School wrangle goes on, students miss seven weeks

Lae News, Normal

The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011

THE prolonged administrative wrangling at Grace Memorial Secondary School in Wau, Morobe, has dragged on and into the court room.
The parents of students attending the school have summoned former principal, Ipisa Wanega, to appear in court for not adhering to direction by the provincial education board which had earlier resolved to have him replaced as the principal.
The matter was brought before senior magistrate, Nasiling Bingtau, for mention in the Lae court on Tuesday.
Wanega told the court he was still waiting for his new posting and there had not been a proper hand-over take-over done.
The parents decided to take the matter up by themselves claiming the provincial board could not do more and the stalemate was affecting their children’s education.
The bickering stemmed from complaints by parents and students that the school’s administration was not transparent with financial acquittals and had not held any school board meetings since last year.
Students and their parents petitioned provincial board on Wednesday, May 11, after the students staged a protest a week earlier.
Tomala called Morobe provincial education adviser Murika Bihoro into his office and asked him why the principal was still at the school when PEB had already decided to have him replaced.
Tomala called an urgent board meeting on May 13, where it again resolved to have Wanega replaced.
But Wanega still insists he is the principal and resides in the school.  
The two new deputy principals – Angie Maravilla and Jukua Koito – are in acting positions.
The new principal appointed by provincial board, Bruce Nalau, was told to get back on the vehicle he arrived on and leave when he turned up at the school to take up his new posting earlier in the year.
The students have missed seven weeks of classes and went without food at times.
Nalau said he had been in Lae for a month waiting to take up his posting at the school.
He said he was appointed to Dregahhafen Secondary School, in Finschhafen, but faced the same situation.
“It is really sad when we teachers fight over positions while the students suffer,” Nalau said.  
The case will be heard next Wednesday.