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Beyond Technical Training

"Before coming to STEP training I found it hard to teach. I had a curriculum, but didn't know how to teach it or when to use it. During two years of training, STEP has helped me create my own curriculum, make plans for my program, help other schools and build my confidence."

Clive Oyabua, Miniafi a Language, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Since the founding of the Strengthening Tokples Education in PNG (STEP) in Papua New Guinea in 1994, Clive Oyabua and the other 126 graduates of STEP have discovered that making a sustainable contribution to their communities requires more than technical training and materials. Enduring positive change requires self-assurance, which comes from building skills and applying knowledge successfully.

For seven years STEP has partnered with SIL International and a local NGO, Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association (BTA).Together they provide local men and women in PNG with the training and opportunities necessary to initiate and sustain their own mother-tongue education and literacy programs.

STEP graduates take leading roles in supervising and organizing vernacular literacy and education programs in their communities and some take teaching positions within the national bilingual education system. In the Ramoaaina Language of East New Britain Province, two STEP graduates are now supervising 16 classes serving 960 children. They have trained 23 teachers and are also involved in helping the PNG government's elementary program in both training and material production.

STEP participants address the issue of sustainability when considering the literacy programs they will develop for their communities. Training specifically equips literacy workers to expand programs within their language group and to include successful components in neighboring language groups as well. As a result, mother-tongue literacy workers become trainers themselves. The STEP curriculum has recently been exported as a model for new programs in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and other nations.