By STEPHEN DAWANICURA
UNITED Church Bishop Salot Taran blessed the event and in his opening prayer highlighted the pride and gratitude of the people of New Ireland in particular the biggest beneficiaries, the youth of the province.
Among dignitaries present were Grand Chief, Governor Sir Julius Chan and senior officials from his provincial administration, Deputy Secretary for Technical Vocational Education & Training, TVET and UNESCO Godfrey Yerua and members of the Port Moresby Business College Governing Council.
In his usual brief opening remarks John Lasisi August, principal of both Port Moresby and Kavieng Campuses praised the community, stakeholders, and provincial government for their support that enabled a project he started with a few likeminded educational advocates a decade ago, now become a valuable asset of the people of the province.
“Every step with have taken forward from day one has been careful and measured because through education the livelihood of the children of New Ireland is at stake,” said August.
“And whilst we are by no means big in size nor reached our full potential with our infrastructure visions as of yet, our curriculum continues grow and progress at a rapid rate due to talent and demand of a student population that increases every year here in Kavieng.”
An obviously proud Governor Sir Julius Chan applauded the principal and staff of the Port Moresby Business College and its sister campus in Kavieng highlighting the attention his government had also focused on education.
“When I became governor there was only one high school in our province. Today we have seven, a clear indication that we are walking the same path together by providing this vital birth right to our children and allowing our people to take ownership of their destiny through education.”
Provincial education chairman, Graham Lali further highlighted the exponential growth in education over the past decade in the province during his remarks and commended the business college for both the input of their international staff and future plans to localise all academic and administrative staff.
The international staff came close to stealing the show with several performances of their Sri Lankan, Filipino, and African cultures adding colour and zest to the festivities and attracting much attention and rousing applause.
The vocational centers were also out in force from as early as 6am on the day to construct stalls to promote their skills and handicrafts to the public at large.
Many like St Mary’s Vocational Center, Lemakot, St Joseph’s Vocational, Fisoa, and Namatanai Vocation Center had driven in from great distances.
Even the Anelave Vocational Center got in on the act, travelling in by sea from the Lavongai area and like their counterparts, put together groups for a town drive float parade.
Each institution also had reinforcements backing up to be a part of the eleven cultural groups that performed simultaneously throughout the day with dancers representing local areas from Papliang village, Pinpidik, Tangara, Kavieng Town, to Kaselok village as well as Manus, Buka, and the Solomon Islands.
Governing council chairman, Peter Itzap and his deputy Gogobe Mairi were invited to oversee a special unveiling ceremony with Grand Chief Governor Sir Julius Chan and Graham Lali.
Following a prayer and the official blessing by Father Mark Kombeng of the Catholic Church it was revealed for the first time in public that the Port Moresby Business College had officially re-branded their facilities from the Kavieng Off-Campus to the “Kavieng School of Business, Tourism & Hospitality Studies”.
By noon customary ceremonies ensued, acknowledging key individuals that have paved the way for the milestones and successes behind the scene in Kavieng over the past 10 years.
This also included the presentation of food items in which 13 pigs were prepared in traditional mumu style for distribution and consumption by all present to mark the 10th anniversary celebrations.
The team of John Posemofof and his educational stalwart wife Julie Posemofof formed the core of a hard working collaborative team from Fangalava village that ensured that every woman, child, and man in attendance were catered for.
At the conclusion of formal proceedings and the traditional ‘kastom wok’ performances went into a frenzy as crowds swarmed from point to point around the Kavieng town oval over the next few hours to soak up the entertainment and visit the vocational center stalls and Port Moresby Business College information booths.
The festival-like atmosphere on Thursday, Sept 8 was the perfect prelude to Independence activities for Kavieng locals and the 10th anniversary occasion itself more than enough reason for the people of New Ireland to continue celebrations.
By STEPHEN DAWANICURA