Awesa asks Kuman to direct release of TFF funds

Minister for Works and Implementation Francis Awesa has written to Education Minister Nick Kuman over the dire financial state of Yebi high school in Imbonggu district, Southern Highlands Province.

In the letter, Kuman was asked to direct the National Department of Education (NDOE) to immediately release all outstanding tuition fee free (TFF) education funds destined for Yebi high school for term one and two of 2016 school year.

On May 16 2016, after learning of the dire financial situation faced by Yebi high school, Awesa convened an urgent meeting between the former and current principals to resolve outstanding issues to restore normalcy at the school.

It was revealed in the meeting that the school owed service providers over K400,000 incurred between 2013 and 2015 under the former principal’s administration.

The current principal, Jennifer Peter told Awesa that the school could not pay the service providers claiming payment because there was no proper record and report of former principal, Mrs Margaret Tawina to verify the claims for payment.

As well, due to Tawina not handing over 2015 report, Ms Peter could not furnish the NDOE with 2015 and 2016 National School Census data, which is used to calculate TFF education grants to schools.

Consequently, the NDOE has wrongly recorded Yebi high school as being closed for 2016 academic year.

Awesa stressed in the meeting that many parents were concerned that individual and personal interests were seriously impacting negatively on the learning of their children.

It is understood Tawina has yet to hand over her promised report to the school management as yet.

In another bid to get the NDOE to release Yebi high school’s share of 2016 TFF education funds,  Awesa wrote to  Kuman and letter copied to Acting Secretary for Education Dr Uke Kombra.

In his letter dated May 16 2016,  Awesa said genuine national government policy on TTF education should not be frustrated by self and individual interests as well as administrative inabilities.

“Yebi is a premier high school that has produced some of the best students in Imbonggu district as well as the Southern Highlands province.

“The current Government has placed education among the top development priorities together with introduction of the TFF education, which has received overwhelming acceptance PNG-wide.

“Genuine government efforts to fully implement this policy should not be frustrated by administrative inabilities and problems.

“By this letter, your directive is sought for the immediate re-instatement of Yebi High School as an operating school and not closed; and  release of all outstanding TFF education funds for Term 1 and Term 2 for Yebi High School,” Awesa said in his letter to Kuman.

In related news, two service providers have taken Yebi school management to court over outstanding payments totalling over K56,000.

As cost saving measure, students’ meals have been reduced to only morning and afternoon skipping lunch.

There are 603 students, 321 boys and 282 girls with 20 teachers.


Picture: Francis Awesa (left) explaining to some parents and community near Yebi high school of his intervention to help resolve the school’s financial problems.



Press statement