In Port Moresby, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop met heads of technical vocational training (TVET) institutions, elementary, primary and secondary schools last Friday.
He admitted that many schools were not ready to resume classes after listening to the issues raised such as transport, overcrowding, medically-approved masks, wash basins, toilet facilities, rubbish disposal, water and power bills, school fees, and teachers’ risk allowances.
Butuka Academy Preschool head teacher Joseph Paul said with only 15 passengers allowed in a bus, children were likely to miss out.
Paul called for a special transport arrangement for students to ensure they arrived in school on time.
“Some of us didn’t receive anything from the Covid-19 funding and are unable to buy the PPEs and other consumables,” Paul said.
Parkop agreed that it would be very difficult for passengers to socially distance in buses.
“I don’t have any solution other than students walking to school. And that’s not easy because some live far away from their school.”
In Morobe, primary and elementary school teachers met staff of the Huon Gulf district last Friday. Many feared that the reopening of classes was too early.
But district education manager Sam Geseng said teachers should be in class from today.
“We are government officers and this is government’s directives given so we have to help our children,” Geseng said.
In East New Britain, education adviser Hubert Wangun held a meeting with principals, head teachers, and vocational managers of the different institutions.
State reviewing taxing of workers’ entitlements
By HELEN TARAWA
THE Government is discussing with the superfunds the current process of taxing the entitlements of workers, especially the retirement savings and pensions, says Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven.
Steven, also the Justice Minister and Attorney-General, told The National that the superfunds had given a few options on the taxation issue.
“It is something that we should look at – how the Government is taxing the entitlements of workers especially as they are their benefits towards their retirement and pension period,” he said.
“That’s another positive outcome that has come out as a result of this collaboration. The answer is that the laws can be passed and we are happy to consider those laws.
“We are going to be practical and as reasonable as possible because there are two sides’ interests that need to be considered.
“And when it comes to public policy we are talking about the variety of interests that need to be balanced.”
Steven said the Government was managing the Covid-19 response as a national security issue and not just a health issue.
“Therefore a very strong law was passed in the Emergency Act whereby the controller has very broad powers. Those powers are exercised through the emergency orders that are being issued at the moment.
“There is a legal team that’s that there to guide the emergency controller in terms of the orders that are being issued.”
School amends timetable to fit in more classes
A SCHOOL in Port Moresby is staggering class hours to ensure health safety rules are complied with and as many subjects as possible are covered.
The Bosco Technological Institute in Boroko has a new timetable which has three periods, the last being the workshop classes for residential students from 6pm to 9pm.
“The reduction of periods is balanced by the distribution of learning materials and assessments to be done during the contact period through Moodle,” a spokesperson said.
“The students have returned to class and are determined to make the most of the year ahead and complete all unfinished work.
“Staff and students have adjusted to the change in the timetable. Sanitisers and disinfectants are provided to each lecturer and class instructor. Once classes are over, students are accompanied to the gate by the lecturer. No one is permitted to hang around in the campus.
“The state of emergency lockdown, isolation and stay-at-home messages have been repeated in the past weeks.
“Messages of hygiene and maintaining a safe distance have been reinforced on a constant basis.”
Final year student Regina Wayi said “the time we are going through is not easy. I hope that students will realise that we need to go beyond the issues we face each day to mould ourselves into persons for the future.”