AS THE 2010 academic year began last week for most education institutions around the country people affected by the recent natural disaster in the Western Highlands province are calling upon the education authorities and institutions to be lenient with them.
The people from the worst affected areas such as Dirtywara and Kondipena in the Dei District are calling upon the various education institutions via the provincial administration to consider those students coming from the affected areas.
A mother of four Mrs Sipora Mekpi said their family's only source of income was from garden produces and pigs to pay for school fees and other community contributions and family needs.
And she said recent flooding at Dirtywara has destroyed most of her food and coffee gardens, which are still under water now, and she also lost four big pigs along with five piglets during the flooding.
Mrs Mekpi said the four big pigs worth about K1,000 would have earned her K4,000 which is sufficient for her four children's fees and other family needs. However, she has lost everything to the floods.
To make matters worse, her only semi permanent house was under water making it impossible for the family to settle down properly and work for the students school fees.
Her first born son Charlie will be doing grade nine this year at Togoba Secondary school while Jessy and Jerusa John will be attending Kenembo Primary school doing grades six and two respectively and Lee Degl who attends Enkal Primary will be in grade five.
Mrs Mekpi said that the current policy of paying half or more than half of the school fees before enrolling students will now be a major problem faced by the parents who have lost almost everything in the recent natural disaster.
A dow hearted Mrs Mekpi said as it was a natural disaster, an unexpected event, most parents were betting on the sale of their pigs and the garden produces to pay for their children's school fees and this will not be the case now.
Theresa Peng, another mother from Dirtywara in the Dei district also shared the same sentiments, adding that her four grown pigs were all washed away including four piglets while her food garden is still underwater.
Mrs. Peng has three children all attending primary school and she said finding their school fees would be a difficult thing to do now as she has no cash to pay for the children's education.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary for Education in the province Mr. Hans Gima said special consideration will be given to those parents from the recently affected natural disaster areas.
Mr. Gima further added that parents must show some form of evidence by way of written letters from their local councillors as well as reports confirming the loss of properties from the provincial disaster office.
He added that education for the children is a right and thus his office will not deny this right, adding that he will do his utmost to assist those parents through special arrangement with their respective schools that their children attend.
Reports reaching the provincial disaster office revealed that with the continuous rainy season being experienced in the province, the level of water is rising everyday and people have been warned to take extra precaution.