By DOROTHY MARK
One-hundred school dropouts in Madang left the country over the weekend to study in the Philippines.
The 10 females and 90 males selected under Madang Governor Peter Yama’s scholarship programme will study multi-trade courses at Hinch Technology School in San Pascual in Batangas.
Yama said the selected students were grades eight, 10 and 12 who were considered school dropouts and not given a second chance to continue their education.
“These particular group was forced out on the streets to do pick pocketing and all sorts of petty crimes by our education system,” he said.
“I was one of them before and struggled to be where I am today, so I know their struggles.”
Jimmy Hinch, who owns the Hinch Technology School, said students would be studying multitrade courses on a routine schedule so that all the students will study
carpentry, welding, plumbing, electrical and other trade skills together.
“We are doing this because by the time they return, one student can build, run electricity and do plumbing work in a building he or she builds,” Hinch said.
He said priority was given to local Madang students.
“These courses will be useful to their own households when they return,” he said.
The recruitment was the initiative of Yama, who had long wanted to send Madang street youths overseas.
He wants them to become skilled people who can sustain themselves in the future using the skills they learned.
Yama had been very vocal on providing opportunities for street youths to get skill trainings to participate in development of the country than resorting to drugs and homebrew.
“I don’t want to continue buying guns for police to shoot and kill our boys,” he once said.
“I want to spend money to train those street youths so that they have a profession that can make them earn income and which can change their lifestyle.”
Yama’s passion to invest in education for street youths was ignited by his own experience when he became a grade six dropout in his mother’s village in Enga.
He was fortunate because he fought his way to be recruited as a policeman and served the force, before becoming a successful business man and politician.
Madang acting administrator John Bivi and Madang Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Kevin Murray welcomed Yama’s initiative.
Bivi said Madang was vying for major projects like Pacific Marine Industrial Zone and Marengo mine, and these students would be have opportunities to participate in infrastructural development of these projects.
By DOROTHY MARK