COMPETITION IS NOT THE ANSWER TO GOILALA’S EDUCATION WOES. PARTNERSHIP IS – Fr BRIAN CAHILL


Patrick Dimsock has again got it wrong in terms of what is required to revitalize the education sector in Goilala.

The Catholic Church is a member of the Universal System of Education in PNG. The principal under which this system operates is ‘partnership’ not ‘competition’.   What our agency is concerned about is the effective delivery of education services, not denominational rivalries or the use of schools for proselytisation which is explicitly prohibited under the Education Act 1983.

With regards to Dimsock’s allegations that this agency tried to ‘hijack’ Tolukuma P/s our agency was approached by previous mine management to take over as controlling agency of the school because of mismanagement of the school and the misuse of school subsidy monies by successive school administrations.

Initially we agreed but have since made clear to the community that we are not prepared to do so given the changes that have taken place in mine management and the volatility in the politics around the mine’s operation.   The Tolukuma P/S is a stand alone in Goilala as its establishment and operation is tied to the mine.

With regards to the change of agency which took place first for the Tapini Community School (now Bl Peter To Rot P/S) in 2000, the Tapini High School (now Sacred Heart High School) in 2006, the reasons for these changes were self evident.

The church stepped in when it was clear that the government lacked the capacity to keep both these institutions operating effectively. The physical development and the performance of both schools since change was effected proves the rightness of this move.

With regards to the schools at Tororo and Belavista. Both schools were affected by the activity of ‘new church’ groups coming into Catholic communities and causing divisions within the community, which adversely affected the operation of these schools. The school which previously operated at Tororo serving the Laloipa Valley has now been permanently relocated to a neutral zone at Koiava (St Mary MacKillop) after 20 years of closure. From Koiava it effectively serves the entire catchment area. The school at Belavista remains closed due to the general problem of teacher shortage and the unsettledness of the population.

Suasi is a Uniting Church community boarder of Goilala and Gulf which has always been respected as such.

I am not sure what Patrick Dimsock’s motives are here in casting dispersions on this agency’s role in the delivery of education services in Goilala. Words like ‘hijacked’ and ‘monopoly’ are loaded words. For certain it is improper for the Senior Standards Officer for Primary Schools in Central Province to defaeme this agency by putting out misinformation on social media which ignores the historical context of the Catholic Church in Goilala and its track record of being there for the people in providing essential services.   Working as it has in ‘partnership’ with Government and other agencies who share this common interest. Moreover you cannot rightly call yourself a ‘Catholic’ while attacking the Church you profess to belong to.

Finally, the SSO should not equate himself with the PEB. Unlike the Catholic Church, he is not even a member of the PEB. There are lawful procedures and processes under which the PEB operates and makes appointments to schools in the ‘unified system’. Government officers or any individual wanting to ignore or manipulate these procedures and processes for their own interests are only promoting anarchy within our school system.

Fr Brian Cahill msc EV

Episcopal Vicar for Education

Diocese of Bereina

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