A pledge honoured is an important value of leadership. Last year the Prime Minister Honorable Peter O’Neill promised the Waigani Primary School that he would give money for the construction of a Science classroom. On the 20th of July that promise was delivered. A cheque of K150,000.00 was delievered to the school.
The Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister’s Department, Mr. Gideon Oli and a delegation visited the school and presented the cheque to the joyful students and their teachers. The occasion was witnessed by the Department of Education Representative, Mr. Steven Lapan.
As the Board Chairman I was on hand to receive the grant on behalf of the Board, the Principal, and the School.
Mr. Gideon Oli presented the cheque to the School on-behalf of the Prime Minister. It was the commitment of Prime Minister O’Neill that took a while to process, but was eventually completed just before his reappointment as the 9th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
Mr. Oli reiterated that under the Prime Ministership of Peter O’Neill the free education policy gave parents and citizens a reprieve this year. All school age children are in school this year. It is a government policy that has at least reduced the burden of many parents and guardians of children in schools.
The free education policy is obviously a political creature that forms out of the political will and commitment of its leaders. The free education policy is now in place, but there are many challenges schools face such as infrastructure development and service provision for schools. Schools must continue to work hard to find solutions to some of their immediate and specific challenges.
Under the free education policy eligible schools receive direct support grant from the government. Most of these funds schools received were absorbed into the general maintenance and administration of the schools. Some schools found themselves paying outstanding areas from previous financial years. Others used up all the money before the middle of the year. Yet, most schools’s conditions and infrastructure remain the same, in poor conditions and in need of care from the schools’s management.
This view was supprted by the NCD Education representative Mr. Steven Lapan. It is the responsibility of the School Board to strategise how it moves forward with the limited resources and support given to its development. There are many challenges that every school face in provision of quality education to the young children of Papua New Guinea.
Challenges range from teacher performance to availability of teaching and learning resources. Many schools are caught up in the expected output and the values that each school has developed over time that makes each school stand out as a quality school. It is the work of teachers, pupils, Board of Management, and parents and guardians to shape, mould, and define the shape and colour of the school. It is a co-operative effort of everyone who make the education of their children a priority. Education of the young is everyone’s responsibility. Parents and guardians must exercise commitment to the school where their children receive their education.
Mrs. Julie Tatai, Principal of Waigani Primary School was elated with the grant of K150,000.00. Mrs.Tatai was welcomed the Prime Minister’s financial grant to the school. She was pleased that political leadership recognize the importance of providing quality education to children in thecity areas.
Mrs. Tatai said that the money would go towards building a science classroom. It is noted that the school would need further funding to build another double classroom, administration office, a library, a multi-purpose hall, and teachers’ houses. The need for infrastructural development is so great that it would help the school to get more generous support from individuals, organizations, companies, and government.
As the Chairman of the Board of Management of the School I was pleased that Honorable Peter O’Neill kept his promise made during his first visit to UPNG last year as the Parliament elect Prime Minister. The Waigani Primary School had welcomed him to UPNG with a carpet of flowers.
We congratulate Honorable Peter O’Neill on his re-election this year as the member of Ialibu Pangia. Congratulations are also due in light of the overwhelming support he received to become the 9th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
We feel assured that Honorable Peter O’Neill will continue to provide the leadership as a Prime Minister and continue with the free education policy. His assistance to the Waigani Primary School will go a long way to developing the school’s infrastructure. Thank you Honorable Peter O’Neill for the financial assistance you have given to the Waigani Primary School.
We hope that you will find time to visit the Waigani Primary School in the not-too-distant future. The school is a city school. Getting financial assistance from you as Prime Minister at this time is a valued gesture that ensures that we provide the necessary facilities for students in the city attending the school.
Finally, the challenge to remain committed to providing quality education to our children is one, but another is the quality of conditions we provide for our teachers. In some schools teachers do their best to meet the expected outcome of the outcome based education curriculum. The resources available to teachers are limited to the extent that teachers have to find innovative ways of teaching their subjects to their students. For example, some of the learning activities are made easier with resources of internet and computer based activities. Not many public schools in the city are able to access internet resources. There are exciting possibilities of cross-cultural learning between schools in Papua New Guinea and Australia for example, that needs adequate support and funding. Would it be wonderful to see students at Waigani Primary School having cross-cultural learning experience with students in a school in Redfern, Sydney. Such real-time cyber learning can enhance a deeper understanding and set the foundation for the future leaders of this country.
With the support received we will move forward, but will still need more assistance and cooperation.