KUNDIAWA - What started as a debating and quiz competition at Wandi Primary School due to lack of sporting facilities has developed into a successful annual event in the Kundiawa-Gembogl District of Simbu Province.
When teacher Fred Tovili, originally from West New Britain, was appointed as the school's sports coordinator, he could not organise sporting activities for the students because of the lack of suitable land.
Like most schools in Simbu Province, Wandi is located on sloping ground and there was just nothing suitable for sport.
Confronted with this dilemma, with the support of other teachers Tovili organised the quiz and debating competition.
The inaugural event was held in 2017 and it was so successful Tovili and his committee decided to expand it to include other schools in the district.
They presented the idea to the principal advisor for the Simbu division of education, Mathew Geglua, who gave Tovili and his team approval to proceed.
The name was changed to Kundiawa Gembogl District Primary Schools Quiz and Debate Competition and eight primary schools participated last year.
The event was supported by the division of education and local business houses Tema Mart and Big Rooster. Port Moresby companies entities Jam Sal Photography sponsored the shield for the winning school and Voice Inc sponsored two trophies for the second and third runner ups. The three-day event was held at Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel with great success.
Prenorkwa Primary School was the champion school and won the shield.
This year’s program began at the Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel last Monday with the official opening by the senior professional assistant for primary education Elizabeth Akore and was witnessed by other senior education officers, public servants in the district administration and private sector representatives including Danal Bishnu of Big Rooster, who was also one of the adjudicators for the debates.
The theme for this year’s event was ‘Developing our human resource with effective communication, confidence, analytical and strategic rebuttal skills at early stage’.
Thirteen schools registered but four pulled out and only nine schools participated: Anigl, Damar, Gon Kambua, Joe Kunda Naur, Koglai, Papnigl, Prenorkwa, St Benedict Special School and Wandi.
The program for the final day began with a word of motivation and encouragement from Abakure Mogia, the province’s professional assistant for high and secondary education.
The debate showdown was a clash of the titans between reigning champion Prenorkwa Primary and Anigl Primary. Passionate and powerful arguments from both sides kept the packed audience on their toes from start to finish.
But Joe Kunda Naur Primary School came out on top overall, winning the Shield, and the three-day event ended on a very high note and with great spirit.
Chief coordinator Fred Tovili has taken up a new post with the University of Goroka and said he was sad to be leaving the province and the event he had initiated. However, he believed there were capable people who will take it on next year and beyond.
He said he would be close by at Goroka so, if his assistance was needed, he would be happy to help.
The participating schools, the provincial division of education and Kundiawa Gembogl district administration congratulated Mr Tovili and wished him all the success in his new career.