BABIES who were born during the Bougainville crisis have now added colour to Bougainville’s education history. They had completed high school, graduated from grade 10 at Arawa High School last Friday. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville and education experts can now clearly see how everyone had struggled for 10 years up to this stage where kids born in the crisis have graduated. The 15th graduation of grade 10 students at Arawa since the establishment on October 14 (after the crisis) was attended by the Minister for Communications and Information Technology and Member for Central Bougainville Jimmy Miringtoro. Before entering politics, Mr Miringtoro was one of the pioneering teachers at the high school when normal classes were re-established there after the 10-year conflict in which he donated K1 million kina for the school to be upgraded to secondary level. Among those who attended were adviser to the Prime Minister Jeffery Kaki, Central commissioner James Koivo Education Chief Executive Officer Bruno Babato, Headmaster Paul Lapun, Veterans Minister David Sisito and Kieta District Executive Manageress Lucy Traverts. The minister thanked all the teachers who had taught with him during the difficult times when they struggled to bridge the 10-year gap in the education brought on by the crisis. He commended the teachers and the board members who took up the challenge to make Arawa High School a success story. The Minister also said that transforming Arawa High School to secondary school was quite expensive because the school needed proper infrastructure, a good library and school materials such as textbooks on subjecs taught in schools throughout the country. When announcing free education that the O’Neill-Namah Government was introducing next year, Mr Mirintoro asked the students’ parents to take note that free education was not free in the sense that it cames at a high cost to the Government. “To enable this program, we have had to make some hard decisions to directly help the people of this nation as education is becoming quite expensive,” he said. In response to speculations on K5 million committed by the former Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal to Arawa High School, the Minister said this money was misappropriated by the previous government. However, he said gave and undertaking that he and his officers would do their utmost to try and secure funds equivalent to what was promised by Mr Abal earlier. The Minister concluded his speech announcing that the O’Neill-Namah Government was committed to helping Bougainville by strengthening the autonomous arrangement for the people. The graduation ceremony ended with prize giving and the presentation of certificates plus entertainment. Many of those who attended the graduation said this was the best graduation yet at Arawa High School which they hoped would start classes as a secondary high school for the first time.