The National, Monday November 4th, 2013
By JUNIOR UKAHA
SALUS Community School in Salamaua, Morobe, opened two new school buildings last week.
The community turned up to witness the opening – not only because it would benefit their children but because the buildings were the first modern facility in Salus – which has not seen government services for years.
School head teacher Woena Bera said the buildings were built under the SLIP (School Learning Improvement Plan) programme and funds were from the government’s Tuition Free Fee (TFF) programme.
Bera said the two buildings cost K48,000.
“These buildings would normally cost around K130,000 but we built them for less,” Bera said.
“Labour and the timber were supplied by the villagers,” she said.
Bera, who has four female teachers working with her, said they had not received any support from the Morobe government or district administration when they started the school.
“We were operating under morauta leaves since 2008 when the school started,” Bera said.
The buildings, which contained four classrooms and two teachers’ offices, would be used by about 300 students from the school.
Bera said despite the building being completed, they needed 100 new desks, six teachers’ chairs and tables and four blackboards.
“We have only grades one to five at the moment but we are planning on taking Grades 6 next year and taking Grade 8 by 2016,” Bera said.
Contractor Titus Jack, from Kiko Dust Contractors, said his company had assisted the school by providing a portable sawmill transportation, carpenters and logistics for the job.
“We did not make much money but we just assisted the community as part of our community obligation,” Jack said.
He said the villagers provided all the labour and material except the roofing irons, concrete and nails that had to be sourced from Lae.
Morobe deputy administrator Patilias Gamato, who was invited to open the buildings, told the community that it had done the right thing by investing in education.