On the eve of the 45th Independence Day anniversary in Papua New Guinea the goveror of the Enga Province Chief Sir Peter Ipatas opened the five new biuldings at the Highland Lutheran International School at Amapyaka, Enga Province.
The new biuldings were (1) the 2-storey office and administration complex values K1.6 million, (2) a 50 roomed 2-storey girl's dormitory with matrol's built-in self contained unit with a cost of K1.2 million, (3) a 9 in 1 K-8 class complex, (4) a 3 in 1 Science laboratory for Biology, Pysics and Chemistry classrooms with storage offices, and (5) a 4-unit guest roomed residence for visitors.
There was no monetary figure placed for all these new biuldings since some work needs to be done in one or two of these biuldings but the estimate could be over K5 million. The Enga Provincial Government directly funded the office complex and the girl's dormitory.
These new biuldings started construction last year soon after a fire created by unknown sources burnt several biuldings at the school that included the office complex, primary school classrooms and the principal's residence. The school board funded the science laboratory complex, K-8 complex and the guesthouse.
Sir Ipatas who spoke at the opening as guest-of-honor and interim chairman of the school board made it clear of his government's vision for the HLIS. "This school in its establishment as a K-12 school has an agenda and mission to provide an internationally recognized Christian based education to two groups of children. First is the children of lectures and staff at the University of Goroka--Enga Campus, Enga Teachers College, Enga School of Nursing, the upcoming Polytechnic college and for medical staff and doctors of the new K500 million Enga Hospital that will open its services next year. The second is to provide an opportunity for the top performing Engan grade 10 students who can be given a scholarship through the provincial government's School of Excellence program, based in this school" he said.
The Governor said HLIS has a special place in Enga to provide a best school for the children of specialist and well trained professionals to find jobs at our colleges and institutions. This time I find that there are 90 lecturers and doctors within Wabag town and that catchment will grow in the years to come and even when we declare an university of our own next year." he added.
"The first question these lecturers/academics and medical specialists ask is where is a school that my children will attend?" the governor said. He said to answer that question my government is investing in the right place at HLIS and others in Enga."
Hen then challenged the two bishops of the Gutnius Lutheran Church Papua New Guinea (GLC) who were in attendance to accept retirement and make way for a younger pastor to unite and lead the church. He told them to think about their age and time as we are all here for once and gone tomorrow.
"I am giving you the opportunity now to think of your retirement because I am now the Lutheran governor. We all may not be around tomorrow as age catches up and office we hold belongs to the public. These investments must be embraced by a younger and single bishop who must work with the government to provide the partnership to deliver service. Currently we all Lutheran but government workers run this school because the church is in leadership crisis," he added.
"You may be questioning why is the governor chairman of a school board? he asked. "I was chairman of Irelya Lutheran Primary School board because of my tribe is there and also interim board chairman for Yai Primary School because it is on my mother's land," he added. "I am interim chairman at HLIS because my children go school here and I am Lutheran."
"Sometimes I have got to step in to do small work because those entrusted to do fail to perform and the outputs affect me, my children and family personally," he added. But he further asked the Church leaders of the GLC to do something soon to end their standoffs and embrace these investments coming into the Church institutions. He told the GLC to take ownership and run the HLIS with the provision of Christian teachers and teaching of the Gospel.
"There are more work including maintenance that needs to be done for the school but these will be addressed as we move on," the governor who is also the interim chairman added. He then thanked everyone led by the teachers, ancillary staff, parents, contractors and all stakeholders for their cooperation and unity in rebuilding the school.
Finally he added by wishing the parents and public a happy 45th Independence anniversary and reasoned a great day for the celebration. "Enga has a reason to celebrate with the rest of PNG for my government's bold push to invest in education." he said. "If we must achieve full independence then we must educate our children," he added.
"We will continue to depend on the Chinese and the Aussies if we do not educate our children and equip them with the world class education, skills and knowledge," he added. And he said was his reason to invest now and more into the future. "After Porgera Gold, Enga will rely on its educated entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, pilots, teachers, engineers and the professionals in all walks of life," he added.
"If I give you cash there is no future for you," he told the crowd. "One day your educated son or daughter will come to you with something more than cash and that is what i am doing today to invest in educating your children for your future" he said.
"There is more to do for education in Enga and we have a long way to go" he added. "By November the Bill to establish the Enga University will go before parliament. We have three colleges offering degrees by this year to form the nucleus campus of the university. Once ratified we won't have a fully pledged university but it will develop.as it moves unlike the Southwestern Pacific University in Ialibu," the governor stated.
"Students who pass out at Grade 12 at HLIS, among other secondary schools in Enga, will have an University of their own. In the past Enga students have gone to other parts of the country but our University will make rest of PNG come to Enga," he added.
"We have invested in the University of Goroka campus in Enga with K8 million. It's worth the investment to transfer specialised degrees for teachers in primary and secondary schools in Enga. There is cash flow in an University. For UOG they spin K50 million a year for 4,000 students. The Enga University may enrol 2,000 students and the cash flow is like K25-K30 million a year."
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