Speaking during the occasion of the official handing over ceremony of a new three classroom block at Teatupa Primary School in Ghaobata Ward on 20th March 2019, the Acting Premier for Guadalcanal Province, Peter Aoraonisaka, thanked and praised the community of Teatupa for their support, the MPGIS for coordinating the PGSP funding, the contractor Mr. John Manaka of BP & Family, and Guadalcanal Province’s Planning and Education Divisions for their full support in ensuring the completion of the Teatupa Classroom Project. The Acting Premier told the gathering that such a timely completion of the project within its timeframe in a quality standard required by the Province was a result of the community support and the dedication of the contractor. He added that the Province has also witnessed the steady completion of the 29 PCDF projects approved by Guadalcanal Province implemented from 2016 to 2018 in the sectors of health, education, women, sports, commerce and livelihood.
Peter Aoraonisaka informed the communities in Ghaobata Ward that it is due to their support and commitment and those of the contractors of various PCDF projects that the staff of GPG are able to make the Province qualify for the much needed Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) in the last couple of years. Since then, the GP Deputy Premier said, the Province has implemented a total of fifty projects since the inception of the Provincial Governance Strengthening Programme (PGSP) in 2008. He stated that although the Province finds it challenging, it has always strived to adhere to the values and morals of good governance such as accountability demanded by the expectations of the PGSP. The Deputy Premier added that it is not all about funding but also the capacity building that goes with the funding, which he said is helping the Provinces to improve governance.
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), in his brief remarks, said he and his entourage were indeed honoured and humbled to be part of the handing over ceremony which was witnessed by the community and the proud students of Teatupa Primary School.
“This small but important event resulted from the joint efforts of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government, the National Government through the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), in partnership with a local contractor and most importantly, you the community”, PS Pirione stated.
PS Pirione informed the community that despite difficulties in securing funds and its actual disbursement, the Ministry is well focused in ensuring that the PCDF Projects continue to provide the needed infrastructure for our people. He said the National Government through MPGIS is fully committed to providing PCDF funding to help Provincial Governments implement infrastructural projects of their choices. The Permanent Secretary informed the gathering that the National Government is fully funding the project for the people of Solomon Islands to ensure the rural communities are fully supported to improve their livelihood. The SIG, he said, has this year allocated SBD40 million for disbursement to the Nine Provinces under the PCDF through the MPGIS budget.
The PS stated that PGSP’s Phase II which started in 2016/17 is estimated at USD$34 Million for the next 5 to 6 years and the Ministry is also talking with development partners for more assistance in this regard. Provinces including Guadalcanal will certainly benefit from this program once support is continued to be provided. The programme, he said, has delivered more than 1,000 completed infrastructure projects since 2008, which were all delivered by the Provincial Governments.
The PS underlined the efforts being made by the Provincial Government of Guadalcanal despite the challenges they face in project implementation. Lot of achievements, he said, have been made and that he is happy with the commitment of the Province and the communities at large. He congratulated Guadalcanal Provincial Government, communities and contractors for the endurance and commitment that has resulted in the completion of the projects especially Teatupa Primary in record time leading to today’s celebration for its official handing over to the community.
Chairperson of the Teatupa Primary School Board, Batholomew Vavanga (a former GP Premier) former Member of the Provincial Assembly for Ghaobata Ward could not be more excited. In his brief remarks, Hon. Vavanga, acknowledged the Province and the Ministry for their immense contribution to the successful implementation of this important school project. He advised the members of the community, teachers, and students to ensure the school is maintained well. “We have been wishing for this assistance and now we have it and are celebrating the achievement, I am calling on all of us, to please look after our classrooms” he pleaded. “We must know that we are so lucky to benefit from this project which could have been awarded to another community”.
The Chief Education Officer for Guadalcanal Province Mr. Maesac Suia, highlighted the importance of education as the key to any development be it economic, social/physical or spiritual. He invited all parents in the area to send their kids to Teatupa Primary. He appealed to the students to maximise utilization of the classrooms for their learning whilst calling on the teachers to facilitate effective learning in what is now a permanent, safe and quality classroom.
The Head Mistress of Teatupa Primary School, Mrs Margaret Barimata, who just took up her new posting at Teatupa at the beginning of this year, expressed her appreciation of the efforts made by the community, the Province and the Ministry for the realisation of their three additional classrooms. She said the walls of the bottom floor classrooms used to be all bamboos, which was not safe for children. Asked if she has any more comments to make, she said, they would work towards ensuring the classrooms are fully equipped with furniture and shelves for storage. For now, she said standard One, Two and Three students are already excited moving into their new classrooms. “We have a total enrolment of 200 plus students with six trained teachers and one on distant flexible learning” she said.
A women’s representative, Mrs. Emily Vavanga, who is an employee of GPOL, expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the actors in the project. She highlighted the extent to which the community and the parents appreciate this project. She further challenged the teachers to perform to the community’s expectations so as to produce better results for the school. She urged students to learn and produce good grades, and for the parents, she urged them to provide more support to the school so that the place becomes a more conducive learning environment for the children. She asked the SIG through the Provincial Education Authority to provide qualified teachers for the school. The teachers, she said, should be upgraded all the time to meet the challenges in the classroom. In addition to the primary school, the women representative further challenged the community to aim high at upgrading the school to a community high school or secondary school or even securing it as a college of high education for the community in the long run.
The Provincial Secretary, Mr. Timothy Ngele, assured the community and the school that the Province shall continue to provide support to the needy communities like Teatupa. He added that the Province is challenged by the scarcity of resources, which affects its ability to ensure services trickle down to rural areas.
The occasion was well organised with presentation of speeches and gifts to the invited guests and entertainment provided by the students of Teatupa. It was indeed a hearty celebration with a community feast. High level delegation from both Guadalcanal Province and the Ministry attended the handing over led by the Deputy Premier whilst the MPGIS delegation was led by the PS, Stanley D. Pirione. The MPGIS also included, the Executive Secretary of MPGIS, Suzie Iro, the Programme Management Expert of PGSP, MLSawaneh, the Project Director of MPGIS, Marx Tova, the Communications Officer of PGSP, Baddley Nukumuna, the Chief Infrastructure Officer of MPGIS, Sylvester Tiki. The Permanent Secretary performed the ribbon cutting and the official handing over of the building on behalf of the Ministry and the SIG.
Teatupa Primary School Classroom Project is funded by PCDF and caters for the construction of three classrooms at the bottom floor of the existing classroom building at a cost of SBD331, 770. The project duration was three months, and it was satisfactorily completed in February 2019.
Teatupa School is located inland beyond Balasuna Bridge approx. 32km or 20 miles east of Honiara with a clear view of Mt. Tatuve near one of the bends of the longest river in the Solomon Islands, the Balasuna. It is where the boundaries of three constituencies converge; North East Guadalcanal, North Guadalcanal and Vulolo.