By ANDREW ALPHONSE in TARI
CLASSES at Dauli Teachers College in Tari, Southern Highlands province, were suspended on Monday as lecturers walked off in protest over the prolonged power failure affecting the operations of the college.
Principal Dale Tinol confirmed that the 18 lecturers at the college withdrew their services as of
Monday, frustrated at the lack of action by relevant Government authorities in restoring electricity supply to the college.
Mr Tinol said since the nearby Dauli mini-hydro broke down 15 years ago, the college used a standby 200KVA Perkins diesel-powered generator to light up the college.
The generator provides lights to staff houses, students’ dormitories, lecture halls, mess and dining halls and other buildings on the campus.
It is also used to pump water for washing, cooking and for ablution blocks in the college.
Mr Tinol said the lecturers said they could not continue to work under duress as they needed power at homes and also to prepare and teach lessons in classes.
He said last year, the generator also broke down and the lecturers sacrificed for five weeks teaching using candle lights, which affected the end-of-the-year academic assessments for the students.
He said the problem was rectified when a part of the generator was ordered from overseas and fitted.
However, the generator broke down again just as the college was gearing up for the commencement of classes for the new academic year three weeks ago, causing chaos.
Mr Tinol said he has already briefed Southern Highlands provincial government and the Teacher Education Division at the Department of Education in Waigani on the power problem at the college and was waiting
for their responses.
He said in the meantime, about 300 students at the college would be missing out on classes.
“Students will be missing out on their lectures because there’s nothing the school can do in terms of electricity,” Mr Tinol said.
Staff and students will have to put up with candle lights at night.
Dauli is home to Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, who has been briefed on the power problem at the college.
It is understood K4 million was allocated under the National Government’s RESI programme in this year’s provincial government budget to upgrade the facilities at Dauli Teachers’ College.
It is not known if part of this money would be used to purchase a new gen-set for the college.
Mr Tinol said about K200,000 was needed for a new generator that could provide for the power needs of the college.