PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 27) - It is unacceptable for any school to be closed for whatever reason and the situation regarding 21 schools in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands Province is a case-in-point.

Students from 13 high schools, three secondary schools and five vocational centers have been sent home because of food shortages.

These schools have not been receiving funds and most of them had no money in their bank accounts. This is a serious issue and one that calls for the provincial leaders and administration to act immediately to get the schools back in operation.

Grade 12 students will be most affected and could miss their final examinations if they stay out of school for much longer.

Blame for this fiasco must be placed squarely on the Government of Hami Yawari.

Mr. Yawari must take responsibility for the closing down of the schools. Education has been one of the services severely restricted or affected over the past years due to the increasing lawlessness in the Southern Highlands and the break down of administrative authority throughout the province.

Throughout PNG, there are reports of schools closing down for all kinds of reasons ranging from lack of teachers to lack of housing, classrooms or food shortage for students.

It is becoming almost a daily occurrence. The saddest thing about it all is that no one in authority is prepared to admit fault and take responsibility for what has happened. Those in authority who are supposed to be responsible always blame someone else for the problems.

It is a crime against the children and their future if they are denied education because of the closure of the schools. Yet, as we know, not one leader is prepared to stand up and take responsibility for what has happened.

Those students in the Southern Highlands whose education is disrupted will be facing a harsh future. That will depend on whether their schools have funds to pay for food to feed them and then purchase material for their classes.

All say this is easy. Not so, we say.

July 28, 2005

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