In Papua New Guinea, low levels of literacy are a critical challenge for the country’s development. Of the country’s seven million people, more than a third (37%) are illiterate with the majority living in rural areas.
PNG’s challenging terrain is another major obstacle for the distribution of learning materials to schools, particularly remote parts of the country.
To improve the reading skills of elementary and primary education students, the Reading Education Project for Papua New Guinea (READ PNG) is:
- Increasing the availability of books and learning materials by establishing classroom libraries in elementary and primary schools. The books and learning materials are intended to supplement classroom textbooks; giving children constant exposure to reading materials and fostering positive reading habits.
- Promoting reading through professional development of PNG teachers, combined with the establishment of professional teacher networks and public reading campaigns.
- Strengthening Early Grade Reading Assessments to ensure improved monitoring and assessment of PNG children’s reading levels.
Beginning in 2011, the READ PNG project was completed in December 2015. The project has:
- Established 21,000 classroom libraries in all 22 provinces of PNG.
- Seen over 240,000 teachers participate in professional development programs.
- Seen the average number of Grade 3 students in Madang who are unable to identify a single sound in a word drop from 22% in 2011 to 4% in 2015.
- In the Western Highlands, the average number of Grade 3 students who were unable to identify a single sound in a word has dropped from 35% in 2011 to 4% in 2015, and the proportion of students unable to read a single letter has dropped from 22% in 2011 to just two percent in 2015.