Australian High Commission
Current and future students in Bougainville’s Peit Constituency are set to benefit from new school facilities which will promote improved education opportunities for the community.
Gagan Primary School on Buka Island has received a new double classroom and teachers’ housing, which were officially opened yesterday as part of the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership.
The school has played a role in the education of some of Bougainville’s most prominent individuals, including Josephine Getsi, Bougainville’s Minister for Community Development and Member for Peit, and the late Dr Alexis Sarei, former Papua New Guinean High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and North Solomons Premier.
Evangelyn Ratsi and Ferdinand Rohen (pictured below) are the head students at Gagan Primary and are certain that their studies will benefit from the new classrooms.
The two students are working hard to achieve their own goals, continuing the school’s tradition of education and aspiration - Evangelyn wants to be a doctor one day and Ferdinand aims to become a pilot.
They are confident they will progress to high school and said the lighting in the new classrooms will enable students to participate in evening classes and studies as they prepare for their final exams.
Gagan Primary is one of 18 schools across Bougainville, including in remote atoll communities, which will benefit from the construction of new learning infrastructure. More than 1,200 new primary school places will be created when the works are completed.
At the ceremony, Minister Getsi commented, “I am so pleased to be here today to see my old primary school upgraded with these new facilities, we have a long history of education at this school going back to 1950s missionary school origins.”
Andrew Egan, Minister Counsellor at the Australian High Commission, said education is vital for poverty reduction, economic growth and social stability.
“Papua New Guinea and Australia have a shared commitment to education,” he said. “Access to education for all children - especially girls - is critical to the future of Papua New Guinea.”
“We are focused on reducing barriers and encouraging girls and boys to attend and stay at school. These new facilities create an environment conducive to quality teaching and learning, which will benefit staff and students, now and in to the future.”
The new facilities also include solar panels and water tanks, which improve the sustainability of the buildings for the school and the local community.
The construction of new school infrastructure is part of Australia’s commitment to quality education for children across Papua New Guinea.