By LARRY ANDREW
AN elite from Kabwum on Friday stepped in to assist students from the district attending Balob Teachers’ College by paying K14,500 for their school fees.
The school fees are for the 34 students doing year two and three this year.
Retired Supreme Court Judge and Papua New Guinea Ambassador to China Don Sawong, in paying the fees, told the students that as the patron of the Ukata students he was privilege to assist with K14,500 in payment of the part of the school fees for the 34 students who were in the final year and the second year.
According to the Ukata students list for Kabwum provided, students assisted are from the four local level governments (LLGs) – Selepet, Komba, Yus and Deyamos – and out of the 34, 21 will be living on campus while the remaining 13 will be day students.
Sawong said at the beginning of the year, when he met new students and encouraged them to become role models, it was obvious that there were issues with school fees.
“Initially, there were 26 students who had issues with school fees and I requested for the upgrade of the list if there were any others as we don’t want them out to miss out,” he said.
“We all come from a district that is mountainous and economic opportunities are rare for steady a income.
“There are some parents in some parts of the district who can afford it and there are others who cannot, as I have seen for myself how my parents struggled to send me to school.”
Sawong said taking the role as patron, he knew that somewhere along the line, such issues might arise and if it happened, he had to step in.
“It’s not only a privilege but I knew that there was also a responsibility attached to being a patron, a fatherly figure who also stand in the shoes of their parents.
“The district needs educated teachers and human resource is very important component in our district and if we don’t pay for the school fees, we will be behind by at least a year or two in terms of human resource development in the district. It’s a privilege to help out by arranging for the school fees to be paid for the students.”
Principal Jerry Hengingao said the assistant by Sawong was a relief to the parents.
By LARRY ANDREW