Simbu Teachers College in lockdown over appointment of principal

The Simbu Teachers College is in a lockdown since last Thursday due to a controversy over the appointment of a new principal.

Supporters of incumbent Rev Ben Mike were reluctant to allow the "newly-appointed principal" John Teklau Kaupa to take office at the college in Warasimbu, a mere 2km east of the provincial capital Kundiawa.

The supporters, mostly youths, blocked the entrance to the college saying they were not happy with the appointment of Kaupa, a high school principal and a former lecturer at STC.

Kaupa was unable to enter the college on that day due to the commotion and the tense situation on the ground.

Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra has appointed Kaupa to succeed Rev Mick last Monday with certain conditions attached.

Repeated attempts to get comments from Rev Mick and provincial education chief Essy Walkaima were all in vain.

Kaupa said he would move into the college with Governor Noah Kool, Provincial Administrator Joe Kunda and police yesterday (Monday).

The academic and ancillary staff at the institution were reportedly divided in the current to the appointment of the college's administrative head.

Meanwhile, Numbum Disadvantaged School Leavers Association (NDSLA), which the national court has recently ordered to be a partner agency (apart from the Simbu Provincial Government) to the college, has recommended senior education officer and lecturer David Kimin for the same position (principal).

NDSLA chairman Vitus Gelua said a submission based on Mr Kimin's recommendation was sent to the Teacher Education Board and Dr Kombra for  their consideration.

There is a likelihood that classes for the 2017 academic year, which begins this week, will be affected in light of the controversy surrounding the principal's appointment.

The Simbu Teacher's College is the province's premier tertiary institution established by the Kundiawa government based on a proposal by the NDSLA in 2013.

So far it has graduated about 2,000 primary school teachers who are teaching in parts of the country.

Founding principal Clement Kaupa was instrumental in getting the college registered with the Education Department in September 2013.

(Simbu Teachers College's new principal John Teklau Kaupa. He was appointed by education secretary Dr Uke Kombra for a period of six months with conditions attached. Picture by Michael Koma)


Michael Koma