The National, Friday 14th September 2012
By ELLEN TIAMU
AN educationist in Morobe says the lack of provincial education board meetings in the past five years is behind the problems schools face in Lae, a claim that the board chairman denies.
Board chairman Murika Bihoro says school clashes were a problem unique to Lae because of the different people and cultures in the city.
“Nearly half of the population of the city comes from settlements and that culture (rivalry) is brought into schools,” he said in Lae yesterday.
He said many teachers in secondary and high schools in the city and province were inexperienced in dealing with complex issues outside of teaching.
“Discipline in schools is everybody’s concern and we will do everything under the sun to bring normalcy back,” Bihoro said.
He said the provincial education board had been consistently meeting until three months ago when he resigned to contest the elections.
Bihoro also rejected provincial police commander David Warap’s comment that fighting inside or outside school boundaries were a matter for the schools.
“Police must understand that the provincial education board’s school rules clearly indicate that law and order issues that happen outside the school grounds are a police matter.”
He said the issue of school fights and cults were ingrained issues that needed greater consultative talks before they could be resolved.
“There was an incident at Bugandi Secondary school in 2005-6 where the board sacked 100 students, so for critics to say that we have not been hard on bad behaviour is not true,” he said.
A senior public servant, who did not want to be named, said yesterday the board was supposed to meet four times a year.
“Bihoro has been provincial education adviser for 10 years but it seems education matters in the province are getting worse under his management,” the source said.
“By his statement in The National, he is admitting his own mistakes as manager of education in the province.
“He should have appointed a task force years ago to look into inter-school clashes while the problem was still in its early stages.”
The source said he was surprised to read that Bihoro was back as provincial education adviser.