Friday, January 21, 2011

New Ireland takes on free education



ELEMENTARY up to Grade 8 students in New Ireland will receive free education this year, The National reports.

A special provincial executive council meeting on Wednesday reaffirmed the free education policy for the sector throughout the province.

Governor Sir Julius Chan said in a statement that students attending Grades 9-12 and vocational centres were entitled to a 75% subsidy while all tertiary institutions and universities would pay a fixed K1, 200.

“We are investing far more in education than is known to the public because our budget spending on school maintenance, for instance, is more than K5.4 million this year with more than K10 million for new high schools.”

The governor said based on these allocations, there was no need for schools to impose project fees as was the case previously.

“However, I am not against genuine desire towards achieving self-reliance by schools if projects are properly identified and transparent reporting and clear completion dates are given.”

He said such fees must be sanctioned by the provincial director for education.

Meanwhile, K31 million was approved for priority health improvement.

Sir Julius had directed provincial administrator Simeon Malai to investigate, confirm and coordinate reports of water and food shortages in communities from the growing intensity of the drought experienced in the province.

He said the health plan would counter the slide in indicators in New Ireland with the closure of 21 aid posts, high prevalence of malaria, high infant mortality rate and the desire to bring efficient basic services to the rural areas.

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