Tribesmen shut Goroka school

National, Normal


THE Kama-Nagamiufa tribes living in the outskirts of Goroka town yesterday stormed into Goroka Secondary School demanding to know why their children are denied enrolment.
They alleged their children were refused enrolment although they were customary landowners where the school is located and demanded that their children be given priority in enrolment.
They also alleged abuse of process and corruption resulting in the children of outsiders being given priority the past six years.
At about 9.30am yesterday, as students settled in for early morning classes, disgruntled tribesmen moved in and ordered the school closed, shutting the gates.
Students immediately returned home as the tribesmen demanded to know why their children could not be enrolled there and instead were sent elsewhere.
They demanded Eastern Highlands provincial education adviser Conrad Esoke to address them and to give a satisfactory explanation before they could allow the school to continue operation.
Spokesmen Peter Aeno, George Hatawe, Tul Gopie (Kama) and Tony Koko (Nagamiufa) said their children attending Goroka Secondary feeder schools of Ginitoka, Gama, Kama SDA and West Goroka Primary Schools selected to do Grade nine were re-listed for other schools.
“Likewise, our children selected to do Grades 11 are also listed for other secondary schools.
“When our children are sent to other schools, they are harassed, intimidated and even girls were raped by locals from those areas.
“The land on which Goroka Secondary School is located was bought from our grandfathers with small payments comprising salt and axes.
“We, the future generations want to benefit by way of education as spin offs,” Mr Aeno said.
He said they no longer want their children to be kicked around like a football from school to school.
“We want our children in Goroka Secondary,” he added.
After more than an hour, Mr Esoke arrived at the school and received the tribes’ petition.
He applauded them for behaving orderly by not being destructive and promised that he would have a meeting with the school administration to find an answer for them.
After a lengthy meeting, Mr Esoke urged the Kama-Nagamiufa tribes to give him the list of students allegedly placed elsewhere so that places could be found for them in the school by Monday.
Mr Aeno told The National later that they were happy with the response and would allow for normal classes to continue, adding that they will also ensure there are no disturbances.