The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011
PAPUA New Guinea and Australia are supporting secondary education in the highlands with a K5.1 million expansion of the Notre Dame Secondary School in Mt Hagen.
Notre Dame is one of only four all-girls schools in Papua New Guinea and the only girls school in the highlands region.
Notre Dame Secondary School principal Sr Vivette Baker said: “With the expansion of universal basic education and more students now enrolled in primary schools across PNG, there is a great need to provide quality secondary schooling.
“In Western Highlands’ secondary schools, less than 40% of enrolments are girls, so this expansion will help us do our part to balance that better,” Baker said.
She said education was a priority for the government as outlined in the Vision 2050, the Development Strategic Plan 2010-30 and a key enabler in the Medium Term Development Plan.
Department of National Planning and Monitoring deputy secretary policy and research, Julianna Kubak said results were already showing increases in school enrolments across the country.
“Today’s signing will help boost that and improve the gender disparity in females to males enrolment.”
The project, funded through the PNG-Australia Incentive Fund, will include a 52-bed student dormitory, four new classrooms, a new kitchen, extended dining hall and upgraded water reticulation system.
Teachers will be supported with accommodation for a further six staff.
Head of AusAID in PNG, Stephanie Copus-Campbell said the project would ultimately lead to a better learning environment and quality education for girls in PNG.
“Getting more children into school is more than just building classrooms and by providing better teacher accommodation, this will ultimately lead to better education outcomes,” she said.
Last year, AusAID provided K64 million to resource schools.