By ANDREW ALPHONSE in MENDI
TEACHERS who volunteer to take up teaching in very remote and isolated schools in the Kagua-Erave district in Southern Highlands province will have their salaries doubled this year.
This is an initiative by Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea in his bid to lure teachers to serve in some of the most remote schools in his electorate.
Mr Lagea made the announcement last week in Mendi during a special provincial assembly sitting to pass the 2010 budget of K275 million
He said the Kagua-Erave joint district budget priority and planning committee (JDBPPC) had allocated K100,000 which had been deposited in a trust account and managed by the district education officers for the programme.
“Any teacher who wishes to teach in Molape, Tiri, Tigi and Waposale will be entitled to the salary increase every fortnight.
“For example, if the Department of Education pays these teachers K400 net per fortnight, then the district would also pay them additional K400,” he said.
Mr Lagea said the JDBPPC had also allocated another K100,000 to third level airliner, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) to help subsidise airfares for teachers travelling to the schools.
“The teachers can fly from the remote schools every fortnight to Mt Hagen for shopping and banking before returning back to the schools.
“The school year begins this week and any teacher willing to take up post in the remote schools would also be given K2,000 to help them settle in for the new academic year,” he added.
Mr Lagea said teachers nationwide who wish to take up the offer and challenges of teaching in remote schools in Kagua-Erave “can contact the provincial education office in Mendi so that arrangements could be made to move them into the schools”.
He said the JDBPPC had decided to provide these initiatives in order to re-open some of the very isolated schools that have been closed down as they were unreachable by road.
“Schools like Molape are located between the border of Gulf and Southern Highlands and is about seven days walk from Erave station.
“This school needs to be opened as children there have been denied basic education for a long time,” Mr Lagea said.
“To improve the image of education in the province, the JDBPPC has also allocated K500,000 to a tailoring company to provide school uniforms for students attending the Sugu Valley, Kagua, Erave and Gobe Agro-Tech high schools in the district.
He added that JDBPPC would also continue to help pay fees for students from the electorate attending various tertiary institutions in the country.
“Last year, we paid K200,000 for this programme and we will continue with another K200,000 this year,” he said.