Queen Alexandra
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School demands students pay K250,000 reparation for sports death

Entrance to Rosary Secondary School KondiuJIMMY AWAGL

THE Rosary Secondary School at Kondiu in Simbu Province began its third term on a dramatic note when students were told to show up with K100 before normal classes would resume.

The students were asked to jointly contribute a sum of K250,000 in compensation for the death last month of a Grade 11 student during a schoolboys rugby league match between Kondiu and Kerowagi Secondary.

The relatives of the victim demanded that his school, Kondiu, pay the K250,000. The amount was divided among all students, teachers, and ancillary staff. Students were told to return to school after the second term holiday with nothing less than K100.

When students returned to school they found that the payment had to be made before they could attend classes. From last Monday, the principal persistently demanded the students to provide K100 each.

Classes did not commence and students were told to go home and return with the K100 compensation.

During the week, many students were seen on the streets of Kundiawa with small yellow envelopes looking for district administrators, members of parliament and business houses to sponsor them.

Angry and anxious parents convened to question the principal’s integrity and his authority for harshly penalising every student in this way. Parents demanded a better explanation and said that the school should meet the claim instead of demanding that students pay.

Parents said that, for innocent students, the affair had placed their education in limbo. The compensation demand also placed an excessive burden on parents.

Schools are not business houses and the huge amount of compensation could even close the school for the rest of the year.

As I write this, students continue looking for money and classes are yet to resume.


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Robert Kua

I think that those people taking the lead should have been more conscious about what they were doing and responsible for their behaviour.

Michael Dom

Yeah, ol Simbu save mekim stupid tu.

Blary long, long hangre nek sigarap pasin, tingim bel blong ol iet. Giaman sore.

John Kaupa Kamasua

I heard the story differently regarding the death of the young boy. But in any case the Police, Simbu Peace and Good Order Committee, and the Provincial Education Board/Committee should have been involved to get to the bottom of the incident.

It will set a very bad precedent for many secondary and high schools in Simbu to come for many years.

But this is only my opinion as I am in NCD.

Chris Overland

This is an excellent example of how blind adherence to tradition can effectively kill the chance for PNG to survive and thrive as a nation.

It is, by any sensible logic, quite mad to blame a school community for a death that occurred playing a body contact sport like Rugby League.

Serious injury or even death is a completely foreseeable risk in this type of game.

The demand for huge monetary compensation in this case is nothing more or less than blackmail, with "tradition" being used as its rationale and justification.

The "winners", of course, will be the usual array of rapacious wantoks, who will doubtlessly prey upon the deceased boy's bereaved family.

All developed countries have been required to modify their traditional ideas and practices over time. This sometimes painful and chaotic process is a necessary pre-requisite for socio-economic advancement.

PNG cannot stay frozen in time and yet expect to create a modern, vibrant economy and society.

Somehow, it has to create a synthesis of the old and the new, where unhelpful or destructive traditions are modified or abandoned for the sake of progress towards a new and better collective future.

In this case, for the sake of argument, the government could and should put legislative limits on the monetary demands that can be made for various compensable events.

This is done in Australia (sometimes via an unsettlingly named "Table of Maims") and in most other developed countries.

PNG could even introduce a compulsory no-fault insurance scheme to cover these types of events.

There are plenty of possible solutions whereby the most pernicious effects of demands for compensation could be minimised if not entirely extinguished.

So, where are PNG's legislators on this issue? A cynic might think that they do not wish to change the status quo because, put crudely, it works for them and their wantoks.

Arnold Mundua

I think somebody has truly gone off the track here. Whose decision is this?

David Kasei Wapar

What a harsh penalty!

I wonder if all students turned out to cast a stone each at the deceased!

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