WHILE substantial progress has been made on construction of the Kokoda College in Papua New Guinea, the Kokoda Track Foundation says they are in need of more funding so the doors can open the doors on schedule.

October 2013 saw the Kokoda Track Foundation embark on its biggest initiative yet, marking the start of the construction for the centre.

Scheduled to open its doors in the first half of 2014, the Kokoda College is being touted as a state-of-the-art training facility which will offer courses in elementary teaching, primary teaching and community health work.

Improved health care and education systems are vital to PNG’s development.

In the area of education about 500,000 children cannot go to school due to the lack of teachers.

There is an immediate need for 12,500 qualified teachers PNG wide, the Foundation said.

The Foundation has tried to work within the existing structures and continues to support villagers to train as teachers and health workers in existing training institutions.

However the system lacks capacity and there simply are not enough training facilities available to a population of 7 million people. For example, there are only ten nursing schools in PNG where people go to train as community health workers.

The Kokoda College will be the first of its kind – a college in a remote, rural area able to graduate 200 elementary teachers, 60 primary teachers and 60 community health workers each year.

That is enough teachers and community health workers to satisfy the need of the whole Kokoda Catchment area in the first three years of operation.

The College will then open its doors to students from other regions in PNG.

The Kokoda Track Foundation has developed learning programs and conducted some pilot teacher training in Kokoda early 2012.

The curriculum has won wide praise from the PNG government and will be officially accredited and recognised.

The college will offer a number of courses including a six-week course for elementary teachers, a one-year course for primary teachers and a two-year course for community health workers.

“The Kokoda College will substantially contribute towards the number of qualified teachers and community health workers that PNG needs to break the current cycle of poverty,” the Foundation said.

But in order for the college to open its doors in the first half of the year, the Foundation said it was need of additional funds to complete construction.

“We are in need of funds and we are appealing to the Australian public to help us build the Kokoda College,” the Foundation said.