by Mickey Kavera – EM TV, Port Moresby
Maprik District plans to be the leader in education in East Sepik Province. This dream may be shattered, however, if it does not address the growing problem of grade eight drop outs in the district.
As students throughout the nation sit for their grade eight exams starting today, students in Maprik have a 30 per cent chance of making it to grade nine.
Statistics from a national government education survey in the district showed that every year, 2,800 students in Maprik sit for the grade eight national exams, of which less than 900 are selected to do grade nine.
The survey also revealed that the district has 36 primary schools, one secondary school and two high schools.
The number of secondary and high schools is limited. The schools do not have the capacity, in terms of classroom infrastructure, to cater to students in the district.
It not only caters for students from Maprik alone, but from surrounding areas like Wosera Gawi, Ambunti Drekikir and Yangoru.
As a result, many students from primary schools in Maprik miss out on selection and spacing.
Member for Maprik, John Simon has plans to change things around.
During his discussion with teachers, the district education board and parents, they have identified some immediate solutions to the problem.
Starting next year, two new high schools will be established and more classrooms will be built into existing secondary and high schools.
“We need to change this; we must have 70 per cent of our students go to high school. Starting next year, there must hardly be any grade eight drop out,” he said.