A second chance

Immanuel College is a self-help school designed to help grade six drop outs. School dropouts are common in PNG as limited spaces for schooling in later years are competitive and depend upon test results and competence in the English language. Children who fail to gain a place for education beyond year six may feel abandoned and often turn to crime.

This school was established by Graham Cole in 1981 while he was a full-time lecturer in Music at Balob Teachers College. He had the assistance of two full-time staff at the school. Graham returned to Australia at the end of 1984.

In 1995 Mr Yatu Idauman became principal and has continued to develop and advance the school and its program to the present day. Yatu and his staff are motivated by the love of Christ to help drop out students, who may have little hope for the future, to achieve self-worth and goals for life and living.

Facilities are very basic and are mostly provided in a large community hall/meeting area with dividers used to allow for separate classes at each year level.

In 1981, the school enrolled 45 students in grade 7 and 41 students in grade 9. It has grown since then and now has students from grade 9 to 11 using the flexible Open and Distant Education (FODE) newly aligned curriculum. Over the years, the school has helped more than 3000 students gain their grade 10 certificates.

This co-educational school helps students to mature spiritually and socially, and helps them academically, and to gain a sense of self-worth, purpose and direction for their life ahead. The school attempts to develop the Christian faith, life, and knowledge of the students through regular worship at school, Christian Education lessons, and individual counselling and guidance as needed and as the occasion arises.

Since its inception, the school has been run almost entirely on a very modest level of school fees paid by the students’ parents. This has to cover the cost of materials from the College of Distance Education, the salaries of the teachers, school building maintenance, school uniforms, and other general school expenses.

Salaries are well below those paid by the government for state and church run schools. In those cases, housing is also generally supplied. A report of May 2017 stated, “Sacrifices made by teachers to go without pay in the last two or three months every year shows commitment and faithfulness of this group of staff members. Despite this set, back they will always get up ready to begin the following year. God bless them and their families.”

In spite of the many difficulties the school faces, there is generally the impression that the students are happy, well assured and determined to do well in life. The name IMMANUEL “God with us” is evident.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner church in Papua New Guinea at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/papua-new-guinea/