School torn between 2 principals

Whilst other schools in the country have settled into their third week of schooling, an institution in the nation’s capital is still torn between two principals.

The Bomana De La Salle Secondary School, outside Port Moresby, currently has a principal appointed by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and a nominee from the Catholic Agency itself.

The former principal, James Ume, officially announced his retirement on January 22, 2018, and handed over the reins to Br. Anthony Swamy Pancas.

However, on the 1st of February, a secondary school coordinator delivered TSC’s decision to re-appoint retired officer Ume to the principal’s position.

Staff at the school told Loop PNG that the coordinator then confronted Br. Anthony in his office and directed him to vacate the position. 

Following this, 25 out of the 37 teachers have now signed a petition to the chairman of the Teaching Service Commission, calling for him to immediately rescind his January 30th decision.

“TSC as the legal custodian of the TSC Act has already set a very bad precedent to re-appoint a compulsory retired teacher,” said the teachers.

“The TSC has defied its own directives (Joint Circular Instruction No. 1/2016 of 20 October 2016) regarding compulsory retirement of teachers who reached 60 years.”

In the petition, the teachers outlined a number of other reasons as to why they strongly oppose Ume’s reappointment. These include:

  • The school admin and board of governors have no plans/visions; No policies in place for the last 10 – 11 years.
  • No infrastructure development in the school for the last 10 to 11 years, while other La Salle schools like Jubilee secondary, Hohola Youth Development Centre (HYDC) and Sacred Heart Teachers College have improved.
  • No end of year financial reports to the stakeholders for the last 10 to 11 years. 
  • K500,000 from NCD Governor has dissolved without any tangible development.
  • No audits done for the school for the last 10 to 11 years.
  • High rate of student termination and suspensions (discipline problems) for the last 10 years.
  • No teacher professional development program to upgrade our teachers who are diploma holders.  
  • Not enough textbooks for all the subjects. Teachers use photocopied materials every day.

“We want the Catholic Agency’s nominee to be principal,” continued the teachers.

“This is a Catholic agency school and the recommendation for the school principal always comes from the Agency.  

“We want the relevant authorities, the Catholic Agency, La Salle Brothers, Teaching Services Commission and NCDES to seriously address these issues.

“We will not cooperate well with him (Ume), thus it will affect students’ learning.”

Meanwhile, a De La Salle parents and citizens meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow to further discuss the issue.


Carmella Gware