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DRY SPELL AFFECTS SCHOOLS IN WESTERN PROVINCE

By Jim John

Schools in Western Province may face closure in the following months if no rainfall is experience within the province.
Majority of schools’ water tanks has been used up.

The St Monica Primary School run by the Catholic Education Agency situated at Biangabip village under Olsobip Rural Local Level Government in North Fly District recently revealed that students, teachers and locals there are experiencing ground fog every day because Olsobip is in mountainous area.

The teachers there confirmed that they are continuing to experience ice in some liquid matters especially in the morning hours and there has been no show of sunshine since the third week of July this year.

Teachers say some garden crops are not growing well and gardening areas are too muddy hence locals were not gardening anymore as a result they ran out of food.
Currently, students are bringing little available food from their gardens to feed the teachers.

The Catholic Education Secretary of Daru-Kiunga Diocese in Western Province Kevin Joseph Tiremine said this situation has been noted and teachers have been instructed to reschedule their teaching plans.

He said over 100 schools run by Catholic Mission in the province that include elementary, early childhood education, primary, secondary and vocational training centre including Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) have experienced shortages of water which have affected their normal classes.

“Some schools are having half day classes because teachers have to look for water to drink, cook and wash. Some schools have little water available to help them to continue normal classes through to the end of term 3.” he said.

He said teachers are doing their best to ensure students are educated and are also preparing the Grade 8’s, 10’s, 12’s and FODE students to sit for their National Exams starting in October this year.

Despite the current drought experience in Western Province, some schools are continuing normal classes.
Western Provincial Education Advisor Mr Charlie Buia said respective school inspectors have been instructed to visit the schools in regards to the current situation on the ground to see how schools have been affected especially in their teaching and learning.

He said situational reports are yet to be received from the school inspectors.

“At this stage, all schools are operating as normal but as this dry weather condition continues towards September and October, the Education Division concerned is aware of the situation and suspension for classes would be the last option,” Mr Buia said.

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