REQUIREMENTS AND STANDARDS: WAY FORWARD FOR EDUCATION IN GOILALA – TAPINI SHHS PRINCIPAL CLARIFIES


Further clarification from the Head Teacher, Sacred Heart High School – Tapini

My comments on the roles and responsibilities of Standards Officers’ and channels of communication are explicitly clear and specific with reference to the Education sector in Central. I am well aware of alternative arrangements that are put in place in case of non-appointment or unavailability of Secondary Standards Officer in a wider context. We are talking about specific issues here concerning Tolokuma Primary School and Sacred Heart High School – Tapini both in Goilala, CP, not in Gulf or the rest of PNG. Furthermore, I have every right to clarify a lot of misunderstanding and negativity that have been propagated by people with vested interests against SHHS – Admin and BOG. This is not an act of insubordination to anybody either!

SHHS – Tapini Admin and the BOG are not responsible for the dilemma faced by Tolokuma Primary students. We should not be looking for lame excuses and scapegoats to blame for some peoples’ irresponsible decisions and lack of forward thinking and planning. My interviews with the four students who enrolled here reveal that they were instructed to enroll at Laloki Secondary by the Administration and BOM of Tolokuma P/S without making proper arrangements. A clear case of people hijacking the selection process and jeopardizing the future of innocent students.

What irks me most is the fact that due processes were not followed in ensuring a smooth transition of students. If the Tolokuma parents wanted their children to go to Laloki, why didn’t they communicate their intentions to the Provincial Education Office prior to the selections in November last year (2014), citing the reasons for their request to be considered for Laloki instead of SHHS – Tapini.

In 2013, the same thing happened during the selections for De Boismenu (Wama) P/S. Mr Dimssock raised serious allegations of child abuse as the reason why the parents opted for Laloki rather than SHHS – Tapini which has always taken students from there. To me and Fr Brian who was present at that meeting, his remarks were quite insensitive, irresponsible and offensive. (Fr Brian was disrespectfully forced to leave because people felt insecure when he tried to put things in perspective.) I am highlighting this because we were never given a fair chance to respond to such unfounded allegations. Those who claim to speak for and as the PEB, are obliged to conduct investigations and establish the facts before making their judgments. Another instance of negligence, irresponsibility and complacence by provincial education officials!

We see the same scenario unfolding in the case of Tolokuma P/S. If Mr Dimsock was aware of these allegations and arrangement by the parents as Chairman of the Selection Committee (2014), he had an obligation to advise SHHS – Tapini and Laloki Secondary respectively.

In 2013, when Mr Dimsock brought the 15 students, they did not have any official documentation (Report Sheets, Lists from previous schools and a promissory Letter from the late MPs office for Project Fee Commitments, etc.) to prove that they were genuine students. As I explained in my first post, most of the students did not meet the registration requirements. Technically, once potential students meet our requirements and get registered, they officially become our responsibility. If people turn up very late in the night due to their lack of planning, they can’t create an emergency situation and expect us to put them up because we don’t operate a resort here. Just because people arrive late and are not accommodated at the school, is not a point of argument for negligence in students’ welfare. I find this line of thinking quite childish and immature.

As I pointed out, we have nothing to hide or cover up as the SSO – Primary alluded to. We stand for transparency and accountability. If he thinks that we are covering up things, he has to be specific and expose those cases – present specific instances of misconduct and malpractice instead of generalizing issues, otherwise we will be going around in circles. We tend to be talking about issues that have become history and were never properly investigated and addressed simply because the relevant officers failed miserably to intervene at the time and establish the facts.

Despite all these unfounded allegations, SHHS – Tapini continues to enroll students from all corners of Goilala as far as Kafano, and Central province.

 

Even up to now we are still getting requests for space from many parents because of our excellent reputation. The decision by De Boismenu parents and recently, Tolokuma P/S to pull their children out will not affect our operations. Our concern is that proper processes and procedures must be followed so that the students are not unnecessarily inconvenienced.

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