By TONNY MABEN
URUPU swamp in the Pai area of Tari has undergone a major transformation that will, no doubt, benefit people in the Hela province. Located in the Tari Pori district, the marshland is no more with buildings now standing in the three hectare potion of land.
A state-of-the-art health facility, built especially for pregnancies and births has been placed there. Added to that, a multi discipline education centre catering for school leavers who wish to pursue higher education or those wanting to take up basic skills training have also been built on the piece of land that was once written off as not suitable for much.
Tari Pori MP and Minister for Finance, James Marape, with the support from the Tari Pori District Development Authority, started on the project two years ago (2014) with work now nearing completion.
The project is fully funded by the Tari Pori District development authority and scheduled to be commissioned in February next year when the first intake of students register for class.
The multi discipline educational institution will accommodate three main streams – a university matriculation program for youths who left school, adult literacy programs, and certificate courses for those who want study agriculture, business, safety and health hygiene, tourism and hospitality, carpentry, mechanic and electrical, plumbing and store keeping.
The buildings were built by Tari Pori Development Corporation and Matrix Construction with the whole area planned out well to capture efficiency, cohesiveness and comfort for both institutions
Situated between the multi regimented educational facility and the maternity wing is a dining hall that’s large enough to accommodate 800 people. A library is also within the same building.
An administration building is located in the center of an 18-room lecture block, with the rooms also available as study rooms when devoid of classes.
Male and female students have an accommodation block each with enough room to fit around 160 boarding students.
There are 18 staff houses also located there.
The maternity wing has a unique design with each room fitted with an air condition unit, single bed, toilet and shower, multichannel TV, and a rest place for visitors. The 100- plus fully serviced rooms surround a chapel that stands within a manmade lake.
Health workers and ancillary staff also have accommodation similar to those at the education centre.
“We are going to ensure that whoever attends the education institute will be educated to the best of their aptitude. If they want to continue further it’s up to them. We want to create an institution that will breed employers and not employees only,” Marape said.
The Tari Pori district has opted to outsource matters relating to education to a reputable educational institution to manage and run the campus.
Prof Wayne Sampey, who runs an international education program called “Earth Science”, has visited the campus and planning is already under way to include him in the venture.
PNG LNG partners, including Kumul Petroleum Holdings, have indicated that Pai Educational Institute would be the entry point for Hela and Southern Highlands students who have an interest in oil and gas sector studies.
Marape has continuously urged his people to invest in education so that they can be self-reliant in the future. The education facility is part of a huge growth of infrastructure and development that is currently engulfing Hela.
An Israeli firm is working to develop the Piwa Agro Industry with the place earmarked for students who graduate with certificates in agriculture from the centre.
Other technical training institutions in Tari Pori will be working in partnership with the Pai Educational Campus.
Roderick Irepo, project manager for the community college, says that almost 80 percent of the facility is complete. During a recent visit with a representative from the Education Department, he said what remained to be built is a workshop for the practical aspects of training in mechanical and allied course, carpentry and allied courses and electrical and allied courses.
“Nevertheless, about 90 percent is done and we are happy that it will begin next year. The onus is now on the Provincial Education Board to reactivate the recently closed Tari Technical and Vocational School”, Irepo said.
“It’s a great initiative by the leader (Marape), because it will help the bulk of Hela students into blue collar jobs.”
Irepo has made a recommendation to the Hela provincial education board to reactivate the Tari technical and vocational school and, as such, give the green light for operations at the new Educational Centre to commence.
The Education Centre is wholly owned by the Tari Pori people through the Tari Pori District.
- The writer is a freelance media specialist.