School teaches culture to save it from dying


THE cultural diversity of Papua New Guinea can only be retained if the younger generation is prepared to embrace and appreciate it, a primary school head teacher in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, says.
Gibson Sikondowe, the head of Gama Lutheran Primary School in Goroka, said his school was encouraging students to learn and take part in cultural activities to save their cultural practices from dying out.
“After learning that PNG’s diverse culture is dying out at a fast rate, we at Gama Lutheran Primary School teach traditional cultural practices as a major subject to the students apart from other several other subjects,” he said.
He said they taught traditional practices in dances, songs and other items of traditional village life.
Sikondowe said grade eight expressive arts teacher Lucy Tiponda was appointed coordinator of traditional dance performances which she also assessed students for.
Tiponda said all the grade eight students were grouped into their respective districts and provinces to showcase their traditional dresses and singsings and were given marks accordingly.
“As a main occasion of observing the National Literacy Week from Sept 4-8, we got students into their respective traditional groups, dressed, danced and sang in their traditional styles.
“We had some teachers who are judges, they use certain criteria to assess student performances.”
Tiponda said the marks the judges allocated to each group would add towards the students’ final academic grading.
School events coordinator Dickson Simon said Gama Lutheran Primary School had students from throughout PNG who showcased traditional dances from all over the countruy.
He said every Papua New Guinean came from a village in a district that had its unique traditional practices that should always be appreciated and upheld.
Simon welcomed a group of Australian Lutheran missionaries from Adelaide who were special partners of the school and were there during the event.
“We have international visitors who are welcomed at the school. They support the school with materials like library books, water tanks and computers.
They are our special partners,” he said.
Simon announced that the Goroka, Ungai, Coastal Mix and Lufa singsing groups would represent Gama at the coming Pikinini Show.
They will be part of the opening Pikinini Show on Friday leading to the Goroka Show this weekend.

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