Everyday People PNG: Judith Puee

Judith Puee is an educator who, perhaps better than most, understands the importance of supporting students with special needs. She has four children and the youngest two, were born with disabilities.

In 2005, Judith started her teaching career with a passion to bring about change in Panguna, Central Bougainville.

She and her husband are now working at Metonai Elementary School in Panguna District. Judith teaches a composite prep and grade one class, and her husband is a teaching assistant.

“Many students I’ve taught have already graduated from university,” Judith said, beaming with pride.

“Two have become high school teachers and a few are now primary school teachers,” she said.

In addition to running Metonai Elementary, Judith is dedicated to her daughters with special needs, who are nine and three years old.

With her commitment to her students and daughters, Judith would take her girls to school in a wheelbarrow, when there was no one available to look after them.

In 2019, Judith and her husband attended professional development workshops to improve their teaching skills as part of the Rapidly Increasing Standards of Education (RISE) program, supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and provides training on literacy, numeracy and cross-cutting themes including gender equality and inclusive education.

Judith said the program equipped them with the necessary skills to improve children’s learning, including tools and strategies to support students with special needs.

“RISE helped me improve how I teach my students to read.

“It provided me with guides to simplify my teaching and help my students,” she said.

Last year, Judith attended RISE training and contributed many valuable insights on the challenges faced by children with disabilities.

“I share the lessons I plan for my students with (my daughters).

“My kids are learning at the same level as my students in the class,” she said proudly.

Photo credit: PPF Media

Salome Vincent