PNG Education Leaders Complete Inclusive Education Fellowship

Last week, ten education leaders selected by the Papua New Guinea Department of Education completed their final professional development week as part of a prestigious international award offered by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Australian Awards Fellowship provided the opportunity for these ten Fellows to deepen and broaden their links with leading academics from Western Sydney University (2017 ranked Top 75 in the world for the field of education by AWRU) and their partners from the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF). The Fellowship focus is to improve teacher training in Papua New Guinea to enhance the education of children and young people with disabilities.

The Fellowship was held in Sydney, Australia from 18 June to 14 July, with the Fellows engaging in high quality networking and professional development activities designed to promote inclusive education practices and the transfer of these to Papua New Guinea.

Last week, the Fellows met in Port Moresby to share the key findings of their action research projects which were planned in Australia and implemented on their return home by each of the Fellows. The Fellowship has resulted in strong networks being established between the ten Fellows and the Australian team comprising Western Sydney University academics Dr Danielle Tracey and Dr Katrina Barker and their KTF partners Dr Genevieve Nelson and Petra Arifeae. This network has led to the development of a number of post-Fellowship initiatives which will see further improvements to inclusive educational practices in Papua New Guinea.

The ten Fellows are worthy of recognition given their hard work, persistence, and dedication to promoting best practice for inclusive education.  Thank you and well done to Paul Valuka (PNG Department of Education), Cathy Sowi (PNG Department of Education), Wilfred Baambu (Callan Inclusive Education Institute), Ellice Moko (PNG Education Institute), Kenn Gene (PNG Education Institute), John Wanis (PNG Education Institute), Siwert Robert (Balob Teachers College), Gladys Robins (Dauli Teachers College), David Wine (Madang Teachers College), and Vengal Vangun (Gaulim Teachers College).

The long-standing assistance from the PNG Department of Education with the development of the Fellowship application through to implementation of the Fellowship program has been exceptional.

Acknowledgement of the generosity of each of the Fellow’s workplaces is important because they encouraged participation and provided in-country travel expenses. The Australian Awards Fellowship has provided a valuable opportunity to progress inclusive education in Papua New Guinea and we thank the Australian Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for providing this wonderful opportunity to support rigorous professional development activities.