The new double classrooms provide over 140 elementary and primary students with a more comfortable learning environment, and encourage girls and boys to attend lessons and stay in school. To provide clean water, a 9000 litre water tank has been attached to each building.
Launch ceremonies were held at both schools on 31 August, attended by students, teachers, local officials, community members and representatives from the Australian High Commission.
Before the new classrooms were built, both schools worked with limited resources to cater for the growing numbers of students. Gorari Elementary students previously sat on the ground in an open classroom made out of bush materials.
Construction began at both sites in February and was completed within three months. Kebara Primary enlisted strong community support to build student desks and chairs and complete maintenance work on the old classrooms. The new classroom is now being used by students in grades 7 and 8 as they prepare for high school.
Each classroom cost around K400,000. This included all building materials, labour, logistics and furnishings. Seven construction workers from each village were employed on the project, contributing to the development of local trade skills and injecting funds into the local economy.
The classrooms are part of a K10 million education infrastructure package funded through the PNG Australia Partnership across the Kokoda area. The package includes eight new fully-furnished double classrooms, five classroom building upgrades and nine new staff houses.
The Kokoda Initiative is a long-standing partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The partnership supports remote villages along the Kokoda Track as part of its continuing commitment to provide communities with better access to quality health and education, protect the environment and improve track safety for locals and trekkers.