SIL International Media Release
STEP course graduation in Papua New Guinea
Ukarumpa, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (5 September 2006): Thirty-one mother-tongue teachers graduated from the two-year *STEP course at a ceremony held at Ukarumpa in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The STEP literacy training course equips teachers to serve their own communities by initiating and sustaining mother-tongue education and literacy programs for all ages.
[*STEP = Strengthening Tokples Education in Papua New Guinea
Tokples = ‘mother tongue’ in Melanesian (Pidgin) English]
The course graduates live and teach in six provinces: Central, Eastern Highlands, Madang, Morobe, Sandaun and New Ireland. Most currently hold teaching positions as elementary teachers, adult literacy teachers, and teachers in their local churches. Many of the communities represented now have Literacy Boards and committees that acknowledge these STEP graduates as the literacy supervisors of their community based literacy programs.
STEP course participants learn the main components of a successful literacy program. This training equips them to assist their students in reading fluency and creative writing skills. One aspect of an on-going literacy program includes materials production.
The course curriculum consists of five one-month classroom modules. In between each classroom module, the course participants return to their local communities to complete assignments that put into practice the concepts and skills they have learned.
Initially developed by SIL, STEP is now directed by a local nongovernmental organization, Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea (BTA). BTA’s Vice-principal for this year’s course was Mara Iyama. Twelve Papua New Guinean mentors were involved in this session and the local SIL also continues to provide staff.
Many STEP graduates become community leaders, and some teach under the national bilingual education system. Two previous STEP graduates supervised sixteen classes serving 960 children in the Ramoaaina language. They have already trained 23 teachers and are also helping the PNG government’s elementary program through training and material production.
Related links of interest
- Mother Tongue Literacy Programs: http://www.sil.org/literacy/mother.htm
- Languages of Papua New Guinea: http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=PG