Coding Program For Motu-Koitabu Schools

Forty-nine students from schools in Porebada and Papa villages learned coding and droning through the ExxonMobil PNG’s Science Ambassador Program in partnership with PNG Flying Labs recently.

PNG Flying Labs delivered the program during the school holidays last year, it is a local NGO with over 10 years of experience working with organizations and institutions including school children to deliver tailored coding and droning programs.

“It was a great experience working and learning from the students from the Motu-Koitabu villages. The students displayed their artistic abilities, transforming simple circles into an animated Coronavirus and white blood cell computer game plus simple squares into robots for a chatbot program.

The fun part was that these bots not only spoke English but also the Motu and Koitabu local languages,” explained Sophia Soli of PNG Flying Labs.

The program’s COVID-19 themed activities allowed the students to learn about COVID-19, hygiene, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving.

ExxonMobil PNG’s Science Ambassador Program, started in 2013, is an education advocacy program that encourages staff to volunteer their time to share and impart knowledge, expertise and experience. Five EMPNG staff volunteered their time to engage and mentor students during the program.

Speaking at the closing of the program at Papa Junior High School, ExxonMobil PNG Public and Government Affairs Planning and Controls Manager, Diana Sigimet thanked the students for participating.

“We hope that through the program you are inspired and motivated to consider science, technology, engineering and math-focused careers,” she added.

The program encouraged Redscar High School headboy, Raka Oa, to pursue his dream of becoming a civil engineer after listening to ExxonMobil PNG’s Science Ambassador, Ginisegana Solien’s story of being a civil engineer.

“Many of us don’t have experience with computers and this program has given us the opportunity to learn about technology and how to do coding.  Such an opportunity would never have been possible without the ExxonMobil PNG Science Ambassador Program,” he explained

Papa Junior High School student, Wendy John wants to be a Scientist and used the coding skills she learned to create an educational computer game for her younger sister.

“Having the ability to create something yourself and for it to speak in the local Papa vernacular was inspiring,” she said excitedly.

Teachers at Porebada and Papa schools who assisted during the program were encouraged by the students’ motivation and passion during the program.  Most students had never used a computer prior to participating in the activity.

“We think of coding as something you do in university, but giving kids hands-on experience with coding can help open their eyes to a wider world of possibilities,” said Sam Kumbundu, a Year 8 teacher at Papa Primary School.

The program ran at Redscar High School in Porebada and at the Papa Junior High School in Papa.

Grades 6–10 students from Redscar High, Porebada Primary, Papa Elementary and Papa Junior High Schools participated in the program.


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