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TEACHING IN REMOTE SCHOOLS

By Jim John
Teachers across Papua New Guinea have been contributing to nation building through the education of its human resource.

One such teacher is Mr Junior Iwo, aged 30, from the Matkomnai village located 50 kilometres along Kiunga-Tabubil highway in North Fly District of Western Province who continues to educate the children in remote places.

He has been teaching in rural primary schools within the district for six years to ensure children are educated.

So passionate about teaching, Mr Iwo has taken on challenges in remote parts of North Fly where there is lack of road, electricity, communication towers including geographical  challenges to see young generations strive for excellence through education.

“I love teaching because young generations are our upcoming future leaders in Western Province and Papua New Guinea. It is important children not only in urban centres Like Tabubil, Ningerum and Kiunga are served but rural villages too must be educated.” explained Mr Iwo.

He shared that teachers serving in rural areas walk in thick jungles, cross rivers and climb mountains to reach respective schools they are posted to teach.

“Most times we don’t communicate with our families and friends due to communication or network problems and where there is no airstrip, we walk in bush tracks and sometimes paddle along Fly River, swamps and lakes to reach schools.” he said.

These challenges have not stopped Junior from serving in remote places.

For this academic year, he was transferred to teach at Miwa Primary School in Lake Murray, Middle Fly District of Western Province.

It is now week five of the term one, and some teachers like himself have been struggling to be on time at school.

Two months ago, Mr Iwo was arranging dinghy operators to travel down Fly to Miwa Primary School.

His expectations of arriving at the school did not eventuate as North Fly District has been facing fuel shortages especially zoom and petrol which have affected many operators along the Fly River.

On March 1st, 2023, there were some passengers trying to travel to Lake Murray so Junior had to get on with them using dugout canoe that has the motor engine.

They spent over K1,200 to buy 6 petrol drums before the fuel shortages to use to travel for two days from Kiunga, North Fly District to Lake Murray, in Middle Fly District.

He said” prices of fuels are too expensive but the passengers contributed from their own pockets which enabled us to travel for two days and nights along the Fly River and lakes to reach lake Murray.”

Mr Iwo expressed that more roads, airstrips and communication towers need to be established in Western Province that will help people in remote places to access better services and teachers to be on time to teach the students.

He said, this would ease the burden of teachers serving in remote villages as well as people in four districts within the province to at least have  access to urban centres.

Despite these challenges, upcoming teachers of Western Province are being encouraged to serve with dignity and pride in educating the children for better future.

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