Comprehension levels low

Education, Normal

The National, Monday July 8th, 2013


MANY children in Papua New Guinea are being taught in an unfamiliar language resulting in low listening, comprehension and limited vocabulary.

This was revealed recently in East New Britain during a workshop organised by the Language Support Programme (LSP) PNG.

The programme revealed in the workshop that a recent assessment known as the early grade assessment in PNG conducted in four provinces – Madang, ENB, National Capital District and Western Highlands – showed that many students were reading without comprehension.

This meant that many students in the country still found it difficult to decode and understand spoken language in terms of reading comprehension.

LSP volunteer, Emma Hayward said this was largely due to unfamiliar languages currently being taught in schools compared to the old days when English was the only language used to teach in schools.

The LSP team said contributing factors to this situation or problem were different early childhood development experiences for children before they enter school and multilingual communities where children may be learning to read in their second and third language and mismatch between language of home and language of school.

Hayward said teaching reading was challenging in this context.

She added that the survey showed grade progression in most tests in these four provinces, however, many students have not learnt basic reading skills by the end of Grade 4.

She said the survey showed that reading fluency was very low across all grades, including listening and reading comprehension even at the literal level.

Hayward said that results also showed that students in ENB made more substantial gains across grades than students in Madang and NCD.