Utai High School Performing

St. Anthony Utai High School in the West Sepik Province is a newly established school with a lot of challenges. However, its students’ performance to date is worth commendation.

The school was started in 2018 by the National Forest Authority’s Amanab Projects Development Benefits (PDB) Blocks 5,6, 1&2. It is run under the Catholic Education Agency.

The high school took in grades 9 and 10 and last year in 2021 they had 170 students.

Joseph Pintol the Principal said they are very fortunate to have the Amanab PDB 5,6, 1&2 for meeting 50% of the school fees for the students from the blocks. The school has not received any funding from the three government funding sources that was due to them in the last year.

PDB 5,6 was the main entity that provided infrastructure like teachers houses and a mini hydro for the school. It was installed late last year.

Principal Pintol said the school had been using solar power and a small generator to perform its administration work.

“Having a regular power supply like this is something I cannot imagine, especially in a remote place like this,” said an elated Principal Pintol.

However, despite all the challenges the school faces, Pintol is satisfied with student performance so far. They had performed well in 2020 in the national exams. He said of the 45 who sat for the Grade 10 national exams, 22 were accepted into higher secondary school in the province.

Principal Pintol was especially pleased that two of his students made it into St. Ignatius Secondary School in Aitape because it is the best performing school in the West Sepik Province.

Utai High School has six teachers. It’s challenge is that there are only five teachers houses, and 34 teaching positions already approved for the school.

The school also lacks dormitories to accommodate students so most have to be day students.

The school is heavily dependent on school fees to meet its expenses, and that is why they only accept students from the local area because PDB subsidizes their school fees complimenting what the parents put in.

Utai High School ran on a budget of K348,000 of which K143,660 came from school fees.

Frieda Kana