by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Catholic Agency schools in Central Province are likely to face a temporary suspension of classes due to non-payment of Tuition Fee Free funds.
Catholic Bishop of Bereina Diocese, Bishop Rochus Tatamai, called a media conference today and highlighted the current situation faced by these schools affected.
Bishop Rochus told the media that the operations of these schools have been affected by the delay of TFF and shortfalls in payments.
This has been a most worrying situation for our large boarding schools, Mainohana Secondary and Technical School in Bereina and Sacred Heart High School in Tapini that are part of the over 80% of schools operated under the Bereina Catholic Education Agency.
To the extent, most of these schools have no more money to continue operation.
“Sacred Heart has been particularly affected. 50% of these schools 2014 TFF of K199, 000 was not paid and we are still chasing after this money. Then again third and fourth quarter of 2015, Sacred Heart did not receive any TFF. The school has no more money left to operate having totally exhausted all its reserved,” he told the media.
Bishop Rochus described this as a crushing situation for remote schools that are development priorities of the National Government.
“Moreover, it exposes the dysfunction of the TFF administration by the National Education Department since the TFF inception,” he said.
Representations have been made to respective political leaders in their advice for funding support but request have been pending.
“These schools have exhausted all their funds due to the prolonged delay and are appealing for intervention from authorities for operations to continue,” he said.
The Diocesan Education Board approved for students to be immediately sent home by next week, if funding is still a problem.
“Therefore as a consequence, in its meeting 2/2015, the Diocesan Education Board, has regretfully approved the commencement of Mainohana and Sacred Heart sending students home at the end of term three. Grades 7, 9 and 11 students will be sent home at the end of next week. Grades 8, 10 and 12 students will be sent home immediately after their national exams,” he said.
Bishop Rochus said that the bottom line is schools cannot run without money.