By Helen Sea – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The National Library and Archives Services board and staff members, traveled to the Gulf Province, to launch the opening, of National Book week in the province. The official launching of the program, took place in Kerema town, with minor gatherings held in Lese Oalai and Terapo Primary schools.
The town’s people were up bright and early, attending to final touches to preparations for the launching with about 8 different schools within Central Kerema, who turned up, in their various school uniform colors and traditional attire, performing traditional dances, way before the start of the program.
For three years, the team from National Library and Archives has tried to branch out into the Gulf province, without positive feedback from the previous government; it has taken them this long to finally stage this event in the province.
Being the first of its kind in the whole country, the whole team comprising of staff and even board members, traveled together, by way of showing their seriousness for such a project.
Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, expressed gratitude, to the Office of Library and Archives, and to the Education Minister for choosing his province, as the pioneer province for this pilot project.
The literacy level of students coming from schools in the Gulf Province has proven poor. Governor Haiveta says it is part of his five-year plan, to raise the standards of literacy in his province.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed, during the launch, by Director General of the Office of Library & Archives and the Gulf Provincial Government, and administration, to allow for the Office of Library & Archives to extend their services to the province.
This MOU paves way for libraries to be built in and around the province.
Education Minister, Nick Kuman, declared the official launch open and challenged parents to do their part in educating their children.
Minister Kuman also encouraged fellow countrymen to stand together and invest in education.
The event sparked a lot of excitement in the town, as well as in surrounding villages, that took part in the preparations with teachers looking forward to the rollout of this program.
Gulf province has not had a library in so many years. Governor Haiveta said a review will be carried out in schools throughout the province, to have a classroom set apart, to serve as a library.
The team from the Office of Library and Archives began school visitations early in the week, and will continue their work in the province for the rest of the week, pointing out the importance of books to children through this year’s National Book Week theme, Read-Write Forevermore.