Parents first to graduate in Hela

Highlands, Normal


THE 26 Grade Six students who graduated from Wanikipa Community School last Thursday were no ordinary school children – they were in fact parents, many with more than one children of their own.
They were the first lot to graduate from the school, which is located at a very remote area in the Hela region, on the boundaries of East Sepik and Sandaun provinces.
The school is only accessible by third level airlines like the Missionary Aviation Fellowship.
Because of its remoteness, teachers were reluctant to go there therefore, this year there were no teachers for Grades One to Four and only one teacher, Paul Waki, from Enga, volunteered to teach Grades Five and Six.
When the Southern Highlands provincial government handed the school over to the GutNius Lutheran church in 2004, Mr Wakia started the Grade One class-six years later.
They graduated as Grade Six students.
Last Thursday was meant to be a proud moment for him but he was disappointed that the Education Department officials in Mendi who were invited to attend the graduation did not turn up.
Mr Wakia said people there lead a nomadic lifestyle but were eager to go to school and learn.
“The problem is that teachers are reluctant to take up their postings here,” he said.
This was the only school in the Hewa local level government area which is made up of six council wards.
The good news though was that Mr Wakia would be assisted by two more teachers next year.