Anita Balai Bral, 30, left her home of Salt/Nomane Kariumui Electorate of Simbu Province with her husband and three children in 2015 to pursue her studies in Kundiawa, the provincial capital, located some 100 kilometres from her home. For Anita and her small family, it was a difficult period of their lives, their only income came from odd jobs her husband could find to support the family, and it was really a struggle to survive in an urban setting after living in a remote yet subsistence lifestyle, were they had both a home and land. She and her husband rented a room on the outskirts of the town as they did not have enough money for Anita to be a boarding student. It was very difficult with three young children.
In 2016, Anita was informed that her application for a scholarship from the European Union under its Human Resources Development Programme was successful and that she would be receiving a scholarship for the remainder of her studies. Anita appreciates the relief the scholarship provides to her family and says she is determined to return to her remote school 'Kilau Primary School', where she herself completed her own education, to give her best there in her own community.
"I am really glad to be included in this programme. The support is a big relief to me and my family. I can concentrate better now on my studies and my husband meagre income is sufficient to support me and our three children. Thank you European Union tax payers, thank you so much".
With the generous support of the EU towards the Government of Papua New Guinea's goal of achieving quality education at the primary level, students like, Anita, George and Sandy can complete their training to become school teachers in their community.
The Delegation of the European Union to Papua New Guinea is pleased to support the achievement of quality education at the primary level which is underpinned in the Universal Basic Education Plan.
As part of the agreement with the Government of Papua New Guinea, funding was set aside to support trainee teachers to be trained and to deliver quality education at the primary level in their remote communities under a Financing Agreement (FA) signed in 2011.
In doing so , the European Union Delegation encourages schools receiving the funding to work closely with the project team to ensure smooth management of scholarships so that maximum number of trainee teachers graduate from the programme.
In this spirit of cooperation, a Scholarships monitoring mission to Simbu Teacher Training College, one of the 10 Teacher Training Colleges, took place recently on November 16.
The Human Resources Development Programme Phase 1 (HRDP1) project received a total of EUR13m initially which was further increased by an additional EUR3.8m in 2014. This additional funding was set out to fund scholarships for trainee teachers at the primary level.
Under the scholarships component, over a 1000 trainee teachers are sponsored in 10 different teacher training colleges all over the country. Simbu Teachers College also has trainee teachers who are benefitting from the scholarships programme with the College presently hosting 54 trainee teachers.
The mission conducted two meetings; one with the administration and the other with trainee teachers under the European Union Scholarships programme.
A meeting between the College Administration and the Scholarships monitoring mission was held to explain to the administration the role of HRDP1 Project Implementing Unit, the Department of Education (DoE), the National Authorising Office (NAO) the European Union as well as the respective College Administration in the successful delivery of the programme. The College administration shared with the mission details of its efforts to devise a system to identify genuine students and is working closely with the DoE (Measurement Services Unit) to ensure smooth management of scholarships.
EU Programme Manager, Mr John Kuri, on behalf of the Delegation of the European Union to Papua New Guinea expressed the EU's pleasure to support trainee teachers receive their teaching qualifications so that they can provide quality education in remote communities. The trainees were encouraged to fulfil their duty as scholarship recipients and work at their best in their training while looking forward to graduation in 2017.