Many challenges facing PNG illiteracy, says NGO

National, Normal


THERE are many challenges faced in the service delivery of literacy programmes to PNG, an NGO research officer said.
The diverse languages of PNG, the geographical features and the lack of Government commitment are part of the impediment that is faced in delivering the literacy services to the people, PNG Education Advocacy Network (PEAN) programme coordinator Ben Kote said.
Mr Kote said last week at the opening of the literacy week at Boroko, Port Moresby, that despite the PNG’s current illiterate rate of 43%, the figure could be much higher. 
He said the source obtained in gathering the data was unreliable because of the content of the survey which contained general questions that did not actually indicate whether the respondent was truly illiterate.
He said what PEAN was currently undertaking was a literacy programme in three provinces that includes the National Capital District, New Ireland and Simbu where they are using a new method that is more detailed.
Mr Kote said PNGhad a very poor reputation globally and listed as one the last three countries faced with a high illiteracy rate out of about 128 countries. He called on the Government to pump funds into supporting the adult literacy programme instead of “turning a deaf ear and blind eye on the people”.
He added that most often leaders made commitments verbally while NGOs were working in isolation in addressing the adult illiteracy programmes in the country.
PEAN will be covering other provinces before the end of the year.
Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu, who was guest speaker, described illiteracy as a type of blindness, urging people to find courage to step forward and seek help to be able to read and write.
“We want a nation that can read and write,” Dame Carol said.