The Milne Bay Province Division of Education, in Partnership with Bilum Books, conducted a series of 2-day workshops travelling island to island.
Bilum Books is a publishing company that has published books to support the Education Department’s new Standards-Based English Syllabus for elementary schools.
The teacher in-service workshops were conducted on the remote Woodlark, Gawa and Kitava Islands in Milne Bay Province.
Joseph Tau, Senior Professional Assistant- Basic Educati, on with Milne Education Division explained that the Education Division used provincial funds to purchase resources to help teachers implement the new Standard-Based English Elementary Syllabus. And before teachers are given the books they must undertake a two-day workshop with Bilum Books facilitators.
The workshop showed teachers how to use the new Bilum Books Standards Based resources to teach the Phonics and Common Words in the Syllabus with confidence and understanding.
The workshop focused on six steps for teaching a sound. The introductory session discussed literacy levels in PNG and the need for the new National Department of Education (NDoE) Standard -Based Education Syllabus.
Ray O’Farrell, Director and Publisher at Bilum Books, stated that they were committed to improving literacy levels in PNG. And they are prepared to travel anywhere to provide teacher training. O’Farrell said that for the districts and cluster schools that buy their books they provide teacher training for free.
“The syllabus is a good syllabus but the teachers need some training and the right resources to implement it successfully,” said O’Farrell.
A literacy situation analysis that was conducted by the National Literacy and Awareness Secretariat (NLAS) in 2008 showed adult literacy rates recorded at 56 per cent. When compared to other countries, PNG’s adult literacy rate is regarded as one of the lowest in Asia and Pacific.
O’Farrell mentioned that literacy levels must be improved at the foundation level. And Elementary school is the foundation level.
“If we build a good foundation, teachers from Grade 3 onwards can build on it and literacy levels will improve,” stated O’Farrell.
The new Standard-Based Syllabus is a serious attempt to raise the standard of literacy in PNG. The challenge for teachers now is to implement the syllabus successfully.