PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill delighted youngsters in Menyamya when he flew in by helicopter to speak at the secondary school’s 25th grade 10 graduation in October – but had a strong message for the students.

“Do not think that this is the end,” Mr O’Neill said, in reference to the relatively new policy that requires students to continue to grades 11 and 12.

Mr O’Neill told them the graduation was “just the beginning” and said college should be front-of-mind.

“The education you have now is a tool for you to get more skills in your life,” Mr O’Neill said.

He urged the students not to follow the bad examples of students who drink and fight.

“That is not life. Life is about self-discipline so that you can have a quality of life,” he said.

He went on to pledge K1 million to start construction on a new classroom for the school in preparation for their first intake of grade 12 students next year, and another K1 million for infrastructure development at the Asegi High School.

Mr O’Neill reminded those listening that previous governments had tried to introduce tuition-free education, but only his had succeeded.

Mr O’Neill said it had been two years since the policy was introduced and more than a million more students were going to school.

Later in the month, Mr O’Neill opened a K1 million information technology building complex at Ialibu Secondary School.

Mr O’Neill, alongside Southern Highlands governor William Powi and member for Nipa-Kutubu Jeffery Komal, reiterated that education would continue to be his government’s priority.

Mr O’Neill said the government planned to rollout information technology programs for students nationwide.

He said a 2013 program where the government entered into a partnership with the Chinese government to rollout IT programs for schools would be extended.