By ROSELYN ELLISON
SHIRLEY Kamuso left her teaching career about 20 years ago to pursue something she always had an interest in – early childhood education.
“My plan is to establish the early childhood education programme throughout East New Britain. Through my experience I want to share my knowledge and skills with everyone before I grow old or die.”
Shirley, 47, hails from Napapar Number One village in the Central Gazelle local level government of Gazelle district, East New Britain.
Her husband is from Eastern Highlands. They have five children.
She completed primary school at the Tabangat Primary School before going on to Grade Nine at the Malabanga Secondary School in 1989, and Grade 10 in 1990.
She attended the Timal Training Centre at Malmaluan in 1991, before going on to the Gaulim Teachers College in 1992. She became a qualified teacher in 1994.
“ This is what I believe in. Train people who are unemployed in villages and get them involved in childhood training.”
“I was teaching for five years and decided to venture into something else. So I went to study pre-school education at the Pacific Extension University (in Suva, Fiji).”
Today she runs the Shaika Early Childhood Education School in her community. A Light Education ministry specialist has been running early childhood education training for more than 18 years in the New Guinea Island region
“We train interested people who then go back to their communities and start their early childhood education schools.”
Shirley was in ENB recently to run a two-week programme which they had begun in 2012.
More than 260 students have completed the training and 300 early education schools have been established around the province.
“We started this programme because the outcome-based education curriculum was a failure for the government. It was more of a training ground for private schools.”
She had resigned as a primary school teacher to join elementary school because she noticed that students were being failed there. She decided to find other ways to help the elementary school students.
“I believe that when there is competition, there is quality. So I started my school in 2002, known as the Shaika pre-school center in my community.”
She conducted trainings to train people as tutors, using her own money.
She went to Suva for studies at the Pacific Extension University to learn more about early childhood teaching and phonics training. The two programmes complement each other. It qualifies one as a teacher for any early childhood education school.
Shirley is determined to continue making sure that the early childhood education reaches as many communities as possible as a foundation for the provision of quality education to children, from as early as three years old.
It is important to put them on the right footing before they continue their education right to the upper grades.
It also provides employment for women in communities who have reached at least Grade 10 in school. They can be trained to be early childhood tutors through Shaika.
“This is what I believe in. Train people who are unemployed in villages and get them involved in childhood training.
“After training, they return home and help start a school in their communities to make sure children are provided quality education at an early age.”
Shirley hopes that education authorities will support what she is doing and get early childhood education rolling in the communities – for the sake of the children.