Educate a Nation – Postal Mail



Two decades on Yule Island – Teachers’ College

In 1952, a local government inspector could praise what the four pioneer brothers had accomplished in four years, training young men in village education in Catholic communities on the mainland. Four years later, a full-time course had started. In 1960, a separate Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur (OLSH) college for women with principal Sr. Regina was established. Another four years saw the two colleges merging into a blended teacher training center. It was very innovative in a traditional patriarchal culture. Pioneer Brother Columban was then followed as Principal by Brother Leo (John) Cleary in 1966.
Brother Leo said the philosophy was that “the best teachers, in general, are those born and raised in the culture”, albeit with a multitude of language groups of students.
This state of mind was not always predominant in the actions of many missionaries. With 93 registrations in 1971, Bishop Klein helped fund and plan for extensions, as well as a government grant. However, an inspector reported inadequate facilities. At the same time, Catholic authorities were reluctant to shut down one of its five teaching colleges in any rationalization planning. With an explosive decision, the interim diocesan leader, Father Fraix, MSC, announced in July the closure of the college at the end of the year, citing his drain on finances.

Tumult of the students and “tense weeks are linked” according to Brother Leo; angry protests against Mission authorities ensued. The teachers graduating from 1964 to 1971 were 202 women and 225 men.

Thus ended fifteen years of consolidation by the Brothers, in the accomplishment of their original goal in their mission – the training of teachers. Philip Cahill *, in his historical memoirs, noted the excellent results in public examinations and the recognized dedication of graduates. Years later, the fruits of their labor could be seen in a good and faithful number of former teachers of the Central Province participating in the annual religious retreats led by Br Leo.

Growing national education

In the early 1970s, when independence was imminent, there were strong initiatives to localize education, with the Weedon report. Brother Justin Joyce, previously director of DLS Bomana, had been appointed from 1968 as Missionary Education Officer (MEO) for the Archdiocese of Port Moresby – with control of schools and teachers, new openings and inspections.

He was later appointed inspector of Catholic teachers, who could apply and now receive the same salaries as native teachers.

Rosary College Kondiu, under the leadership of Brother Peter Mays, has become a recognized training ground for future principals in PNG.

The program – associate director – was another way in which the Brothers contributed to the professional training of teachers.

In the late 1970s, DLS Mainohana was selected as a school under the Secondary Schools Community Extension Pilot Project (SSCEPP) to identify employment and development in rural areas.

Learning Mainohana’s technical and agricultural skills for senior students was already advancing the project’s goals of bringing Grade 10 boys back to their communities for employment.

Such appointments, which later included Brother Brendan Crowe, Ed Becker and Bede Frenchas MEO in Catholic Diocesan Education, underscored the reputation and esteem of the caliber of De La Salle’s contribution to educational formation.

A second college of teachers at Mt. Hagen

The college began in the mid-1960s, under Mr. and Mrs. Meere. In 1979, the brothers created a small community in the Highlands, and Br. Edward Becker became Acting Principal of Trinity Catholic Primary Teachers College in Mt Hagen (HTTC). (He served several provinces). In his history of the Institute of the Brothers, Peter Donovan calls this commitment of the brothers “one of the most significant developments”, citing the conviction of Brother Provincial Quentin that the training of teachers was the policy to offer the best service to the community. new nation.

Brother Patrick McInerney, professor of mathematics, was one of many Australian Brothers, over the next two decades, teaching mathematics, science, art, religious studies, music, or being responsible for finance, library, practical education, or as the dean of students. Irish brother Ambrose Gwynne taught music.

There was a close partnership and a sense of community built with the nuns among the staff of the Sisters of Mercy (from 1969), those of Our Lady, the Franciscans and the Holy Spirit. These strong women emphasized the importance of training female teachers.

Br Peter Gilfedder, later Director for several years in the 1990s, worked closely with Assistant Sr Agnes Murphy, RSM.

Br Rick Gaffney describes the presence of brothers there: “The dedication of my fellow teachers in their determination not only to educate their students but also to train them as teachers so that they see teaching as a vocation. … The students themselves were an inspiration. , often living at university far from home and family. (There were)… a lot of sacrifices they were willing to make to become a teacher ”.

In the clear policy of indigenizing the Lasallian imprint in education and promoting the National Brothers as leaders, the story of Brother Peter Keaga stands out (cf. also previous articles).

Peter’s local educational credentials, his strong identity as a brother, and his longtime presidency of the PNG Teachers’ Association have given him strong national visibility. He was also director of DLS Bomana from 1975 to 1980. These qualities spoke clearly of the ingrained nature of the Lasallian mission in PNG.

Sacred Heart Teachers College (SHTC), Bomana 2010

The college has emerged from an education crisis – a lack of teachers willing to work in isolated / remote areas of the Southern region, especially without a support system. Finally, five Catholic dioceses, with Port Moresby, were orchestrated by Father Paul Jennings MSC and Brother Bernard Cooper to begin planning in 2007 with their Catholic and national education authorities. SHTC was formed by a Board of Directors in 2009, and confirmed as part of the national education system.

The first class of 54 students and 50 female students in 2010 obtained their diploma in November 2011, under the direction of Brother Bernard as director.


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