English is the official language of education in PNG but a lack of materials, as well as training for teachers, severely limits the ability of students to reach the required standards of English. Through a partnership with schools in north Queensland and a training workshop run by SIL-PNG we have the opportunity to improve the learning outcomes of students in PNG.
This project pays for transport of elementary level reading books from north Queensland to PNG, where they are distributed to elementary school teachers for use in local schools. The books are donated free of charge by Queensland schools where the books are surplus to requirements for various reasons. Books are vetted for suitability and airfreighted on SIL aircraft regularly travelling north from Cairns. Then they are distributed to teachers attending the Vernacular Path to English workshops at the SIL centre. Different teachers attend each course, so this is a very cost-effective way of improving teaching resources in a number of village schools. The program has been running for a couple of years, but more books are now available and we want to increase the scope of the project, to reach more schools and more students.
On completion of the last teacher-training course, Vernacular Path to English, our partners in Papua New Guinea passed on this thank you note for WRDF donors.
We are elementary and primary school teachers of Papua New Guinea from different provinces who attended the Vernacular Path to English course at Ukarumpa in Eastern Highlands Province. We realise that our local languages are very special and important. It is the sound that enables the children to learn, understand and be fully literate. During the training we received a variety of fiction and non-fiction books to use with the children. A special and great thank you to our friends in Australia who donated the books to us. We will go with the books to educate the children. Thank you, thank you and God bless you all.
The 32 teachers present were instructed in use of their local language as a springboard for children to learn basic literacy skills. The donated books will help these children transition from fluency in their ‘vernacular’ or first language to reading and writing English, greatly improving their chances to excel in school.