by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
Following our coverage of the condemned Butuka Elementary School in the Moresby South Electorate on Tuesday, local MP Justin Tkatchenko visited the school to intervene.
By next week, construction will start for the new ablution block and classrooms for both elementary and primary schools.
Butuka Elementary School has been suspended for three weeks, following a notice from NCDC Health condemning the school for no toilets and poor classroom conditions.
Butuka Elementary School is located at Sabama, along the Kila Kila-Pari Road in the Moresby South Electorate.
Classes for elementary students have been suspended, while primary students only attend half day classes due to no toilets and poor classroom conditions.
The plight of the school was discovered when EM TV visited on Tuesday. In the elementary school, a pit toilet was constructed as a temporary relief measure. Elementary Board Chairman Joseph Mage explained that they were forced to build pit toilets as temporary a relief measure as it was the only way for classes to continue.
Overcrowded classrooms, due to the free education policy, was one of the reasons stated by NCDC Health for condemning the school.
Elementary school teacher Mary Evo’o was concerned that overcrowded classrooms caused the elementary students to be restless and lose concentration easily. She said the students were forced to sit on dusty floors because there was not enough space to cater for over 500 elementary students.
However, following this, Moresby-South MP Justin Tkatchenko intervened. By next Monday, 2nd of March, he has ordered a bulldozer to clear the bushes at the back of the existing ablution block to construct new ones, along with new teacher housing.
A separate ablution block will be constructed for the elementary school with proper fencing.
All these were agreed upon after the local MP met with the school board and teachers at Butuka Primary School. While the local MP has intervened, the school wants the Education Department to support the school as they feel that the downsides of the free education policy have also affected the school.