Image: Students, teachers, local community members and representatives from the Central Provincial Administration and Australian High Commission in front of the new classroom at Boridi Elementary School
Two elementary schools in the Mt Koiari area of the Kokoda Track have celebrated the opening of new education facilities delivered by the Australian Government through the Kokoda Initiative.
Double classrooms were constructed at Manari Elementary School and Boridi Elementary School in Central Province. Manari also received a new staff house, which will be occupied by the school principal.
The official opening of the new buildings was held on 23 May and attended by students, teachers, local community members and representatives from the Central Provincial Administration, Australian High Commission and Seventh Day Adventist church.
Minister Counsellor, Andrew Egan, from the Australian High Commission said he hoped the new buildings would improve learning outcomes and opportunities for local children living in the remote area of Mt Koiari.
“Through the Kokoda Initiative, Australia is partnering with the Government of Papua New Guinea to deliver health and education infrastructure to support the delivery of basic services to remote communities along the Kokoda Track.”
The new classrooms will provide over 100 elementary students from Manari, Boridi, and the nearby villages of Milei, Daoi and Kagi, with better learning environments to encourage attendance at school.
It is the first permanent school building in the village. Students will be able to use desks and chairs for the first time after previously sitting on the ground in classrooms made from bush materials.
“Every year the parents go to the bush to cut trees and collect bush materials to fix the classroom and it’s very hard work,” said Bosco Mailu, Boridi Elementary School Chairman and village leader. “This new double classroom – with new chairs and tables – is something new in our school and village, and we are very excited. The parents are very happy, the whole village is happy.”
The new infrastructure in Manari complements an existing double classroom and replaces an old classroom made from bush materials. Locals celebrated the construction by chopping down a rough structure made from palm fronds to symbolise a bright future where strong permanent buildings will replace old ones.
Since September 2017, a total of 16 new school buildings and 10 building upgrades have been completed along the Kokoda Track through the Kokoda Initiative program. Further works are due for completion by mid-year.
The Kokoda Initiative is a long-standing partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The partnership is supporting remote villages along and around the Kokoda Track as part of its enduring commitment to provide communities with better access to quality health and education.
Source: Australian High Commission