By ELIZABETH VUVU
ALL 10 high schools in East New Britain received K175,000 as part of their third term school subsidies last week.
Presented by the provincial administrator policy planning and evaluation, Bernard Lukara, the money was part of more than K700,000 subsidies earmarked for the this academic year with the remainder to be paid before the end of the year for the final term.
In a statement, Lukara apologised to all chairmen of higher schools’ boards and their principals for not paying monies on time.
He also said all outstanding money owed must be paid out.
He thanked them for not carrying out the threat to close schools earlier considering exams for Grades 10 and 12 and stressed that this must not pose as a precedent in future appealing for more understanding and good networking with the provincial administration through the education division.
Lukara assured that corrective measures had been taken to sort out the issue at the education division and that all subsidies for this term were processed and students continued normal classes.
Early last week, an ultimatum was reportedly given by the board of governors’ chairman Isaiah Patimos for the East New Britain government to pay up their component of school fee subsidies for the year or see all secondary and high schools close last Friday.
Meanwhile, the provincial education board (PEB) chairman and administrator Akuila Tubal has suspended provincial education adviser Pius Gawi.
Gawi was suspended over allegations of incompetence in the effective management of school fee subsidies, processing and remittance to education institutions in the province over the last three years including general concerns with regards to the declining standards of education performance in the province.
His suspension was effective as of 4.06pm last Wednesday pending formal public service charges under his contract of employment.
Paul Laore has been appointed to act as the provincial education adviser for an indefinite period.
Chairman of principals and Malabunga Secondary School principal Phanuel Manuke said schools had made their stance this year to show frustration on scraping through in the last three years on little funding and not receiving subsidies on time.
He demanded that such delay did not rise again in future and the working relationship among schools and the education division needed to be improved to ensure smooth flow of services and not to hamper the education of children.
Manuke commended the administration for taking fast measures to respond quickly to the demands posed by respective higher schools’ board and assured that Grades 10 and 12 examinations would not be disrupted.