Chimbu school needs help
By PAUL MAIMA
WHILE the tuition fee-free (TFF) policy may seem to relieve parents of financial burdens and raise enrolment figures, it has setbacks for recipient schools.
Billions of kina have already been spent by the National Government but the manner in which the funds have been disbursed by the Education Department needs rectification.
Should the policy continue in an efficient manner under the Marape-Steven government in 2020 or should it be abolished due to the associated discrepancies, including the late release of funds affecting remote schools?
One of these boarding schools in Chimbu that has been affected is Kondiu Secondary. They have a total of 1,200 boarding students, 43 teachers and 37 ancillary staff. According to Deputy Principal Francis Abba, the school receives K250,000 in the first quarter. Only K70, 000 was received in the second quarter this year.
He said most of the funding has been expended on food rations for students and wages for their ancillary staff.
“What we have received is not sufficient; we have been operating on credit to keep the students in school. But if the delay in funding continues, we will send the students home and close the school.”
Kondiu has performed well academically every year. Last year 76 per cent of year 12 students went to tertiary institutions. Kerowagi Secondary School topped the province and Highlands region with 89 per cent of students sent to universities and colleges.
Kondiu was once a top institution in the Highlands region run by Catholic nuns and Della Salle brothers. Education facilities were top of the range, with good classrooms, dormitories, teachers’ houses, a library, workshop, students’ dining room, and sports facilities. Even a sealed road went around the school.
Over the years many facilities have dilapidated. After 23 years, I was indeed glad to visit my old school recently.
We were the first to use the new facilities funded by the Australian Government and built by Fletcher Morobe in 1995. The fond memories were still fresh as yesterday; as we drove past the school. The Australian Government continued to assist this school. Several classrooms were built to cater for the increasing number of students.
What was obvious as you enter this premier institution is the aging of the facilities. The sealed road has weathered away, the school truck has been rusting at a defunct workshop, the student dining hall extension is incomplete; teachers are bunking up in houses. These are some of the urgent infrastructure needs of the school.
The school is currently administered by nationals. Most of the foreign missionary teachers have left. During our time in 1996 and 1997 we were very fortunate to be taught by the Catholic nuns and brothers. Students were well-disciplined and there was zero-tolerance on liquor, drugs and fights amongst students.
Since it was the first secondary school in Chimbu, the top students from the six high schools in the province then were selected to Kondiu. Our school principal was Bernard Cooper from the Della Salle Brothers. He was a top administrator. Those of us who have passed through those years have benefited a lot from the missionaries and the nationals who taught us then. We thank them for the education they gave us.
Many students have passed through this great school becoming engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers, policy makers, ship captains, journalists and the list goes on. Some have worked overseas, while some are heading key departments and private companies in Port Moresby.
They were students who had been committed to their studies, respected their teachers, honoured their parents sacrificed in paying school fees, and respected their education dreams and valued Christian ethics and principles.
Kondiu continues to produce elites of the nation. To those students who are currently studying in Kondiu, we are encouraging you to be positive. Achievement is all within reach. It’s how you set your priorities, commitment and discipline to get there.
According to Deputy Principal Francis Abba, Kondiu has top facilities for students learning. It has a conducive environment and huge landmass to be upgrade to a school of excellence and even the first university for Chimbu and Jiwaka in collaboration with the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Barawagi that is a few kilometers away from Kondiu.
Today as the teachers strive to educate our current students, Kondiu is in dire need of infrastructure maintenance. They need a bigger dining hall for its 1,200 students, seven new houses for teachers, a new sealed road from Mingende Catholic station to the school area, a new administration building, sport facilities and a new school truck.
Abba said the TFF money and provincial grants were not enough to rehabilitate the ailing infrastructure and expending on the new facilities to cater for the growing number of students from Chimbu and Jiwaka.
He is appealing to the National Government and donor agencies to help refurbish the school
For more Information contact Paul Maima on 71519420, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Deputy Principal Francis Abba on 74793932.
- Paul Maima is a freelance writer.
City spends big on education
By WANPIS AKO
NATIONAL Capital District Governor Powes Parkop’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and School Fee Assistance Scheme programme have been in operation over the last 12 years benefitting over 36,000 students at the cost of K40 million.
Close to 70,000 other students have benefitted under other similar programmes like Ginigoada Foundation, Urban Youth Employment Project and others.
And these education and training programmes are here to stay so long as Governor Parkop is in power.
Close to K4.5 million is spent annually on the programme so that parents and guardians are at ease to save the money which otherwise need to improve their livelihood.
The TVET and SFAS programmes have produced youths and adults who are empowered through education, opportunities and skills training.
They have become champions by making a difference via small ways possible within their family and the community to advance their quality of life as productive members of society.
This year, over 2,000 students from about 42 schools nationwide, received scholarships under the two programmes, including those studying overseas.
This support is over and above scholarships offered by Moresby South and Moresby North East electorates in the city. Their local MPs have partnered with Governor Parkop to advance the programmes at district level.
To reinforce the partnership, Governor Parkop has made K1 million available for each district.
Jefu Otiyae, 39, of Henganofi District’s Abebe village in Eastern Highlands province is a recipient of Justin Tkatchenko’s scholarship.
He is now doing a two-month training on light motor vehicle driving at Kumul Training Institute.
Otiyae is a long-time resident of Ginigini Settlement in Konedobu.
The father of two sons said that after completing year 10 through the Flexible and Open Learning programme, he applied for the scholarship which he won.
“I am very happy to be one of the recipients of the scholarship. I will get a new skill and make a difference to my family and the community. Both our leaders have done a marvellous job in the city. I wish to see Governor Parkop elevated to Prime Minister’s seat, so that he will continue the good work he has been doing for his people,” he said in Tok Pisin.
He said the programmes were beneficial and was impacting transformational outcomes in the city, citing his observation of crime rate in the city being reduced.
He added this trend will have ripple effect across the country.
Another scholarship recipient, Junior David, 21, of Laiagam’s Mamal village in Enga, said these programmes have positively impacted his life.
David, an excavator operator student at Mapex Training Institute, admitted that he was one of the most-blamed youths at the Gordon bus stop involving in petty crimes to make ends meeting after failing his year 10 examination at De La Salle Secondary School in Port Moresby.
He said he wanted to become a role model amongst his peers and improve his livelihood with the skill training he is being imparted on, something which the program aims to achieve.
“I had no sponsor to continue my education so I was roaming the streets. Now that I will be empowered with a skill, I am ready to turn over a new leaf. I am hopeful to work with one of the bigger construction companies after passing out,” he said.
David commended Governor Parkop for giving him a second chance in life to realise his dreams so in return, he can partner Governor Parkop to do his bit to further developing the city.
He aims to further his education after getting a job.
Speaking at the cheque presentation to TVET institutions and other schools at Caritas Technical Secondary School this month, Governor Parkop encouraged the recipients of the program to make good use of the opportunity to become somebody in future.
Governor Parkop emphasized that his government’s support should not be taken for granted.
“I want you all to get a skill in life and become champions of our city and our country. For me as your Governor, it is very important because my journey is about lifting our city, our people and our country,” he said.
Governor Parkop plans to improve the management and administration of the program, citing school feedback on student performance, school visitations and student-Governor interaction amongst others.
He reiterated that the program is also about give-and-take, saying the city needs them to do their bit to make it safe, clean and liveable by getting rid of betel nut spittle, violence, litter and graffiti.
“I need you all to be the champions of our city. You can imagine your future as well. Do you want a future that people are throwing rubbish everywhere, betel nut spittle everywhere? Violence wrecking your community and family? Do you want to see this kind of life? If you don’t want it and want a better quality of life so that our women and girls can move around freely, it starts now. I need you all to embrace this for the future that is meant for you. Your city will be your home for the future. This is where you will raise your family. Start to have this imagination about the future. This is what this journey is also about,” he concluded.
- Wanpis Ako is the NCDC Public Relations Manager.