The National, Monday October 21st, 2013
AT the beginning of 2013, the Simbu Teachers’ College was established, an initiative of the Simbu Provincial Government to train primary school teachers so after they graduate, they would be posted to teach in the rural and disadvantaged schools in the province.
This initiative is closely linked to the provincial government’s policy on education and is supported by its theme “Go Rural, Go Ples”.
The college was once a Resource Centre, but has been put to good use to train students to become primary school teachers in the future.
The college enrolled 300 trainees at the start of the school year but is left with 270 students.
An important reason why the college was instituted was because Chimbu has been experiencing shortage of teachers for some years.
It occurred because many schools are located in the rural and disadvantaged areas.
These areas do not have vital government services, such as health and banking.
As essential services were not available, teachers posted there were not committed to teach the students and eventually left their schools and moved somewhere else without the authorities’ attention.
The 270 students at the college are taught by 16 qualified lecturers – five females and 11 males.
The college has six classrooms. It has a dining hall, including a dormitory for females that was made available on campus.
The male students live with their parents or guardians outside the campus and attend classes during the day. This situation has seen successful since the college’s inception because the local community in which the college is situated, has supported its operation.
The college has a station manager whose responsibilities include operational matters.
Clement Kaupa, from the Sinasina district is the principal of the college, while his deputy, Luke Kornelius is from the Gumini district.
Both administrators are locals and they are passionate about building the college to its full potential.
Of the 270 students who attend the college, most are females.
In addition, they said most of the students are from the Karamui district, an area that shares its main border with Eastern Highlands, Gulf and Southern Highlands.
Karimui is the most isolated area which can only be accessed by air. Some students come from the Jimi district, Jiwaka.
They said students from the Karamui and Jimi districts were sponsored by their MP.
The 16 lecturers’ salaries are paid by the governing council for the Simbu Teachers’ College, while their housing is met by the provincial administration.
The long-term dream would be that for the college to be elevated from the current level, 10, to 20 so that the college could enrol more students and recruit more lecturers.