The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
SCHOOLS in Morobe did not received their subsidies yesterday as promised by the Education Department, leaving 179,000 students affected.
Morobe provincial education adviser Murika Bihoro yesterday expressed the frustration of Morobe’s 4,000 teachers when confirming the delay in subsidy payments.
Bihoro said he was told last week by the Education Department that July 15 was when Morobe’s nine high schools, nine secondary, 324 primary and 500 elementary schools would receive their subsidies.
“We haven’t received anything yet and the second term has begun and all schools are in the red,” he said.
“The boarding schools are really affected.
“The amount in the beginning of the year was not enough, Morobe is a very big province, our task now is a mammoth task.”
He could not confirm exact subsidy figures but used Dregerhaffen High School in Finschaffen with its 1,300 boarding students out of its 1,400 roll as an example of a rural boarding school that could not use its funds as intended as more money was used on meeting the needs of the boarders, especially food.
“When you prioritise, food is important or curriculum? We are caught up, the budget must be a reality,” he said.
He said the Education Department should not focus on asking for acquittals from schools as a requirement to release the next batch of subsidies.
He said school administrations had generally provided their acquittals on time in the past but this had not happened since the tuition fee free policy was implemented.
“It’s too early to talk about acquittals, our children’s education is the number one priority, the management issues can come later, I’m a bit frustrated the subsidy is becoming an issue,” he said.