Three hundred and seventy seven elementary teachers from across New Ireland Province completed their Certificates of Elementary Teaching last Thursday through the Teach for Tomorrow project, an initiative delivered by the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), PNG Education Institute (PNGEI) and New Ireland Provincial Department of Education.
The Certificate enables partially trained teachers – some 7,500 across PNG – to meet the PNG Government’s new minimum qualifications required of elementary teachers. Without the additional certification, the teachers would no longer be employable on the Government’s payroll, putting at risk the schooling of 225,000 students.
Generously funded by Newcrest Mining Limited, the James Family Foundation and the New Ireland Government, the skills and knowledge training was delivered over six weeks in facilities hosted by Kimaden and Katedan Communities in Namatanai.
New Ireland is the seventh province in which KTF has delivered its Teach for Tomorrow training in partnership with PNGEI and the National Department of Education. Already, the partnership has trained 1,629 teachers from Oro, Gulf, Milne Bay, Morobe, Manus and New Ireland Provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
“It has been another extraordinary training programme” said Dr Genevieve Nelson, CEO of KTF. “Graduation last week was an emotional day. Many of our teachers have waited a long time for the training in their Province, and now they can return to their classrooms as properly qualified teachers, eligible for transfer to the Government payroll”.
Peter Aitsi, Newcrest’s PNG Country Manager, said “Congratulations to both the graduates and the partners. We are very proud to support this critical and exciting program which is not just underpinning PNG’s teaching network, but also the livelihoods of teachers, their students, and the communities into which they both contribute.”
At the graduation celebration on Thursday, in the presence of invited VIPs including the Director of Education, New Ireland Province, and the Director of Elementary Teacher Training from the National Department of Education, each graduate was presented with a solar light together with their certificate, so they can prepare their class work after dark.
KTF is continuing to roll out the training to more partially-trained elementary teachers in other provinces and will shortly kick off in Central and Simbu Provinces.