Director’s Message

Papua New Guinea as a tourism haven gets on the advert as “a land of the unexpected”. I see this differently. Papua New Guinea with a bigger land mass of all the Island nations in the Pacific, apart from Australia and specifically that of the Melanesian people.

Of all the Melanesian people, PNG has the biggest population with a very diverse culture and practices which people live with over thousands of years. The diversity of culture is determined by the number of languages the people speak, read and write in and interact daily.

PNG has over 869 languages. Of the 869 languages, the isolates are diminishing faster than anyone who is concern about languages and linguistic values of languages in the nations. This is very critical aspect of taking into account the importance of language and its role in the global call for Education For All (EFA), in the language of the learner as PNG loses the isolates. This natural death of languages brings the number of existing languages to 854. This is a great concern for illiterates as they are making headways to pick up on literacy and numeracy skills as they have problems connecting different ideas from one language to another.

Learning principles as education psychologist say is one always goes from the “known to the unknown and from concrete to abstract” ideas, believes, values, societal norms and practices, to raise the level of skills, knowledge, talents and to enhance innate abilities of Papua New Guineans and all who come to associate with PNG society.

A sure way for all PNG citizens to realizing the full potential is through acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills to enhance lifelong learning in order to achieve all EFA goals set by the UN come 2015. The question PNG should ask now is this: Is Papua New Guinea setting any significant benchmark to achieve an increased adult literacy level of 5% by 2015 as set by UNESCO? What significant steps has the government set for Non-formal Education sector as opposed to multiple resources challenged to Formal Education sector to address literacy/illiteracy and lifelong learning opportunities in Papua New Guinea?

The National Literacy and Awareness Secretariat (NLAS) is the government arm established to address specific issues of literacy/illiteracy affecting all citizens in the nation. The National Literacy and Awareness Council (NLAC) initiative to have national policy to address literacy is in place. This policy is partially implemented without being resourced. The National Literacy Policy must be fully resourced so that all literacy stakeholders, Churches, NGOs, CBOs. CSOs. And International agencies can implement government policy to achieve all EFA goals, particularly Goal 4: Increase Adult Literacy by 50%.

Papua New Guinea should now be gearing up to inform the global partners in issues of concern in education as well as other sectors that have direct influence in the lives of people, of PNG, in preparation for the 2015 International Consultative Forums.

LIFE – Literacy Is For Everyone! And LIFE – Literacy Initiative for Empowerment!