The National, Monday 25th March 2013
By PISAI GUMAR
RABAIAH Ben Pamaraka, five, and his schoolmates from the Garagasi elementary school, Lalok in Astrolabe Bay, Raicoast district, Madang were delighted to sit properly with desks for the first time to read and write.
The 210 pupils could not wait for their teacher in-charge Raymond Kandam and school chairman John Balla to give instructions.
They raced off to the local carpenter’s house as early as 6am to carry their desks to their classrooms. There was relief and joy.
After the school was relocated from Bongu to Lalok in 2004, the school administration struggled with a semi-permanent double classroom with bamboo walls to cater for children from Rereu and Lalok villages.
Almost K4,000 was spent to build 25 desks.
Kandam’s first intake sat on sand, learned and graduated after completing Grade 8 at Bugajim Primary last year.
Kandam said the desks were built using school project fees, K1,000 from local landowner company Wassmatau and government subsidy.
The money was spent to purchase plywood, nails and bolts at Hardware Haus.
Five local carpenters were engaged to build the 25 standard desks.
“One critical issue was the delay by the provincial teacher trainers (TOT) to organise trainers to help pre-school teachers, adding more pressure to local teachers as we kept struggling to improvise.
Pupil numbers kept increasing,” Kandam said.