School rejoices over new buildings

Ramu NiCo (MCC) corporate office staff Eugene Basil (middle) was given the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the new double classroom at Bibi Primary School.

IT WAS double celebrations last Wednesday, Sept 30, 2021 at remote Bibi Primary School in Astrolabe Bay LLG of Rai Coast, Madang.
The school witnessed the opening of a new double classroom and a new teacher’s house in fine style.
The teacher’s house in particular was built by the community themselves who contributed money earned from selling their produce as well contributing their sweat equity. It cost them over K5,000 to complete the building.
The new double classroom was built at a cost of over K50,000 from the Community Development Fund (CDF) assistance from the nickel/cobalt mining developer, Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited.
A colourful event was staged at the school ground where the local villagers perform traditional dances and singing, while the students marched and later assembled to sing the national anthem for the guests.
The uniform sound of the kundu drums accompanied the harmonious choruses performed by the men folk while the women and girls danced and swayed their colourful grass skirts gracefully to accompany the beat of the drums and singing.
Official dignitaries to the event included the chief executive officer of the Madang Provincial Education Board, Alfred Nabong, Rai Coast District education program manager Clement Awan, Coastal Pipeline Landowners Association chairman Steven Saud, Ramu NiCo Community Affairs Department government liaison officer, Kuipa Tonny and three local level government (LLG) councilors from Astrolabe Bay LLG.
Bibi Primary School hosts over 400 students and has 12 teachers and is a level four school in the national education system.
Bibi village ward councilor Peter Palom, who opened the speeches during the day expressed his community’s gratitude and appreciation to Ramu NiCo (MCC)
“On behalf of the Bibi community I would like to say thank you very much to MCC and the Coastal Pipeline LOA chairman Steven Saud for realising our needs and to fund the construction of this new double classroom which shall serve our children,” Palom stated.

A teacher and students raising the flag in front of the new double classroom.

Nabong took time to explain to the teachers, parents and board of management (BOM) the new education system and highlighted the integrated early childhood development as an important foundation in the national education system.
He also acknowledged the cooperation between the school’s BOM and the Bibi community to establishing the new teacher’s house to cater for the teaching staff at the school.
Saud, who was the guests speaker, told the gathering that during his term as the chairman of CPL LOA, it is his vision to see Rai Coast district change for the better through education, therefore, he used the CDF funds to build new school infrastructures within his area of responsibility.
“Rai Coast district will change for the better only when people improve their level of education,
“The investment that is taking place now is for the future technocrats of Rai Coast district,” he added.
Awan who gave the closing remarks, thanked Ramu NiCo (MCC) for the funding to establish the new double classroom.
“This is a big contribution from MCC to infrastructure capacity building in Astrolabe Bay and Rai Coast district generally,” he said.
He said being in the education system for 35 years he has noted steady progress in development at Bibi Primary School.
He added that this was evidence of the Bibi community’s desire for positive development and progress.
Kuipa Tonny of MCC clarified to the gathering that the CDF was established to support community development initiatives within the immediate Ramu project impacted communities in Kurumbukari, Inland Pipeline (Maigari) Coastal Pipeline and Basamuk.
He further explained that CDF was a discretionary fund aimed at engaging landowner participation and involvement in community projects using a flexible demand-driven funding mechanism that provides support for development projects in health, education, technical training, water supply and sanitation (WASH), agriculture and livestock production, law and order, customary obligations and gender advocacy.

  • James Kila works as a supervisor with the Corporate Office Department of Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited in Madang.

Mul’s determination drives school’s progress

Secondary students at a school assembly.
Waigani Christian School founder and former one-term North Waghi MP Benjamin Ngents Mul.

WAIGANI Christian College started as an elementary school back in mid 1990s by a university graduate in social works named Benjamin Ngents Mul.
He later made a name for himself as school director, businessman and politician.
His success story is unbelievable and inspiring because after receiving his bachelor’s degree in social works from the University of PNG he was out on a luckless job hunt for long enough to make anyone worry.
Mul then decided to keep himself busy to forget the worries of job seeking and that led him to taking up a volunteer job at the Waigani Evangelical Brotherhood Church (EBC) Church as a Sunday school teacher as he was a devout EBC member himself. While being a Sunday school teacher for some time with the church in the fast growing city of Port Moresby, he realised that there was big potential for a real school setup in the city to meet the growing demand by the city’s booming population.
Mul loved to attend church service every Sunday and teach Sunday school children but the desire and interest within him to start a preparatory and elementary school kept on coming to his mind.
That is how Waigani Christian School came into being within the church yard. Over time, Mul realised that his venture looked promising so he wanted to do more and take it to the next level.
So with what he earned over time in school fees including funds from other sources he bought off a property within walking distance from the Waigani EBC Church and near the road going to Gerehu. He converted that into a proper and bigger school that later catered for more classes instead of just preparatory and elementary classes.
As the school developed further, more classrooms were built resulting in the growth and expansion in the school to eventually become a fully-fledged community school with classes from preparatory up to grade 6.
But not long after that the school changed to primary status with the addition of grade 7 and 8 classes after the education reforms in 1996. As founder of the school he was determined to take Waigani Christian School (now Waigani Christian College) to newer heights both in terms of infrastructure and level of student learning and grades.
The school’s infrastructure includes a modern science laboratory and it also boasts of some of the best facilities and equipment found in any school in PNG.
But Mul was firmly grounded on his belief that all his success was a result of God’s help and wisdom. Therefore he acknowledged the Creator in every undertaking that has seen subsequent growth and extension of his school from time to time all from scratch sometime in 1996.

At a recent farewell ceremony of UOG trainee students.

With new developments in infrastructure, the school eventually was upgraded to a top up primary school in 2001.
In realising there was more to be done for the school extension exercise to meet the ever increasing demand of students for high and secondary schools spaces in the city, Mul never looked back saying “let no mountain be too high or a sea too deep.”
With such attitude and drive, he was able to build a brand new school up on the hillside of Waigani Heights which now operates as a secondary school enrolling students in grades nine to 12.
But he did not stop at that. With the aim of bringing a higher learning institution closer to students, Mul negotiated with the Department of Education and got his school registered and recognised as an open campus for the University of Goroka. The university centre is into the third year of operations now.
Records of Waigani Christian College Grade 12 students making it to universities and other higher institutions in the country in the last few years are available on the school’s Facebook page.
Waigani Christian College has come a long way since its beginnings in a church yard.

  • Paul Minga is a freelance writer.