A beeline was made by the Papua New Guinea foreign minister when he came to India, to a small Tamil Nadu village to learn about a new non-formal education system. For Samul T Abal, minister of foreign affairs, trade and immigration, one of the highlights of the first ministerial trip from Papua New Guinea in 30 years was a trip down south, where he visited the Dr. Chandran Devanesan Rural Community College in Tamil Nadu's Kancheepuram district. Xavier Alphonse, the director of the coordinating agency for community colleges, Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education (ICRDCE), is already known to the Papua New Guinean government. He had visited Papua New Guinea last year to oversee the government's new scheme to set up a chain of community colleges.
Thirty-four Papua New Guineans have already been trained at ICRDCE, who will be working in the two pioneering community colleges that are under construction. During his field visit in Tamil Nadu, Abal was impressed at the way lives were being changed by providing access to education in economically backward areas. In fact, he has asked his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna to schedule a trip to Papua New Guinea this year, so that he could be taken to those areas where the Indian-assisted colleges will be functioning.