THE Manea Manea Primary School in Central province’s Hula circuit of Rigo was renamed after its former Australian teacher and headmaster, the late Allan Jones, last week.
The dedication ceremony saw the school name changed to Allan Jones Memorial School.
Dr Vele Pat-Tuaru, a former student of Mr Jones in the 1970s, was instrumental in the process to get the education board to rename the school.
At the ceremony, she said Mr Jones needed to be honoured for his service to the Hula circuit over a five-year period from 1969-74.
Dr Pat said Mr Jones was a disciplined man who elevated the school to a high standard academically.
He also instilled a strict dress code and guidelines for moral behaviour, she said.
“He was a hard man who disciplined us when we broke the rules but looking back, I realise that we would not have made it this far without Mr Jones’ commitment and dedication to bring the best out of us.
“Mr Jones always brought students from the schools he taught to Adelaide for Christmas holidays and many of them, including myself, remember him as a father figure and someone who cared and gave so much love,” Dr Pat said.
Central province education manager Titus Tetegan said Mr Jones was a true champion of the people, who served the people of PNG whole-heartedly.
“Mr Jones gave hope and believed in a lot of his students in all the schools that he had served in PNG.
“Many of them today are prominent citizens of our country,” he said.
Mr Jones arrived in PNG in 1964 after graduating from the Australian Pacific School of Pacific Administration and he taught at the Daumagini Community School from 1964-68 and Hula Primary School from 1969-74.
After getting a bachelors in education, he was Karkar High School headmaster in Madang province from 1979-86, Popondetta High School in Oro province from 1989-93 and Cameron Secondary School in Milne Bay province from 1994-99.
He officially retired from teaching in 1999, but continued living in PNG doing voluntar work until 2002 when he returned to Adelaide.
His niece Louise Jeffery and her friend Kathee Bowyer arrived from Australia to represent Mr Jones’ family at the ceremony.
They also presented a bag of books to the school as a gift from the family in Australia.
“We’re overwhelmed by the friendliness and the hospitality of Hula and its surrounding villages.
“Mr Jones loved the people of Hula and PNG so much that it was his wish that we are here today to bury a portion of his ashes in his memory in Hula,” Ms Jeffery said.
The event was witnessed by officials from the education board and Rigo local level government, the media, teachers and students of the school and a large crowd that had gathered from Hula, Makerupu, Iru Ale, Babaka, Kalo and Kamali villages.