By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
A report from the National Education Department has revealed that literacy levels across the country are declining.
The National Literacy Week Report highlighted that 23 districts have rates at less than 40 per cent, stating that factors such as untrained teachers and a poor curriculum are to blame for the decline.
With the nation celebrating 40 years of independence in 2015, the report unfortunately reflects on the nation’s slow progression since forging its own path in 1975.
Of that 40 per cent, an alarmingly high 83 per cent reside in the Highlands region. Karimui Nomane has the lowest literacy rate of just 20.2 per cent.
The report highlighted the following areas that need attention:
- Education reforms,
- Universal education access,
- Building education capacity,
- Improved distribution of learning materials and
- Partnering with private sector and legislative reforms as a key strategy towards achieving desired highly literate and appropriately skilled workforce
According to National Literacy and Awareness Secretariat, Libraries and Archives Director, Emmanuel Jonduo, this year’s theme ‘Quality Literacy, Quality Education’ reflects literacy as being paramount and key to a quality education. The onus lies on the literate and numerate citizens to enhance development of this nation.
The report recommends elected MPs for these 23 districts must join forces with their respective provincial administrations, National Education Department and civil society organisations to ensure 70 per cent of the population are print literate by the year 2030.
Jonduo’s hope is for people to be empowered through functional literacy programs, and not just basic reading and writing.
UNESCO has identified PNG as one of 35 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that need to improve adult literacy rates.
Jonduo said that education is everyone’s business, and the national government is actively supporting ongoing education initiatives.
The Secretariat acknowledges strong economic and social development can only be sustained through a highly literate and numerate workforce.