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Port Moresby
September 17, 2021
Islands Life

Remote School Achieving Excellence Despite Major Challenges

The geographical, infrastructural and financial impediments are just a few variables that hinder the daily operations of any organisation, and the education sector is no exception.

Most, if not all schools, located in remote parts of Papua New Guinea are faced with a number of challenges that ultimately affect the young minds that are supposed to receive an education in such dire circumstances.

What used to be the Lawes College Campus of the London Missionary Society established by the first missionaries of PNG, Dr. William George Lawes is now, James Chalmers Memorial High School (JCMHS) located in the Fife Bay area of Milne Bay Province.

JCMHS, formerly known as Suau High School was established in 2012, by the local United Church with assistance from the PNG Government. It was an initiative by Alotau MP, Hon. Charles Abel.

There are three grade 9 and two grade 10 classrooms within the school grounds. There are three main classrooms, two dormitories and a small mess that caters for 200. There are nine teaching staff including the school’s headmaster, Mr. Leonard Pwaka.

Located in a remote part of the Suau LLG, it could only be reached by sea or afoot, however today there is a road which connects the school to the main access routes.

The only problem is these roads are anything but smooth, which in hindsight adds to the wear and tear of a vehicle’s upkeep.

Despite the challenges faced by the school JCMHS has been recognised among the top 10 schools from around PNG for its exceptional performance in the national grade 10 examinations.

For a school that does not have a library, a science and computer laboratories, a proper mess facility and a diesel generator having the capacity to power a maximum of 3 classrooms, it’s a testament of the resilience of the teaching staff and the students.

Image: Milne Bay Day Committee representative Mr Jimmy Segodi at the James Chalmers Memorial High School 

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