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February 26, 2021
Education Featured News

Improving Teaching, Learning, and Access to Quality Childhood Education in Western Province

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Every child deserves access to quality childhood learning but limited classroom resources and lack of trained teachers mean education quality remains low.

In understanding this, Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) continues to support communities in PNG to overcome challenges in the education sector.

The Balimo Schools project is the latest partnership initiated by KTF and the PNG Sustainable Development Program (SDP) with support from the Western Province Division of Education and Western Sydney University.

More than 100 teachers in primary and elementary schools in the Balimo region will undergo a series of workshops on specific learning techniques for children in the Preparatory and Primary levels in the Middle Fly district.

The initiative is expected to improve teaching, learning, and access to schooling for children across the Balimo catchment area, a geographical area of approximately 3,000 square kilometers. It will focus on three critical parts of high-quality education;

  • Teacher Training;
  • Targeted Coaching; and
  • Improved resourcing for the schools (including the introduction of classroom TV’s and digitized content).

This holistic support will improve the quality of teaching and student learning in remote classrooms.

Over the next two-weeks, the 100 plus teachers will undergo professional development workshops alongside on-going coaching and investment of resources.

These professional development workshops will focus on adapting teachers’ skills and knowledge towards child-centred and constructive learning in teaching strategies, science, english and mathematics.

They will also receive a suite of educational resources tailored to their classrooms, including books from project partners’ Bilum Books, Oxford University Press books, PNG Curriculum materials, and books on literature and culture by Melanesian and Pacific studies expert, Professor Steven Winduo.

The Balimo Schools project initially started back in September 2020 which coaches visited teachers on weekly mentoring sessions to ensure the teachers are putting to practice what they have learned.

“We are already finding the changes extraordinary. The children are engaged and enthusiastic about learning and teachers are loving applying new techniques in their classrooms,” says KTF CEO, Dr. Genevieve Nelson.

“We are grateful to our partner SDP for their thoughtful and practical, long-term commitment to education in Western Province and we are excited to the see the learning put into practice. Added Dr. Nelson.

SDP’s Corporate Affairs Manager Juddy Aoae shared similar sentiments and believes this is a very good way to strengthen the education system in Western Province.

“Education one of the many reasons why the standard in the province has been poor for many years is due to lack of resourced teachers, both in terms of materials and professionally,” said Aoae.

She added the partnerships with KTF and Western Sydney University along with the Western Provincial Education Division and Provincial Administration is now making it possible for teachers to be fully equipped to give quality teaching.

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