WE would like to ask readers of The National for their help and ideas.
We hear a lot about how the education system in PNG is getting worse, how foreigners are foisting their ideas on Papua New Guineans and so on.
At the same time, as foreigners ourselves, working for VSO and for PEGS (Practical Education and Gender Support), we want to make a difference for the better.
So we need your thoughts.
In 2006 and 2007, we were in PNG as volunteers.
Our work led to a group of Simbu English teachers sitting down and thinking through what they really wanted out of teaching English.
Together we wrote and produced the first “home-grown” PNG-based English textbook, entitled Resource Book for Grade 9, Lower Secondary, January 2008 and beyond.
I think that some really positive energy guided us during those months, because although it was me, a foreigner, who suggested the idea of a truly PNG-based text book, it was the teachers who wrote it and even raised the money to get it printed.
This was not PNG folk waiting for the cargo to arrive. It was people planning for the future, their own and that of generations to come.
That textbook has been approved by the National Department of Education and we understand that it has been used by students all over the country, not just in Simbu, where it originated.
Have you or your children used this book?
If so, what works, and what needs improvement?
The information will help us to determine where we went right, and where we went wrong.
What do you think should be in future textbooks, for English language and literature, and also for all other subjects?
What do you want your children to be taught, so they can be leaders of a proud nation tomorrow?
What skills will they need, in the villages or in the towns?
What knowledge will they need to guide them?
What attitudes to themselves and others will help ensure their compassion and humanity as core values?
We hope readers will contact PEGS PNG director Paul Hukahu ([email protected]) with answers, both feelings and thoughts, to these questions.
All PEGS-PNG members are keen to hear from readers and to take on board what we are told.
We hope future educational and development work in PNG, whether by PEGS, the Simbu English Teachers’ Association, VSO, or others, can be positively influenced in this way.
Ian Cameron and Dee Kraaij