La Salle Technical College in Hohola, Port Moresby, has been providing educational and vocational opportunities for students who have been unable to attend secondary school because of lack of spaces in the existing schools or because their primary school results did not reach the required cut-off mark for entry to secondary school.
Since the introduction of free primary school education in PNG in 2017, the numbers of students in PNG receiving a primary school education has increased markedly. Likewise, the number of students seeking to continue their education in a secondary school has been steadily increasing, but there has been no increase in the number of secondary schools to cater for this increased demand. The government response has been to increase the number of students in each secondary school class to over 60, a move which has still left many qualified students unable to access a secondary education.
In 2021, La Salle Technical College introduced the PNG National Curriculum at Grade 9 to progressively replace the Flexible and Open Distance Education (FODE) curriculum which had been followed at La Salle Technical College (also known as Hohola Youth Development Centre) since the 1960s. An additional class was introduced at Grade 9 in 2021 so that there are currently seven Grade 9 classes. An additional class for Grade 10 will be added in 2022, three additional classes for Grade 11 in 2023 and three additional classes for Grade 12 in 2024.
The increase in the number of classes and students will require a significant infrastructure building project to be undertaken in 2022. Discussions and planning are currently underway for this development. The building program will likely require the construction of seven general classrooms, a specialist hospitality centre, a new staff room and staff facilities, an additional science room and additional toilet facilities. The total cost of the project is not known at this stage as detailed plans have yet to be produced, but a quick estimate is that the project will cost at least $400,000. It may be that the infrastructure is constructed in two stages so that the cost can be spread over several years.