Many of these 2018 graduates have since returned to their home villages to fill the critical shortage of teachers in remote areas.
“Most teachers don’t like to go to the rural remote schools in New Ireland Province,” recent graduate Nelly Barry said. “So after completing my studies here I will go and teach there.”
Fellow student Molly Maim agreed that a lack of teachers was the the biggest challenge to education in his village in Western Province. “Teachers don’t go back to the villages.”
Maim’s parents are really happy that he will be going home to teach.
“My parents could not afford to pay for my school fees so I am thankful to God that I was supported through the Australia Awards for three years,” he said.
Local community school sporting events and the youth ministry events motivated Maim to become a teacher.
An Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarship then enabled him to complete the three-year degree at Sacred Heart Teachers College.
Maim looks forward to teaching maths and science because he wants to relay practical skills to the students.
For fellow In-PNG scholar Gorethy Menako, a former elementary school teacher in Bougainville, said teaching English is important as it sets the foundation for learning other subjects in school. Children are enthusiastic to learn English and their level of learning has improved.
Menako said one of the biggest challenges to education is pressure for children to work.
“Most of the students in Bougainville are interested in learning but they cannot attend to their studies very well, they have to leave early to work in the gardens or plantations.”
Menako plans to use her newly acquired skills to further support primary education in Bougainville.
Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarships are prominent awards offered by the Australian government to support service delivery in health, education and transport.
Through study and research and practical training in PNG, scholarship recipients will develop the knowledge and skills to drive change and to make positive contributions to social and economic development in Papua New Guinea.
Applications for Intake 2020 of Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarships is open until 16 August 2019. Find out more at https://www.australiaawardspng.org/study-in-png/
(From left: Molly Maim and Gorethy Menako)