Minister for International Trade and Investment & Yangoru-Saussia MP, has urged the Catholic Church and all stakeholders of St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School in the Yangoru-Saussia District of East Sepik Province to redefine the future of the school in his keynote address at the 70th anniversary celebration of the school on the 17th of November, 2023.
“I want to congratulate and thank St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School for its enormous contribution to the district and the country in the last 70 years.”
“You have a very proud history and a legacy worth celebrating.”
“Importantly, we need to thank God for giving wisdom and the drive and passion to our forefathers who worked together with the Catholic Church to start this school which has been a real blessing to our communities.”
“We praise God for this school.”
Minister Maru told the people that while celebrating the 70th anniversary of the school, it was also a good time to reflect on the future of the school and which journey and path it will take beyond the 70 years.
“The first 70 years is a chapter; we have to write a new chapter.”
“The question is: what is the new chapter?”
“What is the future?”
“Do we continue to remain as a primary school, or do we convert the school into a TVET institution?”
“These are the questions that the Catholic Church, the district, and our education authorities need to answer.”
St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School had been providing education to the communities of Belmo-Yekingen, Nindipari, and Boim-Sara since 1953.
“These communities have now grown bigger and have their own new elementary and primary schools.”
“Nindipari has a new primary school with its first grade 8s graduating this year, Belmo has a new school, and we recently opened a new elementary school for Boim-Sara this year and they will be building their new primary school next year.”
“So, what will happen to St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School when these three communities have their own schools and will no longer be sending their children to St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School?”
“This is a serious question that the Catholic Church and the community must address.”
“We have to redefine the future of St. Michael’s Warabung Primary.”
Furthermore, Maru added that the Yangoru-Saussia District Development Authority (DDA) stood ready to support the Catholic Church if it planned to go down the path of converting St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School into a TVET institution.
“We need to build a technical institution because after grade 12 our children will need technical skills.”
“This is no secret; we have been talking to the Catholic Church about converting St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School into a technical institution for our district because they have the reputation, the ability, and the expertise of running technical institutions.”
“The DDA is ready to work with the Catholic Church to support whatever plan that they have for the future of St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School as long as their plan is aligned to the National Government’s plan and priorities and our plans for the district going forward.”
Minister Maru then made a commitment to give, under his discretion K20, 000 to St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School to complete their school fence, K20, 000 for church maintenance, and K10, 000 to Boim-Sara to support the construction of their new Catholic Church.
“I will continue to support the work of the Catholic Church and St. Michael’s Warabung Primary School going forward.”
Interestingly, Minister Maru has spiritual roots going back to Warabung as it is the Parish of his mother, Anna Maru and also the Parish at which he had been baptized at as a baby and given the name Richard Maru.