School manager sets target

Almost every day he is present at the Koro High School. And at first glance, one could easily mistake him for being a teacher but Kolinio Tawake is the school manager.

He has been holding the post for the past five years. When Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston ripped through the Fiji group on February 20, about half the school buildings were destroyed — these include classrooms, teachers’ quarters and hostels.

There was a need for classes to resume and the Ministry of Education instructed that schools need to reopen as soon as possible.

Koro High School was not in the right state when that instruction was made.

Firstly, the school was in ruins with the roof of its main building blown away and secondly, the school was used as a place of shelter for the people of Nasau Village.

In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, one man stood up and with the assistance and support of teachers, the Ministry of Education and other donor agencies helped return the school to some form of normalcy.

Mr Tawake was there for the school and as he put it, will continue to be there for the school.

“It was the most difficult time in the school,” he said.

“For me personally, I had to first worry about my home and then there was the school.

“School would not have been back to normal if it was not for the support of everyone.”

Mr Tawake or manidia, as he is commonly called, said his main aim now was to ensure the school was fully renovated.

“This is our main objective — to have the school return to the way it was before the cyclone.

“What we want is that by next year we can call back the students of Koro High School who are now in Suva or in other areas,” he said.

The 53-year-old Mudu villager was educated at Nakodu/Mudu Primary School before joining Koro High School and completing his secondary education at Nabua Secondary School.

After completing his vocational studies at Delana Methodist High School, Mr Tawake returned to his village to farm.

“I made sure that every workshop that was held on the island I would attend because to me that was part of my capacity-building and also enhanced my knowledge.

“What I hope right now is that before the start of the 2017 school year, the school will be fully refurbished and teachers who live in tents can return to their quarters.”

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