Papua New Guinea (PNG) is currently struggling to provide basic education services to its people. It is estimated that there are 600,000 school-aged children currently out of school. The lack of qualified teachers plays a significant role in this. In addition to the current lack of teachers, there is also a large cohort of partially-trained teachers across PNG who began their training at some stage over the past two decades; but were never given the opportunity to complete their training.
Why the Urgency?
In 2017-18, the PNG Government is changing the way it trains and certifies Elementary Teachers. Teachers who were partially trained under the current multi-year, mixed-mode, outreach training system will lose their opportunity to complete their training and become certified. There are 7,000 partially-trained teachers across PNG. These teachers are currently operating elementary schools right across the country; 75% receive no pay and 25% receive small allowances. If they are to continue in these roles, they must undertake an additional 6-week training course and complete their certification immediately.
We were given a small window to act.
If these teachers are not given the opportunity to complete their training, they will be unable to upgrade their current qualifications and will never receive a full Government salary. Their only option to remain in the profession will be to re-train via the new 40-week program being rolled out across the country from 2017-18, and entry to this program is competitive, limited and extremely expensive – out of reach for the large majority of the cohort of partially-trained elementary teachers. Otherwise they will be exited from the teaching profession, having a catastrophic impact on education service delivery.
PNG cannot afford to lose 7,000 teachers from the teaching profession.
In 2016, KTF entered into a partnership with the National Department of Education and PNG Education Institute – the body responsible for the training, certification and accreditation of teachers in PNG. This partnership authorized us to go forward and train as many partially-trained teachers as possible, in order to get them certified and transferred across to the Government Payroll.
From the middle of 2016, KTF began partnering with Provincial Education Authorities and the PNGEI, and has to date delivered the training program to 540 teachers across Oro and Gulf Provinces, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, enabling these teachers to receive the full Government salary for their work.
Oro Province Outcomes
In Oro Province, the birthplace of the KTF, 330 trainees completed the Teach for Tomorrow training in August-September 2016. Trainers from KTF, PNGEI and the Oro Department of Education delivered a 7-week course to 330 partially trained elementary teachers from right across the Province. The training covered the required SIU component and an added Standards Based Curriculum content week. KTF delivered training on a range of cross-cutting issues including Child Protection, Gender Equity, and Inclusive Education, as well as its Making Books programme.
37% of the trainees were female and 63% were male. 88% of the trainees had been working as partially-trained teachers for 6 or more years; 40% of trainees had been working for 11+ years.
330 teachers gradated as a ceremony attended by Governor Gary Juffa, Governor of Oro Province, Dr Zui Neofa, Director of PNGEI, and Dr Genevieve Nelson, CEO of KTF.
Gulf Province Outcomes
KTF and PNGEI then took the Teach for Tomorrow training to remote Gulf Province, where it delivered the training to 37 partially-trained teachers from right across Gulf Province. Delivered in partnership with trainers from the Gulf Provincial Department of Education, our teams supported the trainees to travel into Kerema from very remote regions across the Province and undertake the 6 weeks’ training in location at Kerema Secondary School.
66% of the trainees were male whilst 34% were females. One reason why this is the case is because women in this region normally stay home to look after the household and support their families and over the past two decades were not supported to train as elementary teachers.
The 37 teachers graduated from the programme in December 2016 at a ceremony attended by Dr Zui Neofa, Director of PNGEI, and Dr Genevieve Nelson, CEO of KTF.
Autonomous Region of Bougainville Outcomes
Our last stop in 2016 was the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, where we partnered with the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Department of Education to co-deliver the Teach for Tomorrow training to 168 trainee elementary teachers from across the region. Once again, trainees travelled from extremely remote places across the island to a central location at the North of the island, Lontis village, where the 6-week training programme was delivered by KTF, PNGEI and ABG trainers.
A key focus on cross-cutting themes was present across the 6 weeks and the trainees produced some extraordinary books that particularly focused on issues around disability and inclusive education and gender empowerment.
80% of the trainees in AROB were female; whilst 20% were male. This is mainly due to the matrilineal society in Bougainville and the fact that more women tend to become teachers than men in this society.
The 168 teachers graduated in December 2016 at a ceremony attended by the ABG Secretary of Education, Tim Bryson, Counsellor Australian High Commission, Mark Hitchcock from Bougainville Copper, Dr Zui Neofa, Director of PNGEI and Dr Genevieve Nelson, CEO of KTF.
Follow-up work with Graduates
KTF is working closely with its partners to ensure that all graduates of the 2016 Teach for Tomorrow programme are followed up and supported to transfer across to the Provincial Government’s payroll in 2017. The gradates will also be engaged in 2017 via KTF’s new Strongim Ol Tisa project which will provide professional development, mentoring and Making Books workshops with the graduates to help them continue on their journeys of learning and development to become the best teachers they can possible be.
Rising Stars… these are the extraordinary teachers (trainees and graduates) and trainers we have met along the way. Our interactions and conversations with these rising stars over the past 6 months have given us much hope that the next generation is in well and truly good hands.
The large majority of our teacher trainees have committed the last 1-2 decades of their lives to the teaching profession – in many cases receiving no support or payment whatsoever. They have volunteered, diligently and passionately, because they believe in the power of education and do not want the next generation to miss out. They have remained committed to the profession in the hope that one day they would be fully trained and have access to Government payroll positions in their schools. In most cases, they had no idea when the training would be provided.
These teachers are the cornerstone of the PNG rural education system. They provide education to PNG’s children in their early years – Preparatory, Grade 1 and Grade 2 – when they can attend school within the security of their home villages. These teachers commit their lives and their careers to holding up the remote and rural areas across the Nation and are dedicated to investing all they have in the next generation of education Papua New Guineans.
Next Steps for Teach for Tomorrow
The National Department of Education and PNGEI have agreed to extend the MOU until the end of 2017, giving us another 12 months to take Teach for Tomorrow to as many locations across PNG as possible.
In addition to Oro and Gulf Provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville completing via the KTF partnership, the Provinces of Western, Madang, Eastern Highlands and East and West New Britain have completed their training of partially-trained teachers in 2016 with support from Provincial Governments and local members. A wonderful result!
However, there are still 13 Provinces remaining that have large cohorts of partially-trained teachers that need to complete urgently.
In 2017, KTF will continue to partner with PNGEI and Provincial Education Authorities, as well as innovative and forward-thinking corporates, donors and philanthropists to take Teach for Tomorrow to new regions.
We have already committed to Milne Bay and Morobe Provinces which will be completed in the first quarter of 2017. We have also prioritized Manus, Central/NCD, East Sepik and New Ireland as our focus for the remainder of 2017. There could be more than 2,000 teachers across these six Provinces that urgently need to complete their training in 2017.
Map of KTF’s Teach for Tomorrow Locations: 2017
We are seeking corporate and philanthropic partnerships from those with an interest in these regions. If you can help, or want to get involved, please contact us:
Tess Gizoria (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Fundraising & Communications Coordinator
Dr Genevieve Nelson (email@example.com) – CEO