Yesterday, my colleagues and I traveled to Kupiano Secondary School in Central Province to do awareness on the National Online Application System (NOAS). We were accompanied by media representatives from Post Courier, EMTV and Kundu 2.
Kupiano is approximately 4 hours drive from Port Moresby – in good weather.
Our trip was supposed to have started at 9am and we would arrive at 1pm and return by 4pm. Unfortunately, logistical issues pushed our time table back at least 30 minutes.
The Road to Kupiano
The road to Kupiano is the Magi Highway, which leads out of Port Moresby from 6 Mile and the road is sealed most of the way. However, that is not to say it has been maintained all the way.
There parts of the road that make you wish you could fly instead of drive. However, that all changes when you reach the Abau District at its smooth sailing. I can say Sir Puka did a great job – but the seal road ends at Upulima Rubber Plantation – and then its back to the dirt road.
Racing against time we went through the dirt road like we were in a rally. Of course, we could not stay too close to our lead vehicle without inhaling road dust and we couldn’t put up the windows because the air-condition was not working. Yikes!
Fortunately,we arrived safely around 1:30pm at Kupiano Secondary School and rested until 2pm to give time to the students to have their lunch and for the hall to be prepared.
The National Online Application System (NOAS)
Our visit to the school was to conduct awareness on the how students will get to apply for spacing into tertiary institutions this year. In the last couple of weeks we have visited some school in the National Capital District (NCD) – on their invitations.
It is important for people to be mindful that Secondary Schools do not fall under jurisdiction of the Ministry and Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (HERST). They fall under the wings of the Department of Education (NDoE) which our department works closely with.
The application is a translation of the paper based School-Leaver Form (SLF) into a web based system that students can access with any device that has a browser.
On the application, the students can put in their choices of tertiary programs and institutions and once the Grade 12 external examination results are uploaded, they will have a window of opportunity to either make changes or leave their choices as is.
Now, I’m not going to delve further into what or why we decided to do this, but if you are interested or need more information then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Our Return
We ended our session with students at around 4pm, started our journey back to Port Moresby. But before we started out our driver Sebastian asked Bridget to say a word of prayer.
The prayer was short and simple – but it came with blessings – more than once, as we found out along the way.
The first vehicle left a few minutes head, but we stayed back waiting for the EMTV crew to interview the school’s Deputy Principal. We caught up with them along the road buying diesel. We also stopped and got a few liters of fuel. It was not long before we saw the fruits of our first blessing.
They say the Lord works in mysterious ways and I guess I saw his workings that day. Just before we departed Kupiano, our colleague Otto came and asked if Bridget could get in with us.
She was pregnant and our vehicle had proper seats and was more comfortable. So we had an extra passenger. She was also the one who prayed for our safe return.
As a result of having Bridget with us, our driver Sebastian had to dial down on the speed which meant we were tagging behind our colleagues at least 5 – 10 minutes.
As we approached the bridge at Inuma, we saw the first vehicle on the other side with everyone out and Otto under the car trying to place the jack and lift one side so they could replace a punctured tire.
We stopped and tried to help only to find out that we, our vehicle, did not have a jack or any tools. Then a few minutes later a PMV came with some good Samaritans who helped us.
I believe Bridget gave them some money as thanks – and we were back on the road.
We arrived at Gaire’s famous market at around 8pm. We stopped for refreshment and the flour-fish tasted great (its a lie, I ate cookies and drank Gold-Spot Lime). We we started for the shelter of our homes in the big city.
This time we took the lead and sped off, leaving the other vehicle behind. We had just reached the outskirts of Tubuserea when I got a call from an unregistered number. It was Jackman – and they had another puncture – so we sped back to help them.
When we arrived, help was already there in the form of a bus from the Community Development guys – one of them being Otto’s cousin.
We helped them by replacing their tire with our spare and we headed back to the city. This time driving slowly and cautiously.
The first blessing was that we were driving behind when the first incident occurred. If we have not, then they would not have been able to contact us due to the poor network or not network coverage in certain parts of the area.
Now, the second time they had a puncture, there was network coverage and they were able to contact us.
It’s true! The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Anyway, we arrived safely and I got home around 10:15pm.