NEW Australian-funded school facilities have been opened in the Okapa District of the Eastern Highlands, improving access to education for hundreds of boys and girls.
The facilities at Dr Alpers Memorial School include a fully furnished double classroom, office, teacher’s house, separate toilets for girls and boys and water tanks for improving water and sanitation.
“For a remote school, students and the community are very proud of the new facilities and we are taking ownership of them,” head teacher Oma Koka said.
“This is truly a blessing for students and the Ivingoi community with this gift from Australia.”
Dr Alpers Memorial School has about 430 enrolled students, of which 185 are girls.
Australia is helping to remove barriers to education access in PNG by building up to 1,100 classrooms, of which 90% will be in rural and remote areas.
Many have facilities including toilet blocks, which provide appropriate sanitation to encourage girls to attend and stay at school, and ramps to improve access for disabled children.
Opening the facilities, Provincial Representative of the Australian High Commission, Freddy Hombuhanje said all children, particularly girls and those with disability should have the right to an education.
“That is why Australia is supporting new school facilities such as these at Dr Alpers Memorial School. We want to help Papua New Guinea in its efforts to provide all children with access to quality education,” Mr Hombuhanje said.
Mr Hombuhanje commended the spirit of cooperation within the community which resulted in the new facilities.
“None of this would be possible without the support and the hard work of the community, the teachers and staff, the parents, the students and the School Board of Management.