Papua New Guinea
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Country improving in IT and STEM for next generation

On Independence Day of 1975, one of the colonisers had asked the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare who would be the pilots, doctors and engineers of the country now that the Australians had left?

He had simply pointed at mothers standing at the assembly line in their traditional attire and had said, “You see these mothers?

They will give birth to those pilots, doctors and engineers.”

Forty-eight years into Independence and we see that dream become a reality with several doctors, engineers and pilots in our country.

With the new age comes the rise of the Digital era and our country is improving a path in IT and S.T.E.M for the next generation, not just for the young men but for the young women as well.

Crystal Kewe is one example of the potential of our own PNG women when it comes to the field of IT.

Kewe who hails from Sepik province, 24 years old and is the Co-Founder and CEO of Crysan (Krai-sen) Technology Ltd, a Port Moresby-based Software Company she started with her father at 15.

She is a self-taught Software Engineer and Entrepreneur.

She won 2018’s Westpac Outstanding Women awards in the Young Achiever category.

She has teams on-shore and off-shore developing technology projects that have gained the attention of tech giants like Google, governments and other groups all across the world.

Because her talents in IT were not recognised and nurtured in school as the education system only put importance to other subjects and not a lot in world of Math and IT, she soon left and founded her own company all without a Grade 12 certificate.

From her experiences, she believes that in order for a change to start, there has to be change in the education system and for children who might want to be interested in coding, computers, math, physics or engineering in the future to have an early exposure and encouragement.

In the field of IT, most of our students at the secondary level will learn theory and basic computing so by the time they reach University, they experience culture shock with technology.

This should not be the case after 48 years of independence.

PNG should have great STEM programs, classes and a safe environment for students so they may be creating new opportunities for the country as a whole.

Though the government has already taken a step in that direction with the IT program this year with Prime Minister James Marape having the top Grade 10 students in mathematics and science going to study in the US under the National Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Scholarship Program which is funded by the government, and with NICTA’s Girls in IT Scholarship program.

Investing in creating IT safe environment in schools especially at the primary school level all across the nation can usher in a new age of digitally smart young people who lead the nation into the new era.

Most governments and business as looking to the IT world and language of coding to function.

They also need new technology flowing in to help with new world problems and to entertain them.

Our country can provide that instead of looking to foreign shores and buying technology or software from overseas.

In an article written by the Australian High Commission on Women and Girls in STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, it was stated that countries worldwide are using STEM education to drive socio-economic development and promote equality.

This can be done in PNG.

STEM classes help young people develop enquiring minds, by supporting students to develop research, critical thinking and problem-solving skills rather than just absorb information.

The next generation of PNG’s STEM inspired children could build the word’s flying car or a machine that could solve world hunger if they were given the chance.