ward effectively admitted that Australia had not done enough to ensure the development of both Papua and New Guinea. For the first time also he had raised the prospect of self-determination.
Ward's thinking should not, however, be attributed solely to his altruism. The push for self-government for the indigenous people came about as a result of a range of other factors (Downs, 1980:459-484). First, there was the emerging global thinking at the time that, on moral grounds alone, all people should have the right to self-government. This principle was strongly supported by the League of Nations and later by the United Nations. Australia was obliged to promote this principle. Second, the ALP government was sympathetic to the principle of self-government, and had mobilised public opinion behind it. Distrustful of British colonialism, the ALP had itself long opposed colonial activity by Australia in the region. Support for self-government was especially strong among the Australian ex-servicemen who had fought during the War in Papua and New Guinea, who could see no legitimate reason why Australia should remain in a country that had vastly different cultural traditions. Third, the Australian public had increasingly begun to view the administration of Papua and New Guinea as a burden that the taxpayers could no longer afford. And finally, while independence movements in Papua and New Guinea were not as extensive, nor as passionate, as in a number of other countries such as India and Malaya, there were beginning to surface isolated cases of indigenous demands for self-government.
The Australian Government had to heed these factors, and in 1949, the Australian Parliament passed the Amalgamation Act which made the unification of the territories of Papua and New Guinea possible (Parker, 1966a:249). However, these tentative moves towards self-government were not entirely unopposed. The European planters, traders and other expatriates in the unified colony accused the Government of "selling out" to sectional interests within Australia which had no understanding of the Territory and its problems. They argued that the people of Papua and New Guinea were "not ready" for self-government, and that Australian interests were best served by greater economic investment in the territory (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968:128). According to Biskup, Jinks & Nelson (1968), the Europeans in the Territory suggested that even limited self-government was "to kick the Big Firms in the teeth, discourage European enterprise in any shape or form, and subvert all considerations to that of native welfare". They felt that:
In early 1949, the Australian Labor Government instituted a new plan for Papua and New Guinea which emphasised the need to restore law and order after the disturbances caused by the war and promote the economic and political development of the Territory (Downs, 1980). The plan sought to supply social services that had not previously been provided by the Government, including schools and hospitals. The Territory Administration was now directed to provide more physical and human resources, to build infrastructures such as roads and ports, and to establish and expand institutions which were designed to train the indigenous population in public administration so that an independent nation would emerge that was both politically confident and economically strong.
Moves Towards Political Independence
Late in 1949, there was a change of federal government in Australia from Labor to Liberal-Country Party, under Robert Menzies as Prime Minister. This signalled a policy shift in Australia's relationship with PNG. In 1952, the Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, expressed his policy intentions in the following terms:
Unlike the previous Labor Foreign Minister, Hasluck was committed to a gradualist approach and was reluctant to offer PNG independence in the short term (Downs, 1980). There were also changes to the administration with Canberra assuming direct control of the Territory. There was a reduction in authority of the Administrator, who, in many ways, became merely the rubber-stamp for policies determined by the Department of Territories in Canberra.
In making these changes, the Liberal-Country Party Government was effectively responding to the political demands of the traders, planters and other business interests in Papua and New Guinea (Wolfers, 1968). They had viewed the Labor Government's attitudes towards the Territory as a major threat to their economic interests which, after almost fifty years in the Territory, had become entrenched. Not surprisingly, therefore, the new Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, discouraged any talk of self-government for the indigenous people. Within the Government, there was even a suggestion that Papua and New Guinea might become the seventh state of Australia (Biskup, Jinks & Nelson, 1968:135), though this would have contradicted the "White Australia" policy.
This colonialist thinking also conflicted with the Agreement of the United Nations under which Australia had accepted the responsibility to govern the Territory. This Agreement had stipulated that Australia was to ensure that the indigenous customs were protected; that their rights and possessions were not taken away from them; that Australia was to educate the indigenous people; and that it was to ensure that the locals participated in running the affairs of the Territory.
There was considerable debate within Australia about how it might define the scope of its relationship with the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, for Australia clearly faced a number of political dilemmas between its economic interests on the one hand, and its humanitarian commitments to the UN on the other. There was also debate about the kind of development that was appropriate for the Territory and about the level of infrastructure investment that Australia could afford (Beazley, 1968). It cannot be denied, however, that between the end of the Second World War in 1945 and 1973, when the Territory was granted a measure of self-government, Australia did much to develop Papua and New Guinea; but what remains an open question is Australia's motivations and for whom its investment was productive.
As has already been pointed out, the Papua and New Guinea Legislative and Executive Council was established in 1949, with an all-European membership, appointed by Canberra (Mair, 1970:44-45). It was not until 1959 that three indigenous members were also added to the Council, though they were not elected but appointed. However, as they were heavily outnumbered by Europeans, this gesture was mostly symbolic. The opportunities they had to play an influential role in the decision-making were limited. Moreover, they did not represent anybody since they were recognised only by the Europeans, and not by the indigenous people. In the 1950s, Local Government Councils were established in a number of areas (Mair, 1970:81-107). The members of the Councils were elected by the people. The main task of the Councils were to involve the people in the development and improvement of their villages. However, the system proved ineffective for a number of reasons: namely the lack of resources; the lack of its links with traditional structures; and the system's dependence on the much-feared Kiaps for its success. A number of District Advisory Councils were also created to involve the indigenous people in the development of their areas, but these too experienced similar difficulties.
In 1950, the Territory public service was reorganised into a number of functional departments (Dwivedi and Paulias, 1986). In 1952, there were about 1,200 Australian public servants in the Territory, most of whom were appointed while still in their early twenties. They had little administrative experience and were mostly seeking adventure. This number increased to 3,623 in 1960 (Downs, 1980). In all, some 8,000 Australian public servants were recruited during 1949-1975 with almost half of them choosing to stay on in PNG after independence and a small number of them remaining in the country as immigrants. It is interesting to note that in 1952 there were only 334 local officers in the public service (Downs, 1980), most of them occupying junior clerical key positions and thus unable to make a contribution to the major decisions which affected the development of Papua and New Guinea (Parker, 1966b). Downs (1980:116) argues:
The 1960s and 1970s were marked as an era of decolonisation, especially in Africa (Boehan, 1987). Most members of the United Nations were sympathetic towards this cause of independence and it was in this context that there were mounting pressures on Australia to fulfil its obligation to Papua and New Guinea. In 1962, a United Nations Visiting Team toured PNG and made an assessment on the status of the political, economic and educational development of the Territory. After five weeks in the Territory, their assessment was presented in a report that became known as the Foot Report, after the leader of the five member team headed by Sir Hugh Foot, UK Ambassador to the UN. The Report was very critical of the Australian administration and recommended a more comprehensive program of political, economic and educational development and more rapid progress towards independence (Downs, 1980:238-251). In particular, the Report criticised the principle of gradualism in educational development. It suggested the provision of universal primary education, with a plan of rapid growth in secondary education. It also proposed university education, offered through either Australian universities or through the development of a local university. The intention was to produce an educated elite for the purposes of governing the country and for providing the human resources needed for Papua and New Guinea's economic development.
The Report also criticised Australian policies for their failure to attend to the issues of indigenous economic development. It argued that the emphasis on the gradual development of cash crops and plantations would not bring in adequate levels of income to ensure the rapid economic growth required to provide for the emerging needs of the indigenous population. It suggested that the World Bank should survey the country's economic potential and recommend on the measures needed to ensure rapid economic development, perhaps through an emphasis on the construction of secondary industries which would have the potential of producing quick cash returns.
Finally, the Report criticised Australia for being tardy in promoting the Territory's political development. It argued that the decision-making processes in the Territory had remained dominated by Australian officers and that the indigenous people had little say in their own affairs. The Foot Report suggested that a House of Assembly be established with fewer representatives of the Administration and more elected indigenous members. It argued that indigenous people should be given greater opportunities to be able to make decisions that affected them, even if this meant learning from their mistakes on how to govern their own country.
The Australian Government was embarrassed by the Foot Report, and moved quickly to establish a number of reform initiatives. In line with the Report's recommendations, it established Papua New Guinea's first House of Assembly in 1964. The Assembly consisted of sixty-four members, forty-four of whom represented Open Electorates based on population, ten officials of the Australian Administration and another ten Europeans appointed by the Government. The second House and the third House of Assembly were established in 1968 and 1972 respectively. It should be noted, however, that this decision-making structure was largely advisory and that the Administrator and the public service retained a great deal of de facto power.
Also in response to the Foot Report, the Australian Government established a commission of inquiry in 1963 to examine its educational policies in the Territory. The commission was led by Sir George Currie who had headed universities in Australia and New Zealand. In particular, the commission was asked to look at the ways of introducing universal primary education and a more comprehensive system of secondary and tertiary education, including technical education, teacher training and medical, agricultural, and administrative education. In line with Foot's recommendations, the Currie commission concluded that the Australian policy of gradual development in education must be abandoned and that there should be a more rapid expansion of secondary schools and tertiary institutions (Smith, 1975:37). As a result, the 1960s and 1970s witnessed a substantially increased enrolment of students in secondary schools. The University of PNG was also established in 1965, with the expressed aim of providing the emerging nation with an educated elite (Griffin, 1976:100).
Another response to the Foot Report was the establishment in 1965 of a Committee of ten advisers from the World Bank to recommend ways to improve the Territory's economy and its industries (Downs, 1980).
After touring many parts of the Territory, and consulting different sections of the community, officials of the World Bank emphasised three policy areas. First, they suggested that the emphasis of development should be on the areas and provinces which had the greatest economic potential--any investment should thus be strategic and prioritised. Second, they argued that services should not aspire to be like those which were available in Australia, but should be determined with the goal of the widest possible availability in mind--they should reach as many people as possible even if quality had to be compromised. Third, they maintained that the Administration had a major responsibility for encouraging more investment from Australia for large scale capital projects. The World Bank Report also acknowledged the important and continuing role of the European public servants in educational and agricultural development. It suggested that more Europeans might need to be recruited both in public and private sectors to quicken the pace of development.
The Foot, Currie and the World Bank reports proved to be highly influential in shaping PNG policies and programs. Yet, while they recognised the inevitability and desirability of independence, the reports were nevertheless framed within a colonial mode of thinking. In a sense, they assumed, without any doubt, the necessity of European contribution to the development of PNG's political, economic, administrative and educational policies. Despite their efforts to understand the cultural needs of Papua and New Guinea, their concept of progress remained highly ethnocentric, framed by cultural values which viewed development in European terms.
In 1973, Papua and New Guinea was granted self-government. Effectively, this meant the construction of a new relationship between Australia and the emerging nation, based on a functional division of power. All matters to do with internal affairs were transferred to the PNG House of Assembly, with Australia retaining the responsibility over PNG's external affairs, defence and trade. This was considered an interim measure before the final preparation for political independence in 1975. A Constitutional and Planning Committee (headed for the first time by a Papua New Guinean, John Momis) was established to consult the people of PNG and recommend an appropriate form of government for the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. The Momis Report effectively provided the framework for PNG's current Constitution, defining the powers and responsibilities of each of the levels of government. It is this framework which now provides a context in which the politics of devolution are played out.
Between 1973 and 1975, the progress towards full political independence for Papua and New Guinea was rapid. Upon independence in 1975 the new Somare Government recognised the enormous challenges it faced in constructing an indigenous system of public administration. To meet these challenges, the Somare Government embarked on a series of government policies which aimed to overcome two of the colonial legacies: the first concerned the apparent contradiction between the high degree of centralisation of political and administrative powers and the policy intention was to provide for the wider participation in decision-making in the political process; and the second, focussed on the problem of the great inequality in the distribution of wealth and government goods and services (Axline, 1988). The political leaders of PNG thus recognised that despite political independence, which had supposedly marked the end of colonialism, the task of shifting the colonial administrative structures, which had become firmly rooted in the very formation of the nation-state, would not be an easy one. In this section, I want to discuss a number of ways in which PNG's colonial legacy continues to have an impact on the possibilities for reform.
As already pointed out, PNG's colonial system of administration was established partly for the purposes of pacification and the enforcement of law and order. The emphasis was on instituting a form of indirect rule, through the representatives of the colonial authority, the "kiaps", and their indigenous agents, "mausmen". The "mausmen" were selected because they could speak "Tok-pisin", but their authority was not always recognised by the traditional leaders. After independence many of these mausmen assumed positions of considerable power, and became part of a new political elite within the regions, with their relationship to the centre largely unchanged. It was a hierarchical relationship which did not give any formal recognition to traditional leadership.
Before independence, the central administration was mostly staffed by expatriates; very few Papua New Guineans held senior administrative jobs in the public service (Dwivedi and Pitil, 1991). In 1973, a localisation program was established to enable the indigenous people to be trained in management. But this training assumed that the colonial administrative structures would not change in any significant way after independence (Schaffer, 1978). In 1974 and immediately after independence in 1975, the PNG public service witnessed a major exodus of the expatriate heads of departments. They were replaced gradually by indigenous officers who had served under the expatriates, and so become committed to the same colonial ideologies and practices (Dwivedi, 1991). Even with the program of indigenisation, the public service experienced a shortage of well-trained qualified indigenous officers (Turner, 1992). This shortage continues to be overcome by recruiting more expatriates from a number of countries, particularly Australia.
Consequently, a pattern of dependency persists; as does the perception that there are two classes of public servants, not least because the conditions of employment for expatriates are much more attractive. There is a dual salary scale for expatriates and indigenous public servants, and the expatriates are also given other privileges such as free education for their children, return airfares every two years, free rent or subsidised accommodation, and gratuities after the completion of their contracts.
During the colonial period, a centralised public service had been created in PNG to make a range of decisions about the infrastructure needs of the country (Turner, 1991). But there was little in the way of consultation with the villagers and local communities who had come to accept centralised decision-making as natural and inevitable. A dependency relationship had been created: the villagers had felt that the central administration would provide the goods and services they needed. This ideology concerning the role of the central administration continues to inform the way many Papua New Guineans think about the public service. So while villages in PNG were once self-reliant communities, they have now become dependent on government hand-outs and welfare (Dorney, 1990). This pattern of dependency is most evident in the government's expenditure of more than K9 million annually as discretionary funds (Budget Speech, 1993). Every member of parliament receives about K150,000 to distribute in a discretionary way to his or her constituents who have come to expect such "favours". This practice has become institutionalised, and has created a range of problems for both politicians and the public service, which is accountable for the use of public funds on the one hand and is expected to distribute "favours" on the other. Dorney (1990:53) observes:
A parliamentarian expresses this concern in the following terms:
In addition to the creation of an administrative system, the Australian colonial powers had also established PNG's political structure. Prior to the amalgamation of Papua as an Australian protectorate and New Guinea as a UN Trust Territory in 1949, both colonies were administered from Canberra. The political sovereignty of the traditional leaders was stripped away; as was the legitimacy of the political boundaries that had separated tribes (Parker, 1966a:197). The Constable system, for example, had arbitrarily grouped together villages which did not have much in common. This was clearly incompatible with the traditional political systems. Rather, it was created for the administrative convenience of the colonisers (Bonney, 1982). However, after independence, key elements of the Constable system have been retained, creating conditions for considerable conflict between villagers on the one hand, and the new indigenous political and administrative elite arising out of the Constable system, on the other. The same applies to the luluai and tultul system which had originated in New Guinea (Oram, 1973).
Superimposed upon these systems of village governance is the continuing political significance of the expatriates in PNG. Before independence, the expatriates did not work only in the public service, but they were also business people, traders and missionaries, and as such played an important part in the running of the country. Many of them were elected members of the Executive Council and the House of Assembly, holding influential ministerial portfolios. After independence, many of these expatriates chose to stay in PNG, sometimes as immigrants. Some still serve as elected politicians in the PNG parliament. For example, expatriates such as Bruce Jeffcot, Karl Stack, Tim Neville, Barry Holloway and Peter Barker have all held ministries in post-independence PNG governments. These are individuals who retain considerable economic interests in the country which they could be expected to protect from their positions of power. Also, they have an ambiguous relationship with Australia. As expatriates, they keep open the option of returning to Australia in case their economic and political fortunes deteriorate in PNG.
During the colonial period, the expatriates who were traders, farmers and miners saw their relationship with the indigenous people as purely economic. The expatriates needed to create an economic environment necessary for capital accumulation and quick profits. To achieve their objectives, they not only assumed ownership of customary land without payment to the indigenous people, but also began to employ indigenous labour to cultivate their cash crops (Mair, 1970). The indigenous people were thus brought into a new economic system which required them to earn cash in order to receive material goods. Expatriates established stores and began to trade with indigenous people. As a result, tools and utensils made of steel, such as knives, axes and guns as well as pots and pans, began to find their way into the households of the indigenous people. As trading activities became intensified, the indigenous people further accumulated Western goods as substitutes for their own. Also, the traditional methods of exchange, such as the barter system, were gradually replaced by money, and the indigenous people began to use the concept of "exchange of money" amongst themselves.
This concept laid the foundation of a framework of economic policies that the colonial government developed (Fisk, 1966). After the Second World War, there was a shift in policy emphasis away from subsistence economy to cash (urban) economy. During the 1960s and 1970s, this emphasis was extended to trade with the outside world, involving the import of manufactured goods and the export of raw materials. The consequences of these policy shifts have been dramatic for PNG, which has now become dependent on foreign goods. Its economic wealth is now judged against an international yardstick, and the notion of a Third World country is now applied to it; as is the notion of the need for its economic development. It is interesting to note moreover that foreign investors in PNG have been more interested in exploiting PNG's natural resources than in creating indigenous secondary industries which are considered uneconomical, since, from the capital's point of view, the costs of investment outweigh the profits (Waugh, 1989).
After independence, the PNG government has found itself trapped within this global economic logic. In delivering the PNG Government's Policy Statement to the fifth national parliament, the then Prime Minister, Pais Wingti, suggested that:
Thus, PNG continues to place considerable emphasis on the need for foreign investment, permitting the exploitation of its land and sea resources. Initially, most of the companies investing in PNG were either European or American, but more recently the PNG government has encouraged massive investments from Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Singapore (Deklin 1992). Malaysia has, for example, been involved in the exploitation of PNG's timber resources, clearing forests at a rapid rate, much to the consternation of indigenous environmentalists (O'Collins, 1990). Australian companies like BHP have been exploiting mineral resources in Bougainville and in Ok Tedi (Jackson 1983). And Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean trawlers have been extracting fish and other sea products from PNG waters (Waugh, 1992). Many of the foreign companies investing in PNG are engaged in large-scale projects, leaving little opportunity for the development of smaller indigenous companies. Those local companies that have been able to develop have done so in collaboration with multinational corporations which are often linked to major financial institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The local companies have danced to the tune of these international interests.
The rationale for the government's economic policies, which encourage foreign investment, is that it needs the foreign capital to be able to fund the cultural, educational and welfare programs that Papua New Guineans need. The government also believes that this capital is necessary for the nation's social and economic development, and that it needs foreign expertise to achieve its objectives of development. While outlining PNG foreign investment needs to the Australian-PNG Friendship Association in NSW Parliament House, the then Deputy Prime Minister and National Minister for Finance and Planning, Chan (1993:10) suggested that:
Foreign capital often comes with a range of conditions within the framework of which the government is able to develop its domestic policies. The cycle of dependency thus persists, with economic rationality subordinating all other policy concerns.
However, the legacy of colonialism in PNG is not only political and economic, it is also ideological. Colonialism in PNG did not operate only through the work of the expatriate administrators and traders, but also through the work of the missionaries who went out to PNG to change the social outlook of the indigenous people. They sought to bring Christianity to the indigenous people as a way of ensuring their social and economic development. These ideological beliefs articulated with economic interests, since it was believed that for the indigenous people to become "productive" workers they needed the prerequisite beliefs and attitudes that only Christianity could provide. It was not surprising, therefore, that the missionaries sought to achieve their objectives by establishing schools. The schools were expected to teach people how to read and write so that they could understand the Bible. The missionaries also saw themselves as having a major responsibility to develop among indigenous people, those values that contributed to the development of Papua New Guinea as a "civilised" nation.
In one form or another, many of these beliefs about the role of education in the development of the nation are still subscribed to in PNG. In the post-independence era, while the educational emphasis may have become somewhat secular, the rhetoric concerning the importance of education in PNG's economic development has intensified. The policies concerning the need to develop a largely western education system have become institutionalised. It is thought that the traditional educational systems cannot meet the demands of a cash economy increasingly integrated into world markets, and that the nation's development depends on a confident citizenry able to utilise new technologies and relate to the international community.
What this section has sought to demonstrate is that political independence in PNG by itself has not ended colonialism. New forms of colonialism, which articulate with the older forms in a variety of ways, have emerged. The legacy of colonialism has been much more persistent than many might have wished. One of the ways in which this legacy now expresses itself in PNG is through the various discourses of development.
Colonialism, Education and Development
The concept of development is a highly contested one. It can mean different things to different people (Larrain, 1989). In political and social theory, there are few concepts as ambiguous as that of development. Hettne (1990:2) argues:
Debates surrounding the concept of development are often clouded by political ideologies. The same applies to a range of cognate terms, for example, social change, growth, evolution, progress, advancement and modernisation (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:4). In an effort to provide a definition, Fletcher (1976:43) notes that:
The problem with the metaphors Fletcher uses to understand development is that they risk clouding the issues rather the clarifying them. For the notion of social development is much more complex and multifaceted than is implied by the talk of biological growth and maturation.
Most of the discussion on development in the literature (for example, Fagerlind and Saha, 1989) revolves around four models, notably: the classic cyclical model, the Augustine Christian model, the Linear model, and the cyclical linear model. The classic cyclical model is based on the assumption that every society follows a pattern of "the never-ending cycles of growth and decay of all material things" (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:29). It suggests that over time village structures develop into bigger political units and are amalgamated to form nation-states. And when nation-states acquire power and prestige, they become recognised as civilisations. They build and maintain structures and institutions of power that enable them to compete successfully against others. But like all things material, civilisations decay and wither away in time, becoming less important, influential and powerful in relation to other new civilisations that emerge. This process is cyclical, but nonetheless universal in its historical character. Development is therefore that process which characterises the growth of a nation-state within this historical cycle.
The Augustine Christian model of development assumes that the world is heading towards a major catastrophe that would mark the end of all human evil: the "second-coming" of Christ (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:28). This concept is based on Christian teachings, with the Bible as its only source of authority. The end of the world is predetermined and would represent a divine intervention to halt human sin. It is assumed that human beings will increasingly utilise material values to seek their own pleasure, but that this will be halted by a major catastrophic event which will restore spirituality and divine order. This speculative philosophy suggests a metaphysical view of development over which human beings would appear to have little control.
The Linear model suggests that development is "a never-ending progressive movement based on a faith in mankind and the conviction that societies evolve through similar stages" (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:28). It assumes that the stages of development are already defined; that all human societies must go through these stages; and that a linear historical order defines the terms in which a society's development must be measured. The model assumes that all development takes place along a linear scale. That is, a society develops from a stage at which most of its people utilise "primitive" technology to a stage at which they are resourceful, industrialised and possess advanced technology. It is a society's capacity to exploit the material resources found in the natural environment that characterises its stage of development. A society that possesses and uses advanced technology and has a higher standard of economic wealth is referred to as a developed society. Those societies that do not possess material wealth are considered under-developed or developing, in need of greater enterprise and resourcefulness to progress along the linear stages.
And, finally, the linear cyclical model rejects the view that development must always be considered in terms of material progress. It suggests that development must be defined in terms of a society's capacity to change in whichever direction it generally regards as desirable or highly valued (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:28). Gunnar Myrdal, who was the first theorist to put forward this model, argued that the notion of development referred to the general improvement within the entire social system which makes a society distinctive. His definition of development thus includes factors that are not only economic, but significantly also the non-economic, such as education, health and cultural issues (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:29). Development can thus be judged in a variety of ways using economic indicators such as wealth, as well as social and cultural indicators such as spiritual values, communal values and social harmony.
While these four models provide different views of how societies change, it is important to note that each of these models assumes the West to exemplify the highest stage of development. This is not surprising since they are formulated within Western academies, and are articulated from a Western vantage point. Spybey (1992:5) contends:
Spybey (1992:15) points out that each of the four models incorporates a range of functionalist assumptions which "involves a gradual process of change, stipulated by increasing industrialisation and accommodated by the differentiation, adoption and integration of social institutions". In more recent years, these functionalist assumptions and the notion of development as applied to nation-states has been subjected to a great deal of critical analysis (Hettne, 1990). Many of these criticisms are analytical and often focus on the ethnocentricity of much of the field of study that has become known as "development studies". However, these analyses do not explain why the largely western notion of development continues to play an important role in policy discourses in the Third World.
It is suggested that the theoretical discussion of the modernisation, dependency and globalisation theories is relevant here. As has already been mentioned, modernisation theory is based on structural-functionalist thinking regarding social change (Hoogvelt, 1982). This thinking has its roots in the original work of the famous sociologist, Talcott Parson. He argues that each society is composed of a grand System and other sub-systems. These sub-systems are linked and operate harmoniously as part of the System. Parson's thinking has been influential in informing the modernisation theory. Based on Parson's underlying assumption that there is only "one system", modernisation theory suggests people in the "traditional" societies or "backward nations" should adopt the characteristics of modern societies in order to modernise their social and economic institutions (Larrain, 1991). Walt Rostow (1960), an economic historian and adviser to the American government, assumes that in order for the "backward nations" to be modernised they have to go through these "stages of development". These stages are as follows:
(Cited in Spybey, 1992:22)
Modernisation theory assumes the validity of these stages, which first emerged during the Industrial Revolution, and matured in one of the most powerful capitalist countries in the world, the United States. Using modernisation theory, Alavi and Shanin (1982) suggest that Third World countries are thus referred to as "backward nations", while colonies remaining under Europeans are "emergent nations" upon independence and "developing countries" thereafter (cited in Spybey, 1992:21). According to this logic, PNG is a developing nation.
Modernisation theory has been criticised as being Eurocentric, evolutionary and economistic in its perspective. Raoul Prebisch, an Argentinian economist, was one of the first critics of this theory. His critical views of modernisation theory became the basis for the dependency theory, an alternative view on development studies. Dependency theory thus emerged as a reaction to modernisation theory and is largely based on the experiences of the Third World countries, in particular those in Latin America. Since the work of Prebisch, most debates which relate to the issues on development studies revolve around modernisation and dependency theories. Spybey (1992:1) contends:
As already noted, dependency theory constitutes an antithesis to modernisation theory. Hoogvelt (1978:65) argues that the facts of history seem to contradict what the modernisation model expects to happen. The actual practices differ from theory. Third World countries continue to export raw materials and sell them at cheap prices to the industrialised countries. These materials are processed into manufactured goods and later sold back through the world market economy at extremely high costs to the "developing" countries, creating considerable financial burden on them. Their financial needs encourage the Third World countries to seek foreign investment in terms of capital, manpower and technology from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Funds, Asian Development Bank, European Economic Commission and so on. The capital, manpower and technology come in the form of foreign aid either as grants or loans. The loans are mostly conditional and they have to be repaid over a period of time, whereas the grants are utilised mostly in the economic interests of the donor countries or agencies. The recipient countries either have problems in repaying the loans or find it difficult to accommodate the economic demands of the donor countries. Foreign debts to the international financial institutions continue to increase which makes the debted countries' economies even more dependent on them. The "continuing influences" exerted by the aid donors inform the nature of development, policy programs and strategies and as such, often create great dilemmas for the recipient countries. The developing countries thus confront a major contradiction in relation to the aid and loan agencies. On the one hand, they need such aid and loans, and yet on the other hand, they concede far too much power to the international agencies. As Korten (1992:71) maintains:
Dependency theory seeks to address this contradiction, but is not without its own problems. As Spybey (1992:23-24) argues:
Other theorists (for example Immanuel Wallerstein, 1974; Samir Amin, 1974; Harrison, 1988) refer to this dependency relationship as a metropolis-satellite one. Spybey (1992:24) argues that it is a relationship in which the "industrialised West stands in a relationship of exploitation with the Third World". It is suggested that these satellites are subsidiary parts of the Western capitalist system since the spread of European colonialism. Moreover, as Pinto (1962:81) argues:
Despite the problems with both modernisation and dependency theories, it is clear that the language of development has become all pervasive in Third World countries. PNG is no exception. So, from the point of view of this work, the key issues are: why and how have the notions of development become institutionalised in post-independence PNG? What kind of ideological work does the notion of development do in PNG? How is it used in educational discourses in PNG? What implications does this have for the attempts to institute democratic reforms in PNG educational administration?
Ideas and concepts do not occur in a vacuum, but are the products of the social, cultural and historical events surrounding them (Fagerlind and Saha, 1989:5). I want to argue that the language of development has been imported and internalised in PNG through the processes of colonialism, to the extent that most Papua New Guineans cannot imagine a political language that does not invoke development as a foundational idea in PNG politics. In PNG, the concept of development forms the basis of most social and economic policies. Policies concerning health, education, transport, agriculture, mining, commerce and so on are predicated on a notion of development. Much of the public debate in PNG revolves around the issue of what counts as the most effective program of development. Indeed, immediately after political independence in 1975, the sovereign state of Papua New Guinea declared "Integral Human Development" as the fifth Directive Principle in its National Constitution. The principle suggests that:
The reference to "integral human development" in the national constitution was designed to highlight the fact that the western model(s) of development which might have been good for the German, British and Australian colonisers were not necessarily relevant to PNG's political, social, economic, cultural and educational needs; and that political independence had provided PNG with an opportunity to define "development" in its own distinctive way. The term "integral" was therefore chosen to suggest that PNG did not only require economic development, but also development that was consistent with its social and cultural traditions. These traditions are often referred to as "the PNG ways" (Narokobi, 1983), perhaps overlooking the cultural diversity that exists in the country.
What has become clear in the past two decades is that PNG politics have largely been defined by attempts to reconcile differing views of development. This is clearly evident in a budget speech that the Minister of Finance, Paul Pora, delivered in 1991. In this speech, he argued that:
Ultimately, economic growth is not a goal in itself. It is a means to improve the quality of life of the people of the nation and of future generations. Development must occur in ways which preserve resources for the future and which respect the multiplicity of social and cultural groups which make up the country and encourage them to make their unique contribution to the fabric of the nation.
Since 1991, this policy statement has had a major impact on the formulation of sectoral programs and projects, including education, in PNG. Under the colonial rule, the notion of education in PNG had been transformed from a traditional into a "western" one. Colonialist ideologies had basically denied the existence of a traditional education system, and certainly had not legitimised it. Yet education was always important in PNG. Its purpose was to socialise the young people into traditional knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they could become useful members of a community. The colonisers had, on the other hand, regarded this traditional mode of socialisation of the young insufficient for the social, political and economic needs of a new nation-state.
Apart from the purpose of traditional education, PNG's colonial rulers also rejected the manner in which it was traditionally organised and delivered. For them, education was no longer a collective responsibility of the members of the community but the responsibility of a few, who were believed to possess special expertise. Education became a process controlled and administered from a centre by a group of people who had little to do with village life. It was assumed that a western-style classroom was the only site where education could legitimately take place. In the operations of local schools, those residing in the traditional communities were given little opportunity to participate either in decision-making or in teaching activities. Over time, the traditional communities which had a highly sophisticated form of education saw themselves as not possessing the skills required to teach. They became dependent on the state and its bureaucracy to provide both the directions of education, as well as the resources needed to deliver it to their young. Even before political independence, the idea of western education became institutionalised in the PNG communities. In terms of this definition of education, there was now a scarcity of educational resources where no scarcity had existed before. The outside world was now being asked to provide the resources for educational development.
Only those who obtained the new western-style education were regarded as educated, since only they could meet the demands of the newly created State. The knowledge, skills and values they received in western-style schools helped to turn them into members of "new elites"; and it is they who inherited the power that had once been held by the colonisers. But importantly, they wished to universalise the education that had made them successful, and they saw it as an essential ingredient for the social and economic development of PNG.
However, the western educational system has not been without its social costs. The children who have become educated in western style education have mostly moved away from the communities to which they once belonged. They have become alienated from their land, and their people; and yet many of them have not been absorbed into the new society of the elites. They have become misfits. The problem of extensive levels of youth alienation in PNG is arguably linked to these contradictions.
These contradictions have not remained unrecognised by PNG policy makers. After independence, there were moves to create a synthesis between traditional and western modes of education. And while such a synthesis has proved to be difficult to conceptualise and implement, the rhetoric surrounding the need for such a synthesis persists. Educational planners and administrators have found it difficult to implement a hybrid system. However, the challenge remains, and serves to define the broader political context within which the policy of devolution has been implemented. Devolution has been viewed as an important strategy to ensure the development of an educational system that reconciles the competing demands of the traditional ways of life and life in a society that is increasingly determined by the cultural imperatives of a cash economy. In the next chapter, I examine the concept of devolution as it relates to the ways education is administered in Papua New Guinea.
About CopyrightMaterials on this web site are the Copyright © of contributors. Permission to make a single copy of all or part of this material is granted provided the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage. Copies should include this copright statement and a statement that that permission for limited copying has been granted by the copyright owners.
To disseminate otherwise or republish, requries written permission. Contact: John Evans, by email , Papua New Guinea.
Note - While efforts are made to ensure accuracy this publication could include errors or inaccuracies and no responsibility is taken for the consequences of its use. Information will be updated on a regualar basis and content can be expected to vary considerably over time.
About BUAI(BUAI - stands for Books Useful Articles & Information)
BUAI seeks to provide a virtual home for a growing collection of research level electronic material on and from Papua New Guinea.
CreditsWeb Site Development manager & Creativity Consultant:
Dr. John Evans
Web Site Photographic Contributions