Why John, Judy built school in remote LLG


WHEN the Grade 10 national examination papers arrived at the Aiya Robesi High School in the Kagua-Erave district of Southern Highlands, school chairman John Yano was overjoyed.
His dream of establishing a high school and enroll students who attend the 15 primary schools in the Aiya local level government is coming to fruition.
John and Judy established the high school using their own money, after noticing that students from the 15 primary schools attending high schools in other districts faced difficulties related to tribal fights and the long distance from home.
Most of the 32,000-plus people in the LLG are illiterate and depend on subsistence farming. Sending their children to distant places is expensive – with fares, beddings, clothes and toiletries to pay. So John and Judy decided to build a high school in the area.
“My family has been a strong church member of the Revival Centers of PNG, and being a Christian, I had a duty to do something about the future of children.
“They needed a high school in the LLG where they can face minimal challenges, be committed and successfully complete their 10 years of education in their own area.
“I had sleepless nights thinking what to do to help the students. I prayed and finally the Good Lord answered. He wanted me to establish the school.”
So in early 2019, he and wife Judy obtained loans of K30,000 and K24,000 respectively from the Bank South Pacific and started building the school. They bought building materials such as roofing iron and nails. Bush materials were also used.
They obtained further loans of K5,000 each from Moni Plus to get the school ready for enrolment. They got the school registered, and approval was given for 12 teachers to get it started.
“Last year, 157 Grade Nine students were enrolled, with seven teachers. It was the happiest moment in our lives. This year, 470 students enrolled.”
The first lot of 135 students sat the national exam two weeks ago.
John, 79, from Kandopa village, is a primary school teacher. He and wife Judy, also a primary school teacher, have five children.
John is the eldest in a family of three. He did grades 1 to 6 at the Ibia Primary School from 1991 to 1996, then attended Tari High School in Hela for grades 9 and 10.
Then he was selected for grades 11 and 12 at Mogol Secondary in Southern Highlands.
After completing Grade 12, he attended the Dauli Teachers College in Hela and graduated as a teacher in 2004.
His first teaching career in 2005 was at the Imane Primary School in the Kagua-Erave district.
But in 2006, he resigned to contest the Kagua-Erave Open seat. He finished fourth;

He rejoined the Teaching Service Commission, and was appointed head teacher of the Kandopa Primary School which was later burnt down in a tribal fight.




Aiya Robesi High School chairman John Yano (right)
with Grade 10 National Examination invigilators and teachers.


I had sleepless nights thinking what to do to help the students. I prayed and finally the Good Lord answered. He wanted me to establish the school.”

He rebuilt the school from 2009 to 2011, and taught in other primary schools.
“Students needed a good high school in an area where there is peace.”
John and Judy watched in joy as the invigilators and examination papers arrived for the first national exam at the Aiya Robesi High School last month.“I am a happy man today and I am looking forward to the first graduation ceremony.”
The school is yet to receive its first tuition fee free subsidy from the Government. But it received a K500,000 funding from the provincial government which was used to build permanent classrooms, dormitories and other infrastructure. He holds a feast every time he succeeds in accomplishing something for the school. John and Judy are still repaying their loans. But they are happy for what they have achieved for the children in their area. God has answered their prayers indeed.




The Aiya Robesi High School in the Kagua-Erave district,
Southern Highlands. 135 students sat the Grade 10 National Examination last week.