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Classrooms Condemned, School Closed

By Julie Badui Owa – EMTV News, Lae

Six classrooms at the Huonville Primary School in Lae have been condemned by the PNG Fire Service, the Health Department and the Building Board for not being structurally safe. The closure of the school has forced more than 1,800 students out of class when term two began this week.

The school was established in the 1960s and has seen very little maintenance over the last 20 years. The six buildings that accommodate 24 classes of Grades 3 to 8 were disapproved for being in use on Monday, April 16, after an inspection by Building Board from Lae Urban Local Level Government, the Health Department and the PNG Fire Service.

The inspection conducted six weeks ago, showed that the buildings were not safe for the students to use. The School’s Head Teacher, Willie Vilakiva, is now asking for cash contributions from the parents to build makeshift classrooms so that classes can resume.

Chairman of the Parents and Citizens group, Anton Warakai, said there is lack of support from the government. According to records, the government still owes the school almost half a million. The school’s board chairman, Robin Kunai, said they sought clarifications from the district office regarding the 30 percent of the TFF infrastructure funds but Lae district does not know where the funds are.

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