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Old 29-06-2004, 02:56 PM
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School Closes Early for Term Holiday

SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Hami Yawari’s free-education policy is not working, especially for schools in the remote areas of the province, according to one primary school headmaster.

Katiloma Primary School Headmaster Nelson Waima said he was forced to close school one-week early for the term-two holidays simply because they do not have any funds to run the school.

Katiloma, run by the PNG Bible Church, is located in the remote Sugu Valley in Kagua District about four hours drive from Mount Hagen and another six hours from Mendi through some of the most treacherous road conditions.

Speaking last Friday at the opening of a modern L40 teacher’s house funded with local MP and Culture & Tourism Minister David Basua’s electoral funds, Mr Waima said all the school has ever received under the free education policy was eight boxes of exercise books.

However, the exercise books were not sufficient for the school’s 353 students in Grades 3 – 8 or the teachers who lack basic materials and stationary such as chalk or paper.

The school has a ceiling of 20 teachers but currently has only 8 due to its remoteness.

Mr. Waima said the situation is similar for other remote schools in the province.

“We have not seen the fruit of this free-education policy yet. It’s not working and I am now forced to close the school early because there is no money,” he said.

Mr Waima told a gathering of students, parents and guests including Mr. Basua that parents were asked to pay K20 for each student but that has not happened.

“You (parents) said you would pay after you sell your coffee but the coffee season has come and gone and you have not paid yet. Now, I want each student to return with K20 when you come back to school in three weeks time,” he said.


Culture & Tourism Minister David Basua and Katiloma Primary School Headmaster Nelson Waima at Katiloma Primary School.
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