As schools in Morobe province observe National Book Week, the Principal of Lae Secondary School says Papua New Guinean educators still have to work towards integrating new technology with conventional library systems.
Christopher Raymond says while technology has progressed in leaps and bounds, the ability of students to research and delve into knowledge on their own accord has diminished.
The once thriving public library system that Papua New Guinea had in the 70s and 80s is now a shadow of its former self. Over three decades, public libraries fell from the priority list of government funding.
Libraries are now mostly located in schools.
While reflecting on National Book Week, Raymond said this aspect of the education system needs to be supported.
“There is a need for the provincial library system to be revived,” he said.
“We have libraries in some schools. For those who don’t have a library, where will they go? It’s not as if everyone has access to school libraries,” Raymond added.
His call echoes what many have been saying every year, during National Book Week, when the importance of reading peaks before waning thereafter.
With the arrival of the Internet, mobile phones and computers, access to information has increased dramatically. But Raymond says merging the benefits of new technology and the conventional library system remains a challenge.
Lae Secondary is relatively fortunate; it has a small, well resourced library as well as an electronic library giving students access to thousand of volumes of materials stored in its servers.
Going forward, Raymond believes educators need to find ways to take advantage of access to technology, and to also guide students so that they take full advantage of the opportunities to learn.