Workshop helps local children read about PNG


If there was no books in Papua New Guinea, what do you think growing up in PNG would be like? How would you learn to read and write?
Books have become an expensive item. But having a book or a tiny library in your house is as important as having food in your kitchen.
Many school children in PNG grow up reading books and listening to stories and tales written by European authors.
This includes popular children’s books like Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Peter Pan and many more that have been used by schools in the country.
Papua New Guineans have a good storytelling tradition that the older generations pass down to the younger generation, however, we have yet to see that translated into children’s books.
Seeing this need, Library For All, a non-profit organisation with a mission to make books and educational resources accessible to all, conducted a writers’ workshop produced more than 100 culturally relevant storybooks that the children of PNG could now relate to.
This week during National Book Week, two books written by young Papua New Guinean authors – Bubu’s Garden and Paul The Church – would be featured.
The Bubu’s Garden is a short story reflecting a typical Papua New Guinean grandmother who works hard in her garden to feed and look after her children and grandchildren. The story also describes typical fruits and food that can be found in gardens and markets here.
Paul The Church, is another book that children can read and relate to if they attend church services on Sunday. The book reminds children to follow their parents and grandparents to church so as to grow up to be good citizens and leaders.
These books and many more PNG storybooks have been published and were being piloted by Library For All as e-library books for six pilot schools – two schools per province.
The e-library application is a new initiative of Library For All and aims to support early learning literacy and improve reading skills at the elementary school level.
According to studies, eight out of 10 children complete primary education, but almost half of those who graduate are unable to read.
Rose Ovia, the teacher in charge of Pinu Elementary School in Kairuku in Central, said the e-books would encourage children to read more and contribute to improving their literacy level.
At Pinut, brothers Paril (an elementary 2 student) and Kelly (an elementary prep student) had different experiences and opinion about e-library and the use of accessing books on the tablet.
According to their mum, Lilly Kere, she observed that e-library increased Paril’s interest towards school. Paril likes going to school nowadays as he gets to read his favourite story I am Keith on the e-book tablet.
“Paril has been coming home and telling us stories he reads on the
e-book tablets at school” Kere said. “He can now spell and read more fluently and he’s now asking us to but him reading books.”
Kere is impressed with her child’s teacher’s dedication to teaching his class this year and is thankful of the e-book on tablets.
Kelly on the other hand, is not so keen about e-books on tablets, as he expressed that there were too many rules on how to use the tablets. His mum Lilly encourages him all the time to make use of such technology.
Library For All will continue to monitor the e-library implementation in the selected pilot schools to measure the impact of the new technology introduction at the elementary level.
Accessing affordable education materials is still a challenge to most children in rural areas.
The Together for Education Project aims to build a strong foundation for early grade learners to provide a pathway for their future learning.
The Together for Education Project is supported by the Australian government in partnership with the government of Papua New Guinea and supports the National Education Plan 2015-2019.
World Vision and partners Child Fund, Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council, Library For All, and the University of Canberra are working together with schools, communities, provinces and other stakeholders to achieve inclusive quality education.

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