These teachers are from rural communities in Hela and Gulf provinces and travelled to attend the annual Buk bilong Pikinini teacher refresher training in Port Moresby this week.
This initiative is a part of the Foundation’s commitment towards investing in early childhood education in PNG.
The group comprises of seven women and three men from Fugwa and Habare in Hela and Kikori in Gulf Province. They join 40 other early childhood educators from around the country committed to help the next generation of Papua New Guineans.
The refresher training for 2022 will include an introduction to digital learning in providing innovative ways to access reading materials, and reducing the challenges of physically moving large quantities of books from Port Moresby to literacy libraries located in the Santos project impact area communities in Hela, Gulf and Southern Highlands Provinces.
With over 6 years of partnership OSF and BbP aim to develop early childhood learning in PNG through various development programs and trainings, apart from the establishment of literacy libraries targeting children aged 4-6 in the Santos project areas.
Four literacy libraries were set up under this partnership with one destroyed during a recent local unrest. Over 840 children have graduated from the OSF literacy library program since 2018.
Cathy Morris, a basic literacy teacher of 80 children in Kikori says it wasn’t easy leaving her family behind in a remote place to travel to Port Moresby, but after seeing positive results of the literacy library in her community over the years motivated her to continue making an impact through her role as an early childhood educator.
Pale Mbipe of Hela says Early Childhood learning programs are rare in Fugwa and North Koroba.
“We want to see the children excel in early childhood learning so they can continue to elementary schools equipped with the fundamental tools they need,” Mbipe said.
Before the library’s introduction, Hela woman Rose Stanley said children in her community would enter elementary schools without any reading skills.
“The literacy library has significantly improved the children’s learning and life in general, which is something their parents and communities are very proud of,” Stanley said.
The Santos funded OSF is currently working on establishing a literacy library in Pimaga, Southern Highlands province with plans to have the library opened in December this year.