TWENTY shipping containers holding 539,000 primary school textbooks have arrived from overseas.
The textbooks, funded by the Australian government, were selected by the Education Department primary curriculum officers and were destined for more than 3,400 primary schools and eight teacher colleges.
The containers arrived on two ships unloading in Lae and Port Moresby.
From here the books will be sorted, with each primary and community school in the country receiving a set of 159 books.
“This is a massive logistical operation,” acting head of AusAID in PNG, Robin Scott Charlton, said.
“It cost about K20 million to purchase the books, bring them to PNG and distribute them to the schools.
“Getting the books to PNG is the easy part. From Lae and Port Moresby the books will be sorted out and distributed to every provincial capital from where they will be distributed to all primary and community schools in each province.
“These textbooks are a part of the joint commitment between our two countries to increase PNG’s net primary enrolment rate to 70% by 2015, an increase of 300,000.”
The acting Education Secretary, Luke Taita, said getting more children into school was not just a matter of increasing student numbers.
“This has to be supported by a range of other activities such as ensuring the availability of appropriate teaching resources,” Mr Taita said.
He said the books are aimed at causing a significant impact, focusing on the core subjects of mathematics, science and language.
“This will be particularly important in many of the smaller and more isolated schools where teaching resources are often scarce,” he said.