News Southern

Investigations begin into the burning of a Primary School Building in Kerema

By Helen Sea – EMTV News, Port Moresby

Investigations into the burning of a classroom block at Ila Karaeta Primary School in Kerema has had no leads so far.

Several suspects have been brought in for questioning but without evidence, charges could not be pressed and the suspects were released.

The building block which holds four classrooms hosting three grade 7 classes and one grade 8 class was set alight in the wee hours of the early morning on the 26th of April.

There was not much the locals could do as the flames were too big to get near. Several other buildings have suffered the same fate within the capital of the Gulf Province, bringing to light the absence of a fire service department within the town.

Police station commander in Kerema, Michael Pakyei, says without any leads and no help from the public the case is stagnant. Despite this, the police are adamant in finding the arsonist.

The 200 hundred upper-primary students affected by the fire have been allocated to a new building which the lower primary students normally use, this has in a way affected classes for grades four, five and six.

According to school headmaster, Paul Haro, a new time schedule has been set to allow for classes of grades four, five and six to attend only half day of classes, in the mornings and afternoons. This is to ensure that no student in each of these grades without a classroom misses out on a day’s lessons.

Provincial superintendent for Education, Andrew Laroa, said the school is taking matters into its own hands to rebuild the structure by opening a trust fund and appealing to former students of Ila Karaeta Primary school to make donations.

The four teachers affected by this fire were too emotional to speak, TFF materials and years of assessments have been lost in the space of an hour and the ordeal has left them distraught.

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