Remote school gets solar power

National, Normal

The National, Monday August 5th, 2013

 A remote school in Western now has its own electricity following the opening of a solar power project funded by Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML).

The Nakaku Primary School in the South Fly, which has close to 200 students, now has lights in its classrooms and can use printers and computers.

The project was completed at a cost of K83,500 and opened last month by Ok Tedi Development Foundation chairman and OTML managing director Nigel Parker.

Parker said the solar project symbolised the willingness of the people within the community mine continuation agreement (CMCA) regions to work with development partners to bring tangible and self-sustainable developments into their villages.

“My vision as chairman of Ok Tedi Development Foundation is to work with the people of the CMCA regions and other donor partners to bring development to the people of Western Province,” he said.

“Power in this day and age is a necessity for education development.”

OTDF chief executive officer Ian Middleton said the project would be replicated in other schools in the province, starting with OTDF’s model school concept locations.

He appealed to the community to look after the solar power panels and batteries if they would like to see further education support in their communities by OTDF.  

Head teacher Akri Bobola said this was the first time the government-run school will have electricity since it was established in 1981.

“The school is very fortunate to obtain such an electrification project to sustain the lives of our young generations,” Bobola said.

“I believe that from now onwards, we will do great things in teaching to improve learning for our students.” 

The Nakaku Primary School was selected under the the model school concept last year.

This programme aimed at developing a particular school in a community to a standard that other communities and schools can aspire to. 

Over time, the concept would be spread to other schools in the area that were willing to particpiate, Parker said.