School Closes Early Due to Dry Weather

by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The continuous dry weather has forced a primary school in Bereina, Central Province, to suspend the last three weeks of classes for 2015. 

De Boismenu Primary ended its 2015 academic year last Thursday, after the graduation of its Grade Eight students.

The school had been facing water shortages since September, and could no longer hold classes after its only water supply ran out a fortnight ago. 

The Bereina Catholic Diocese runs de Boismenu Primary. It is a feeder school to Mainohana Secondary in Bereina Station and provides primary education for the Mekeo and Kairuku people. It has over 400 students and 14 teachers.

Head Teacher, Bernadette Aoae, says the Education Department in term three sent out a circular advising the teachers to suspend classes if the dry weather continued. 

“We received a circular from the education department that did say if the drought continues, then we have to suspend classes,” Aoea said.

However, the dry weather was not the only reason for the suspension of classes.

Aoea said the school had been facing financial constraints since 2013 and because of that the administration could not access the K80 million Tuition Fee Free money allocated to fund the school’s operational costs.

“The school is also running on debts, our grade eight graduation was funded by parents of grade eight students while I credit money and brought the refreshments for our guests,” she said.

Last week, the Kokomo Water Company refilled two tanks for the teachers to use for drinking and cooking, but the teaching staff fear the water will run out by next week.

“It rained last week and our tanks were refilled, the first water tank finished last week and this last tank might finish too,” Aoea said.

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