Western launches e-learning trial programme for schools

Youth & Careers

THE Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme Ltd (SDP) in partnership with Digicel, Save the Children and Inclusive Ventures have launched a proof-of-concept e-learning project in Western.
The initiative is testing an exciting innovation aimed at improving students’ numeracy and literacy by using the latest 4G telecommunications and internet technology to support the existing education system.
“By using modern technology to support teachers and students in primary schools in Western, this initiative will help transform education in PNG,” SDP director of communications Esther Sibona said.
The concept is targeting 9,000 students in 38 schools across the province; 15,000 tablets with access to app-based reading and math software, specially aligned to the PNG curriculum, will be used for supplementary classroom activities to enrich normal lessons.
Sibona said the in-school use of the software would be complemented by giving parents access to the same software at home, so they could observe and support their children and use technology to become more involved with their schooling.
She said 38 schools and communities would participate in this trial project, with more than 200 teachers to be trained on using the software in the classroom to set tasks and monitor students’ performance.
“Education is one of our key development pillars. We want to ensure that this generation and future generations of Western, are properly educated,” Western administrator Robert Kaiyun said.
Kaiyun said with the current changes in technology, the e-learning project was an opportunity for students enrolled in remote primary schools in to have access to better education.
“This arrangement complements our efforts in putting facilities in the remote areas. Having the e-learning initiative in place also cuts down on our costs,” he said.
“We will continue to work with SDP’s initiatives to bring education closer to our people.
“We are excited with the intervention by SDP to lift the standard of education in Western.”
Save the Children’s Pacific regional director Jennifer El-Sibai said: “Children learn best when they have access to positive, fun-filled learning materials that they can engage with every day.
“Schools across PNG, especially in remote locations, like those in Western, face huge challenges accessing basic materials let alone having reading books available for students. Technology can change that,” she said.
Sibona said the technology would allow the live tracking of the students’ use of the software and progress in terms of improved students’ literacy and numeracy would be monitored using rigorous reading and math assessments.
She said the proof of concept would end later in the year and was expected to provide vital information needed to justify more investments in e-learning so it could be successfully adopted throughout the province on an ongoing basis.
Twenty schools, including Rumginae Primary School, have already started using the tablets and 3,700 tablets will be distributed to Balimo over the coming weeks, following the completion of the teacher training in Middle Fly on how to use these tablets.

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