Cults and Generation Names in Papua New Guinea Tertiary Institutions: A Case Study - Passam National High School
Map of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cult is a system of religious or spiritual beliefs, especially an informal and transient belief system regarded by others as misguided. It is unorthodox, meaning that it is not practiced or conformed to the accepted or established form of a religion. It is a false, and directed by a charismatic, having possess great powers of charm or influence by authoritarian leader.
Most students in national and secondary schools in Papua New Guinea fall into this transient system of belief. They have their own belief system and practice devil worship in their dormitories. They focus on darkness, death, torture, suicide and immorality.
Cult is total opposition to Christian moral values and beliefs. There are different types of cults practiced in the national high schools. One of them is the generation name which is popularly practiced in the national high schools.
Generational names are one of the main parts of the cult that is practiced in national high schools. These are secret nicknames which are passed from one generation to next generation of students before leaving National High Schools. This is done in order to avoid losing the generational name. This event happens every year for incoming and outgoing students who practiced this system of worship. The grade twelve (12) students who have a generational name attempt to pass the name onto the incoming grade eleven (11) students before graduating.
However, not all students have generation names because they resist the pressure of the initiation process. It is only about 30 – 50% of National High School students do practice this cult activities.
The generational name evoke from the subculture activities practiced in national high schools. Subcultures are small groups of students within school who have common interest, goals and share their ideas.
The subculture generational name is regarded as negative because the groups’ values and practices are considered harmful. It is also threatening by the general population of students.
Generation Name Characteristics
The generation name has its own characters. The name is more than just a nickname that is used. Each name comes with a personality or character. These are set of personal values and behaviors that the student bearing the name is expected to exhibit or display.
Some types of Generation Names
Dress in Black
Bel Hat Man
The passing of generational name has been associated with the following;
- Claiming of territory within and outside of school
- Harmful initiation rites
- Creation of hierarchical structure of power amongst group members
- Sexually promiscuous behavior
- Making high performing students complete assignments for other group members
- In extreme cases, devil worshiping and occult rituals
- Bullying of other students
Student subcultures are more common in boarding schools, especially the national high schools. There are several causes of subculture to be name but all are not similar in all schools. This would simply depend on the administration of the schools. Here are some causes of subculture.
- Weak in religious activities, insufficient support by teachers
- Poor living condition – dormitories and ablution facilities
- Students frequently off campus without knowledge of school staff
- Parental and community influences are much weaker
- Students lack supervision of teachers
- Inexperienced young teachers, lack confidence to handle students problems
- Students come from troubled backgrounds.
- Lack school based counsellors
These issues are vulnerable to the attractions of extreme social behaviors. Subculture activities often reflect social problems in society as a whole, which schools have limited control over it.
Strategies to avoid Subculture
Like any other organization, when there is maladministration and the handling of discipline matters, the problems occur. However, here are some strategies that will help to minimize the problem of subculture in national high schools in Papua New Guinea.
The school administration needs to be knowledgeable in all aspects of administrational matters. The principal of the school should be trained to be content with leadership capability.
- The policy on students’ behavior management should be emphasis in all national high schools. There should be a tougher policy for student bridging these policies.
- Review the current education policy. Some are not necessarily relevant and causing problems in schools.
- Christian Religious Education (CRE) should be compulsory practiced in all national high schools. Students can grow well with Christian moral values and beliefs.
- Renovation of students living condition. The dormitories and ablution facilities need to be maintained for the betterment of the students.
- All National High Schools should have school based counselors. The counselor can counsel students to help themselves as teachers have no time in doing the counseling of students.
These are some main strategies that are seen to be helpful to minimize the negative subcultures practiced in national high schools. The Education Department should consider and seriously take action into it to cut down on cults and generational names activities in schools.
It has been seen that before reform that was late 1960 to 1980, national high schools operated well under guiding ethos of unity in diversity. They produced more young people to fill places at university and other tertiary institutions. The schools facilities were well equipped, adequately financed, and generally staffed by experienced teachers. The students’ problems were well managed and dealt with as it arise.
When reform comes in, these trends have change dramatically. Papua New Guinea has experienced widespread social change resulting in fewer training and employment opportunities for school leavers. It has increased law and order problems and the loss of a degree of tradition control.