Parents want demands met before school starts

National, Normal

The National,Wednesday18 January 2012

PARENTS, students and staff of the first secondary school in New Ireland have petitioned the school board and administration to meet their demands before starting classes this year.
They said the Namatanai Secondary School was in dire need of a major renovation of facilities.
A concerned parents working committee chaired by Abraham Alapi has submitted a series of letters to the school’s administration and the district administrator since November last year, with the most recent being last month listing their grievances and demands.
Coupled with the petitions was a protest march by students in Namatanai last month.
Committee spokesman and a teacher at the school, Jonathan Mesulam said yesterday the school had been condemned by health authorities.
He said the classrooms and science and computer laboratories needed proper electricity installed as they posed a fire risk.
Mesulam said drainage problems at the mess and in the ablution area “place a great risk of the spread of common infections”.
He said a health inspection report submitted by district environmental health officer Michael Soi last month said failure to adhere to the requirements would see the school suspended indefinitely.
In his report, Soi said the school administration and concerned authorities needed to clean and maintain showers, toilets, and kitchen and mess facilities and install a stand-by a power generator.
Soi said the water system and water storage facilities had to be maintained and new rain water tanks installed.
Mesulam said the current situation had forced students to walk about 400m in search of water from creeks and that posed the risk of rape, harassment, contamination and common infections.
 “There is a grave concern at the negligence and deteriorating state of basic and vital learning facilities for the past five years, with last year being the worst,” Mesulam said.
He said the situation had greatly affected the performance of students in their final year exams.
Grade 10 final year results released show the school’s Grade 10 performed way below average, scoring 18.5%, the lowest out of all high and secondary schools in the province.
In a meeting last Friday in Kavieng, staff from the school and students demanded that the school administration and district administration seriously look into the matter