ON Wednesday, under the Kokoda Initiative, the Australian government opened a new double classroom, two new staff houses and toilet facilities at Efogi and Kavovo villages on the Kokoda Track.
The infrastructure was funded by Australia under the partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea to protect the Kokoda Track region and deliver services to its communities.
The new buildings will support more than 272 students and 13 teachers at Efogi, Kavovo and the surrounding villages of Launamu, Kagi, Naduri and Manari.
Teachers at Efogi Primary School will no longer have to conduct elementary classes in the local community hall as has been the case due to inadequate facilities.
“When the community hall was in use, classes were either cancelled or conducted under trees,” said Ms Joyce Sam, Teacher in Charge at Efogi Elementary School.
“Now we will not be doing that because we have a new classroom. The students and I are very happy and are very thankful to the Australian government for this new building.”
The accommodation is expected to increase the teacher retention rate in both villages. Inadequate teacher accommodation has been one impediment to the retention of teachers.
Rod Hilton from the Australian High Commission said Australia has invested in health, education and water and sanitation all along the Track, from Depo in Central Province to Kokoda, Kanga and Gorari in Oro Province.
In recent years, Australia has built or renovated over 50 health and education infrastructure, including 16 double classrooms, in the Kokoda Track region.