By Annette Kora – EMTV News, Port Moresby
In a twist to the Butuka Academy enrollment situation, disgruntled parents whose children are attending the Academy on merit are concerned about the lack of consideration of those involved in the closure, and the number of school days their children are missing out on.
Gathered yesterday outside the school gate, the parents were waiting for a favourable answer from Moresby South MP, Justin Tkacthenko, the school board and leaders of the Motu Koita Assembly who were said to be in a closed door meeting in the school.
Seemingly, there were two groups of impatient parents waiting anxiously outside the school premises while a closed-door meeting was taking place inside one of the school buildings. One group consisted of Motu Koita locals, while the other consisted of parents who reside in the vicinity of Moresby South electorate.
One long-time resident, Isidore Ignas, said his child was selected on merit, which is why he is attending Butuka Academy. His main concern now is the number of days his child is missing out on lessons in the classroom.
Another concerned parent, Wayne Tumange, adds that their children have been robbed of their right to quality education and the issue of land ownership should be taken out with the right authority without jeopardising classes for the rest of the students attending the academy.
A separate group consisting of Motu Koitabuan parents had an agenda of their own. They wanted to find out the reason why their children couldn’t enrol in the academy, and why other children were given priority over theirs.
Much to their disappointment, both parties are yet to get a favourable response from the Moresby South member, the Motu Koita Assembly and the school board about the next best option for their children’s enrolment.
Meanwhile, acting Lands Secretary, Oswald Tolopa says Butuka Academy is not built on customary land, and that allotments 17 and 18 of Section 128 are under the provincial and local level government affairs for educational purposes and the process of transfer to NCD under a special purpose lease for institutional purposes has begun and will be completed soon. Although this does not settle the issue at hand, it is clear that students will remain out of class until the land and enrolment issue is sorted out properly.