500 elementary school teachers needed in remote Mimika

500 elementary school teachers needed in remote Mimika
, Timika

Markus Makur, 04.05.2010

More than 500 elementary school teachers are needed in Mimika, Papua province, to prevent remote areas of the regency from lagging behind in education, Mimika Education Agency chief Ausilius You says.

A lack of qualified teachers had prompted many schools in the region to employ unqualified teachers, who have only graduated from senior high school, he said. Schools have had to resort to whatever resources were at hand to continue running educational activities, he added.

“To deal with problems of elementary education in Mimika, we need hard work from all parts of the community,” Ausilius said at an event held in conjunction with National Education Day at Timika Indah Square in Papua on Monday.

The problems needing to be addressed urgently include a lack of housing and transportation for teachers assigned to the regency’s mountainous, coastal and remote regions, he said.

The majority of the regency’s 76 elementary schools are situated in distant and mountainous parts of Mimika. A lack of housing facilities, Ausilius said, had made life in these remote areas uncomfortable for teachers.

The situation was madeworse by limited transportation facilities, which often forced teachers assigned to Timika, the capital of Mimika, to remain there for months or even years.

Teachers assigned to the mountainous regions of Arwanop, Geselema, Jagamin, Alama, Jila and Tsinga, for example, had to be flown in by helicopter to their posts.

“We have worked with the Amungme and Kamoro Community Development Institution and PT Freeport Indonesia to provide a helicopter to transport the teachers,” Ausilius said.

“However, once they arrive, they face another problem: they have no place to live.”

Ausilius also said a program of incentives for the far flung teachers had not been met because of the budget shortages.

Separately, Mimika Education Council chairman, Kantius Mameyauw, cited the need for school committees to help tackle the issue of poor teaching conditions.

“There is a lot of ineffectiveness in the development of school buildings in Mimika, including an education center that has not yet been used,” Kantius said.

“Many problems have not received serious attention from the education agency - mostly related to housing and transportation facilities for the teachers.”

Kantius added that the council, school committees, related private institutions and the education agency in Mimika all needed to sit down together to discuss the best solutions for the problems.