Teachers and students on the remote island of Nissan in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are benefiting from new education facilities to improve their teaching and learning environment.
Supported by the Australian Government, Tungol Primary School received a new fully furnished double classroom and teacher’s house for the school’s 110 students and four teachers.
Keys to the double classroom were handed over in July by Raymond Sauba from the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Department of Education to allow grade 8 students access to prepare for their exams.
Head teacher Aloysius Toniou and his wife Hedwig both teach at the remote school and said the new facilities will attract and retain both students and teachers.
“With the new additions to the school, we are hopeful that there will be an increase in enrolments, and an attraction for more teachers to teach here despite the K150 boat ride, and more students will continue onto Grade 9,” said Mr Toniou.
“We are also excited and looking forward to moving into our new home. The move will improve our living standards and empower us to educate our children on Nissan.”
Mr and Mrs Toniou have been teaching at Tungol since 2017 and currently live in a rundown two-bedroom house powered by a generator. They were recently selected by the school board to move into the new fully-furnished teacher’s house, which includes solar power lighting and a rainwater storage tank.
Only accessible by sea, Nissan Island has a population of 7,500 people and is a four-hour boat ride from North Bougainville. Tungol Primary School is one of seven primary schools on the small coral island catering for Grades 3 to 8 students, before continuing to Nissan High School to complete Grades 9 and 10.
Nissan and two other remote atolls are the last three of 18 primary schools across Bougainville benefiting from new education infrastructure supported by the Australian Government in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Government of Papua New Guinea.
The new double classrooms will provide more than 1,200 primary school places for Bougainvillean children, with the staff houses delivering comfortable accommodation for teachers at 18 schools.