Hundreds of locals turned up to participate in the historical event that paves the way for the Morobe Provincial Government’s 3-6-6 policy.
The Heldsbach campus at Finschhafen was filled with the sound of beating kundu drums and women’s singing. The landmark opening of the Heldsbach teacher training centre is not only a first for Morobe but for the nation as well.
Officiating at the event was Governor Ginson Saonu and Education Secretary, Dr Uke Kombra.
Dr Kombra highlighted that Heldsbach Teachers College was established in 1914; 107 years ago.
Describing it as a special place, Dr Kombra said the new teachers training centre, which is a partnership between the Morobe Provincial Government, the Education Department and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG, will offer early childhood diploma courses.
“Bifo yumi save lo elementary school system, mipla save kondaktim wanpla treining ol i kolim ‘SIU’ – self-instructional units,” he said. “Ol i kam lo tripla-faivpla wik bihain, ol i go bek titch i stap, bihain kam bek olsem tri-fo yia pinis nau, ol i save kisim setifiket of elementary teaching. Displa yumi rausim pinis.” (Previously in the elementary school system, we used to conduct the SIU training. Trainees would attend the program for three to five weeks, they will go out and teach then return after three or four years to get their certificates. We have done away with this.)
With the introduction of the early childhood sector, elementary teacher training will now be on a fulltime basis. This program will be run in partnership with the PNG Education Institute.
A second program that Heldsbach will be offering is for elementary teachers to upgrade their training to cater for primary school teaching, considering the 3-6-6 policy will see grades 1 and 2 rejoin primary schools.
Prep students will be with those in early childhood, who are aged four and five. Primary schools will consist of grades 1 to 6 while grades seven and eight will be moved to secondary level.
“Bifo lo 1990, system i stap olsem praimeri skul na hai skul. So bai yumi go bek wantaim greid wan na tu long elementri skuls bai go bek lo praimeri skul.” (Back in 1990, the system was primary and high school. So we will return to when grades one and two were in primary school.)
A groundbreaking ceremony was then conducted to signify the opening of the training centre, which will see its first batch of enrolments in March this year.
(Elementary students preparing to sing the national anthem)