Thousands of people have marched in Noumea protesting in support of New Caledonia’s Catholic schools, which are struggling to keep operating.
An estimated 7000 people went to the seat of government and to the Congress building last Friday after the school management warned that budget allocations for this year were US$12 million short of what was needed to cover costs.
About 20 percent of New Caledonia’s children — 13,000 — attend Catholic schools, including all children in Belep and in the Isle of Pines where there are no alternatives.
To highlight their plight, the territory’s 62 Catholic schools, which employ about 1500 staff, did not accept any students in their boarding accommodation for a week, and offered no meals.
While the government says it will discuss the funding problems in early June, the administration of the Southern Province has announced the release of US$1.2 million.
It said the funds are to help stave off lay-off procedures.
Private education is the responsibility of New Caledonia as powers have been devolved from France.
Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz