THE burden of paying for secondary school student’s fees and the funding of elementary and secondary school infrastructure will be eased in the Watut River communities in Morobe.
Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV), Hidden Valley Mine (HVJV) recently announced a K450,000 education assistance scheme, spread over three years, for these communities starting this academic year.
MMJV manager for sustainability projects, Jan Anderson, presented the proposal last week to Morobe provincial education adviser, Murika Bihoro, education coordinators for Huon and Bulolo districts, and Huon and Wampar district presidents Peter Namus and Mathias Philip.
“The proposed community assistance scheme will deliver on the HVJV October 2009 commitment to recognise the concerns of the Watut River communities,” Mr Anderson said.
Under the scheme, MMJV would work closely with provincial and district education offices to provide educational assistance in various forms of K150,000 a year to each of the Watut River communities impacted by the mine.
These funds would be sourced from the K2 million benefits fund announced last year.
The education assistance will comprise a 50% subsidy on secondary school tuition fees (increasing to 100% for high achievers), improvements and maintenance for primary and elementary school classrooms, funding of supplementary teaching resources and practical and logistical assistance to attract and retain teachers for local schools.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide support where the community has identified it is most needed.
“Improving educational opportunities for young people will have lasting benefits for the area,” Mr Anderson said.
“Over the last six months, MMJV has undertaken a wide range of external and internal consultations to establish a framework and high level objectives for its community development strategy,” he said.
Mr Bihoro thanked MMJV for the proposed assistance and said poor school infrastructure and lack of resources were among major problems faced by many schools.
The programme will be trialed for three years and reviewed after the first year.