The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012
I REFER to the distribution of education subsidies for the Erave district schools of Southern Highlands.
First, the issue of roadblocks is real and it definitely warrants immediate police intervention if the governor is concerned for the remote Erave people.
Roadblocks are set up at Sumbura village in Kagua by cohorts of a losing prominent candidate, who is from Sumbura and Sugu Valley.
There are many high-powered guns used in pursuit of any goods or cargoes belonging to the travelling public.
It is terrifying to see passengers being interrogated and subjected to verbal intimidation, physical assault and even rape.
An Erave High School truck, loaded with stationery and food supplies, was forced to return to Mount Hagen despite heavy police escort.
With such incidents, many schools and aid posts remain closed.
Many health workers and teachers refuse to go back to work for fear of being attacked on the highway.
Students attending the Erave High School have left classrooms for fear of being attacked by supporters of losing candidates.
The elementary and community schools are the worse schools, as they operate on an ad-hoc basis and the constant roadblocks provide opportunities for them to stay away, whilst enjoying fortnightly payment undetected.
Therefore, all school subsidies in the Erave District should not be deposited directly into the bank accounts of the schools.
Even though schools are not operating, the boards have a tendency to liaise with the provincial education officers and bank staff to facilitate transactions and pay-outs.
In return, they receive a substantial amount of money for their part in assisting to fast track the payment process.
The best thing the government can do is to send education officers to the various districts to check for closed-down schools before subsidies are released.
The national Education Department should also make public the list of schools receiving these subsidies as well as the amount.
I am willing to sacrifice my time and personal resources to go around visiting schools in my district to identify those that have closed down.
Remember, schools and health infrastructures belong to the community and it is our responsibility to take care of both the facilities and the service providers.
As such, community participation in rectifying problems that hinder service delivery is paramount for the betterment of the community’s human resource development and well-being.