Rusted tins, damaged old roof, and cracked concrete walls confirm Tinak Elementary School in Arno needs more than just repairs. The Journal visited the school with Head Teacher Stephen Jiwirak when Okeanos Vaka Motu transported Jiwirak and his family from Majuro last Friday.
Jiwirak explained the school was formerly St. Paul School and was run by the Catholic church. The school was built around 1976. Jiwirak taught there for 28 years before the RMI government took over the building. He continued his teaching career with Ministry of Education (MOE) for 12 years. He and his daughter Christy are among five current teachers covering kindergarten to eighth grade classes.
School was expected to start this week. If the building gets worse or construction process arrives sooner, schooling will take place outside in the shade of breadfruit trees, said Jiwirak. There were 70 students in the school last year.
Other needs for the school include a functioning water catchment, toilet, and additional teachers.
MOE’s Public School System Assistant Secretary Casiano Jetnil said the building was recently assessed by the Ministry of Public Works Project Management Unit. The report indicated that the building’s condition is unsafe. Tinak Elementary School should have a new building. But before that can happen, grants through Compact funding require the land to be under lease before construction.
A Ministry of Culture and Internal Affairs’ Land and Survey team is expected to measure the area for leasing later this month, said Jetnil.
Read more about this in the August 18, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.