Acting Chief Secretary and Secretary of the Department of Personal Management (DPM), Mr John Kali said this when renewing the agreement with Divine Word University (DWU) for the university to continue offering Masters and Bachelor degree programs for public servants.
Mr Kali signed the agreement with DWU President Fr Jan Czuba at the Madang campus last Friday, paving the way for the third cohort of public servants to take up the Master of Public Administration (MPAdmin) and Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) programs this year.
The signing took place in front of 17 MPAdmin awardees, senior public servants who are on campus for the two-week residential component of their studies. The public servants in the BPA program, who are mostly district-based staff, joined their MPAdmin colleagues this week.
Mr Kali said the public service system often copped criticism for the wrong reasons and this view needed to be changed by improving public servants with education and training so they could be ethical and committed to serve the nation.
He said in the formative years of PNG, the government had a strong learning and development program for civil servants but this had died out.
Mr Kali said during the review of the public service it was found that “the public service seemed to lack something”.
“Learning and development has taken second fiddle” and the public service was performing under par.
He challenged the public servants to embrace the study opportunity at DWU and graduate with flying colours in two years to institute positive change in their workplaces.
Mr Kali said the government was serious about improving the public service and the sponsorship of civil servants to study in DWU and other institutions reflected the commitment.
He said as a result of the government’s commitment, it had increased the scholarship numbers to DWU from the previous two cohorts.
“You are the ones who will deliver,” Mr Kali told the Masters students who are senior public servants from departments and agencies.
The Government is funding the study at DWU through the Public Sector Workforce Development Program (PSDWP) which has been put place to train and upskill public servants.
Mr Kali said the government through the DPM was pleased with DWU’s delivery of the programs in the previous two cohorts and decided to renew the contract for the third cohort.
The Secretary commended Fr Czuba for the foresight in allowing DWU to provide education opportunities for public servants to improve their performances.
Fr Czuba said DWU was committed to serving the country and it was pleased to educate public servants.
He said public servants were the “face” of the country going forward and it needed them.
“You are the public servants who will change this country. Change has to start somewhere,” Fr Czuba said.
He told the public servants that the studies they were enrolled in would prepare them to deal with the development needs and challenges going forward.