PNGUOT Chancellor Sam Koim welcomes Unitech students and staff for 2024 Academic Year

“Nurturing Technocrats and Embracing Innovation”

Dear Members of the Unitech Family,

As we embark on the exciting journey of the 2024 academic year at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, it is with great pleasure and anticipation that I extend a heartfelt welcome to all students and staff.

To our incoming first-year students, congratulations on securing a coveted spot among more than 31,000 grade 12 students who graduated last year. Your dedication and hard work have earned you a place at our esteemed institution. Over the next four years, your education will be a collaborative effort, supported not only by your personal endeavours but also by the contributions of your parents, guardians, the university and the government.

In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s world, where the job market is shrinking and growing more competitive, the significance of a quality education cannot be overstated. Challenges in gaining admission to university are mirrored by the hurdles of securing employment afterward. Employers express concerns about the readiness of graduates to enter the workforce, necessitating additional training to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Recognizing these challenges, Unitech has strategically intervened to enhance the quality and relevance of the education provided. Serving on the Council since 2017, I am proud of the strides we have taken. Among our key initiatives, we are delighted to announce that all our engineering courses have received provisional accreditations from Engineers Australia—a testament to the high standards we uphold. Efforts are underway to achieve full accreditation by the end of this year, and we are also collaborating with CPA PNG to infuse a work-ready flavour into our business studies courses. All other professional courses offered by PNGUoT are also in the process of being benchmarked or accredited to international or industry standards.

Furthermore, we’ve substantially increased the Research and Development Budget to foster meaningful research endeavours led by both academics and students. A university, in essence, should be a hub where knowledge is created, stored, and distributed. Unitech consistently publishes some of the best peer-reviewed papers each year, and I encourage you to delve into this rich repository of knowledge.

To address the practical aspects of education, we’ve initiated a “farming as a business” project, offering potential training opportunities for our students. The farm not only serves as a practical learning ground but also contributes food supplies to the students’ mess, embodying an integrated business model.

Our commitment to good governance is evident in the consecutive periods of receiving unqualified (clean) audit reports from the Auditor General. With only a few legacy issues predating our time, the University is in a healthy financial position than ever before.

Looking forward, I implore each of you to harness the transformative potential of technology. The democratization of knowledge through the internet, artificial intelligence, and other tools compels us to learn swiftly and achieve more in less time. The technological advancements we currently enjoy were unavailable when some of the individuals who pioneered remarkable inventions during their university years—such as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (Apple), and Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (Snapchat)—were students.

As a technology-oriented university, we should lead in developing novel ideas to address the developmental challenges of our nation. The Council and Management of the university are ready to support innovation, and thus, we encourage scholars and staff to embrace the challenge. I believe that Papua New Guinea has the potential to produce some of the most outstanding innovators, hence this call to action.

To our continuing students and dedicated academic staff, embrace the inherent drive for progress and productivity. Each day presents an opportunity for improvement, building upon the achievements of yesterday, last week, and last year. As we celebrate our past accomplishments, let us press on, for the best is yet to come!

Those who have attained greatness share certain traits. Greatness does not befall those unwilling to commit to hard work and discipline. While God may have grand plans to prosper you, you must be willing to labour diligently to realize those plans. Allow me to share a personal story that mirrors our collective journey of growth and progress. Whether navigating the academic landscape or venturing into the professional realm, my guiding principle has consistently been a commitment to surpassing my peers by tenfold. Aspiring to be ten times ahead of your peers demands a willingness to make sacrifices and instill a disciplined approach into your daily endeavours.

The behaviours and discipline you cultivate during your time at school will inevitably shape the standards you carry into your future workplace. In this increasingly competitive world, there is no room for those who casually gamble with opportunities. If you take it casually, you will be a casualty! Therefore, I encourage each of you to recognize the significance of today’s choices, as they will invariably mould your path towards future success. The commitment to excellence and the cultivation of a strong work ethic now will undoubtedly serve as the foundation for a successful and fulfilling professional journey.

Stay committed, work diligently, and embrace the challenges that come your way, for they are stepping stones towards your goals.

Best wishes for a rewarding and transformative academic year and May God Bless you all.

Warm regards,