There is currently an estimated 600,000 school-aged children across PNG who are not attending school. The main reasons for this are the lack of qualified teachers and the lack of classroom infrastructure.
When KTF began working in the villages along the Kokoda Track, there was an extreme shortage of schools and classrooms. A few larger primary schools existed in the middle of the Track, but the region was particularly crying out for elementary schools to be established in the very remote, and often smaller villages, along and around the Track.
Elementary schooling caters for children in Preparatory, Grade 1 and Grade 2 schooling years… or children aged 5-8. These young children cannot possibly walk the long distances required to get to the nearest primary school and it is often too unsafe for them to board at primary facilities (in the rare occasion that they exist) and burdensome on family members to expect the children to board with them. Young children need to stay within their home villages with their families.
When the elementary education system was first introduced to PNG, it was envisaged that an elementary school would be constructed in every village that was not in reasonable walking distance to another village with an operating elementary school, and that these schools would be staffed by teachers from the local community who spoke and taught in the local language.
Over the past decade, KTF has constructed the following classrooms in schools along and around the Kokoda Track:
- Alola Elementary School
- Enivilogo Elementary School
- Manari Community School
- Efogi 2 Elementary School
- Buna Elementary School
- Kou Kou Infants School
- Naduri Elementary School
- Sanananda Elementary School
- Kokoda College: School of Education
- Kokoda College: School of Health
These schools and teachers are then supported via KTF’s Rich Learning Environments project including teacher salaries, educational resources, professional development and mentoring, and ongoing maintenance of classrooms.
Infrastructure support also involves water and sanitation (WATSAN) solutions for remote schools and solar lighting and power solutions. KTF works with experts in these fields to develop appropriate solutions according to the needs of the school and community. WATSAN and solar activities have been completed at:
- Alola Elementary School – solar panels installed
- Naduri Elementary School – solar panels installed
- Sanananda Elementary School – WATSAN installed
- Gorari Elementary School – WATSAN installed
- Kebara Elementary School – WATSAN installed
- Kou Kou Infants School – WATSAN installed
- Kokoda College – WATSAN & solar panels installed
Thanks to all of our wonderful partners – financial and in-kind – who have enabled us to build facilities to house our wonderful teachers and children and provide safe and rich learning environments for them to learn: Australian Aid Program (Kokoda Initiative), The Lost Battlefield Trust, One Water Australia, Executive Excellence, Icon Adventures, Back Track Adventures, Rotary Club of Blaney, and the Ulladulla Volunteer Group.