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By Sinclaire Solomn

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 20) – Four international schools of trade on the Papua New Guinea-West Papua border are one step closer to taking shape in Papua’s capital of Jayapura.

The historic launch by the Papua governor J P Sollosa last week paves way for the construction of the schools, which will specialize in vocational training and cottage industry skills for youths of Papua and West Sepik provinces.

The Indonesian government will fund the construction of the schools, which would be located at the former Skow resettlement (transmagrasi) site, about half an hour by road to Wutung border post in West Sepik province.

Under arrangements still being finalized, staffing, maintenance and enrolment at these education facilities will be equally shared by the two countries.

Education authorities hope that an equal number of students from both provinces will attend the schools which are due to be opened by the end of the year.

The courses will be taught in Bahasa Indonesia as well as English.

Indonesia’s Director-General of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Indra Djati Sidi, and PNG’s acting Deputy Secretary for Education Damien Rapese witnessed the launch of these schools.

Dr Sidi and Mr Rapese also put their signatures on four plaques, which will be erected at the site of these border schools.

The border schools are part of an ongoing cooperation programme in education between the PNG and Indonesia governments especially in vocational training.

Currently there are 16 students from West Sepik undergoing four-month training in various trades at three vocational schools around Jayapura, the first batch under the program.

May 21, 2004

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