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School day would be split in two sessions

By Samson Kendeman

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 29, 2008) - National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has proposed that schools in Port Moresby should hold both morning and evening classes for students.

The proposal is part of Mr. Parkop’s efforts to reclaim the night for city residents to go about their business just like in the day.

Parkop said students at primary school could attend classes in the first part of the day, while students in secondary schools would have their turn in the second part of the day, using the same school facilities.

The school day could be divided into two sessions -- from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Parkop said. This is the standard practice in many Asian cities with large populations and scarce land, as having two sessions a day using the same school facilities virtually doubles the number of classroom places available to students.

Parkop has raised the proposal with the NCD education authorities for their input.

"It will be a challenge for police, PNG Power and the Education Department in terms of providing security, putting up more street lights to reclaim the night and recruiting more teachers," Parkop told The National yesterday.

He said this was a goal worth achieving and he urged stakeholders, including the Government, to make it happen.

"We don’t want to give Port Moresby city to criminals, but reorganize our schools away from criminal elements.

"With the new street lights program being implemented, students will have an opportunity to learn both during the day and in the night," he said.

"We will have financial, transport, teachers and safety implications, but it will improve the quality of life in the city and we need to discuss this effectively with the relevant agencies," Parkop said.

He said curfews could be considered to allow students and PMVs to travel freely during the night.

Teaching Service Commission chairman Michael Pearson backed the proposal, but said the safety of students and teachers must be ensured.

Central provincial education board member, Reverend Igo Trudi, said the Government must reform its training facilities to cater for students’ learning and renovate teachers’ houses to help recruit more teachers in order to make the proposal a reality.

Mr. Trudi also said although it was a good initiative, parents should not have to pay more school fees.

St Francis Primary School principal Anthony Newton said sufficient facilities such as classrooms, libraries, dining halls, etc, would need to be provided.

Mr. Newton said it would be very good for students to relax and study in the night, but their safety must be guaranteed at all times.

He said Port Moresby was experiencing escalating law and order problems and if the Government really wanted to proceed with the proposal, then it must ensure the security aspects first.

Parent Simon Kingi said the proposal would allow for more classroom spaces and provide opportunities for more students to get an education.

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