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Papua New Guinea

Deprived Salamaua High School survives where no one can

Where other provincial high schools have modernised, progressed and moved on with changing technology and state of the art facilities, time seems to have gone backwards for Salamaua in Morobe Province.
The provincial high school there is truly a symbol of national shame not only for Morobe and the Mamose region but for the whole country and the government of the day as well.
More than 800 students there have been and still are living in unbelievable accommodation in their so-called male dormitories.
Words failed our reporters who visited the school recently and witnessed how the students themselves converted their ablution blocks into sleeping quarters.
Words also fail to describe the so-called sleeping quarters for the boys which are literally likened to sardines packed in a tin can.
The count was six students to a cubicle architecturally designed to accommodate only two in each.
The situation is so bad that there is even no room to move around in the corridors because all space there have been taken up to sleep as well.
Just below the bare ceilings, students have constructed makeshift hanging beds where they can sleep with whatever makeshift and bush materials they can find.
It is a situation of fending for yourself the best you can under the most trying circumstances.
Just how in the world such a dreadful situation like that was allowed to happen defeats all known and possible logic.
To sum it up, school students there are living in accommodation not fit for human habitation and under the noses of authorities which have either gone unnoticed or deliberately ignored for reasons known only to themselves.
But for their resilience and desire to obtain some form of reasonable or basic education, they silently endure under most trying circumstances what is similar to overcrowded prisons which is another story in itself in PNG.
It is totally a national shame and defeats the purpose of the TFF policy and the countless boasts about school children and their parents benefiting from the millions allocated and released late to the schools every six months.
Education authorities in Morobe should bear the shame of Salamaua for having allowed it to deteriorate into its current dilapidated state.
The Minister for Education and his departmental secretary should equally share the blame for this national embarrassment because the situation does not augur well with the government policy of free education where infrastructure is also factored.
How in the world does the government and the minister responsible expect those students to be given a fair chance to excel in education when they turn a blind eye to their dreadful living conditions.
This shameful situation should not have been allowed to happen in the first place.

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