A leading academic in Papua New Guinea says many first year university students fail because they lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.
The Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea, Professor Kenneth Sumbuk, in a speech marking Literacy Week, says many students do not get past their first semester because of poor skills in reading, writing and mathematics.
Our correspondent, Oseah Philemon, says Professor Sumbuk detailed wide disparities in student skill levels and called for a nationwide lift in the quality of education offered in high schools.
"They need to standardise it in order for fairness and also to bring the quality of the students up before they go into university, because otherwise a lot of them are actually being failed after the first semester. So it is not a problem that is going to be addressed overnight, it is a long term PNG problem that goes with the reform system of education that has been introduced into this country."
Professor Sumbuk says PNG's low literacy rate is why most of the highly skilled jobs in the LNG projects are being filled by foreigners.