Fode centre signs MOA with leading college to create pathway for technical training
By ROSELYN ELLISON
A RECENTLY established Flexible Open Distance Education (Fode) centre in Rabaul will soon be offering technical training courses as well.
This will be made possible through an agreement with the Port Moresby Technical College (Pomtech) signed last month in Rabaul.
Sunrise Business and Information Technology Training Institute Fode centre has sealed this partnership withPomtech under which, as of next year, Sunrise Fode students will have direct entry to the college for training.
Pomtech courses include electronics, carpentry, printing, refrigeration, auto-electrical, graphics, motor vehicle mechanics, panel beating and spray painting.
College principal Henry Wamingu said the institution has an existing partnership with other secondary schools in ENB and this was the first time they had signed an MOA with a Fode centre.
“This is a wonderful arrangement under the the public-private partnership working with government, churches, non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and the community as education is a shared responsibility.”
Wamingu stated that students from Sunrise who want to study in Pomtech would be considered because this signed instrument made way for that.
He also explained that the institution fully implemented the national qualification framework level 1 to 6 which was the advance diploma. The college has equipment and the best fitting workshops in the country; its machines were fully functional and its teaching staff were some of the best, Wamingu boasted.
Sunrise centre principal Sharon Leslie also said this was a good example of public-private partnership to deliver education to less fortunate students who are unable to secure placings in the formal education sector.
Leslie also explained how Sunrise and Pomtech had built their trust and relationship through one of their pioneer students who had taken up the electronic course at Pomtech. His academic performance was outstanding and he was one of the top 10 students in this course.
She acknowledged the governing council of Pomtech for their decision to partner with Sunrise, as this was a milestone achievement for the privately run Fode centre in ENB.
Sunrise has been operating for eight years and has gradually fulfilled the national vision to have Papua New Guineans have Grade 12 equivalent educations and certification through Fode.
The agreement between the two institutions would add value and motivation to students to work hard to pursue their education, Leslie said.
“ What I am doing for these students is coming from my heart because as a teacher I want these students or children to have bright future.”
The 49-year-old and from Nabil village in the Watom Island local level government (LLG) of Rabaul district, is a secondary school teacher and has three daughters. She graduated in 2002 from the University of Goroka and started teaching the following year. After nine years she decided to leave and start her own school.
In 2013 she established her own Fode centre. She has 10 staff working with her. Most are experienced secondary school teachers who had resigned and are now helping her to teach students at the Fode centre.
She commended their commitment to the job.
She has plans to expand but her problem is acquiring adequate land. Nevertheless, she trusts God who has His own timing for everything. In her heart she has big faith that God would provide land for her.
“What I am doing for these students is coming from my heart because as a teacher I want these students or children to have a bright future.
“As a professional teacher I sympathise with these students and decided to resign from active teaching to provide and easily-accessible Fode centre here in Rabaul district,” said Leslie.
She also explained that her desire to establish this Fode centre in 2013 was due to the fact that students from four LLGs of Rabaul district and also the Reimber-Livuan LLG of Gazelle district had been travelling long distances to Kokopo, Vunapalading, Vudal, Kerevat and Malabanga in search of institutions to upgrade their marks.
“Since establishing the institution, we have moved locations three times, eventually settling down at our current location which is already becoming congested due to the ever-increasing enrolment year after year.”
Leslie started the Fode centre with 14 grade eight leavers doing grade nine and six grade 10 students upgrading their marks.
She said all 14 grade 9s continued to grade 10 the flowing year while four of the six grade 10s successfully qualified to enter secondary schools in the province to do grade 11.
To date Sunrise students have not only passed out to continue secondary education but also graduated with Grade 12 certificates. Some have or are about to graduate from established tertiary institutions like Kokopo Business College, St Peter’s Catholic Secondary Teachers Training College, Kabaleo and Gaulim teachers colleges, Pacific Maritime College and Pomtech.
“At Sunrise Fode, no drop out is a failure, every student, upon attaining higher marks, get absorbed into formal secondary schools. If not, we continue to mold them in the institution to complete grades 11 and 12 and we make it our responsibility to market them to education institutions around the country,” she said.
Lesley added that as principal and managing director of the school, she was blessed with the signing of the MOA which would guarantee more of Grade 12 students to pursue technical education at Pomtech.
As Pomtech is affiliated with the Australia Pacific Training College, students are able to graduate with Australian qualifications from Pomtech.
She encouraged students to continue to strive as they would only succeed through commitment and perseverance. She quotes Nelson Mandela’s statement to bring home her point. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
“The dream of Sunrise Business Information Technology Fode centre is to educate a so-called failure, a drug user, opportunists, and an undisciplined child who is kicked out of a normal education system to have an aim, a vision or a goal or remind them that there is a light of the sunrise at the end of a tunnel.
“My heart is for the students, to see them with a bright future,” Leslie said.
“With the signing of MOA between Sunrise Fode and Pomtech we trust God to use education to change Rabaul district and East New Britain. We make it our business to provide a second chance for our children to receive the education they deserve.”
The East New Britain provincial administration has shown great support towards this milestone achievement.
Administrator Wilson Matava who is also the chairman of the provincial education board, said it was a significant moment, especially for Pomtech to recognise Sunrise Fode centre in Rabaul through signing the MOA.
Matava on behalf of the provincial administration and government congratulated Sunrise Fode centre for their achievement.
Sunrise is one of the six registered Fode study centres in ENB.
“The signing of MOA at this occasion signifies the elevation and recognition of this institution in ENB and the nation,” said Matava.
ENB has 160 registered primary schools and 12 secondary schools. It also has number of private institutions and Sunrise is one of them.
“Sunrise Fode centre, in your humble beginning in 2013, you registered only 15 students and today Sunrise Fode centre has 671 students,” Matava added.
Matava told Leslie and the board chairman of Sunrise Fode centre David Kepas that they had made sacrifices from the beginning, and today were seeing an increase in student numbers. More would follow after the signing by the centre and PomTech.
Matava urged parents to enrol their children at registered study centres like Sunrise.
Officials at the signing ceremony included Matava, Pomtech principal Henry Wamingu, and his governing council chairman Mesulam Tokaplen, ENB education advisor Alkan Mararang and Sunrise principal Sharon Leslie.“