Children must walk long distances to get to school

Children must walk long distances to get to school


Children who live in the Central Highlands of Papua have to walk very long distances to get to school every day, said an official of World Vision, Ardiyanto Parula. She gave the example of Kurulu, a sub-district in the district of Jayawijaya where the terrain is very difficult and there are no roads to use so children who live in the kampungs must walk to school.This often means walking a distance of anything between six and ten kilometres, she said.

In the Central Highlands which is high above sea level, the land is very steep, adding to the problems of walking the distance. However, for people living in these relatively isolated kampungs, the primary schools are mostly located in the more developed areas which are very far from the kampungs. 'The journey to school could take more than an hour.'

Sometimes because of the difficult terrain, the children take a short cut which can be even more difficult and dangerous.

Although the children are very keen to go to school, the journey can be particularly hazardous when the weather is bad and there's a lot of rain which makes the ground very slippery and muddy. The rivers can overflow and flood the surrounding area, making the journey even worse. Under conditions like this, the schools cannot function because the teachers dont turn up.

These long distances often mean that the parents are not keen to let their children go to school, because of the possible dangers on the way. What often happens is that the children arrive back home having learned nothing because there were no teachers at the school. She said that teachers rarely go to schools in the interior because of these problems.

She said that although the children are very keen, the government pays very little attention to make sure that the community in general and the children in particular are assured of a decent education.

Abridged translation by Tapol