Papua New Guinea: Going back to a safe school environment

In Papua New Guinea, new information and communication materials are promoting the safe reopening of schools while ensuring students can fully participate in learning.

September 29, 2021 by Delvin Kupundu, Save the Children Papua New Guinea
2 minutes read
Credit: Save the Children PNG/2021
Kiragi Steven is teacher-in-charge at Wardstrip Elementary School
Credit: Save the Children PNG/2021

Students and teachers now feel more confident to return to school with the timely distribution of information materials to schools by the Department of Education in partnership with GPE and the Australian Government.

The materials are among the initiatives funded by the US$9.44 million GPE COVID-19 grant allocated to the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) last year.

The role that teachers play in ensuring children go back to school can’t be underestimated. Teachers need to communicate with parents and students to provide timely and accurate information to facilitate their return to school, including dispelling any fears they may have about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, they help implement the necessary health, safety and learning protocols so children learn in a safe environment.

To support teachers and education officials in these efforts, information and education communication (IEC) materials have been developed to provide clear guidance and up-to-date information about the importance of prevention and control of COVID-19.

New materials help teachers and students learn safely

Kiragi Steven hails from Central province and is the Teacher-in-Charge at Wardstrip Elementary School, one of the largest schools in the country.

Kiragi explained the IEC materials provided through the Education in Emergency Response and Recovery Program and are clear and helpful. The materials are also adapted for children living with disabilities.

“It’s important to allow children to respond to the pictorial charts because then you know they are learning and soaking in the information. Equally important is providing teachers with the right resources and information to do their jobs in the safest way."

Kiragi Steven

Kiragi applauded the initiative by the Department of Education along with education partners in working together to ensure that children learn safely.

To date 25,995 information and education communication materials have been distributed.

The program is expected to reach over 90,000 elementary school students and over 2,000 elementary school teachers along with over 130,000 primary school students and over 3,000 primary school teachers in the National Capital District, Madang, Morobe, Western and Sandaun provinces.

These learning materials have the added benefit of providing a new mechanism for out-of-school children to re-engage with the education system.

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East Asia and Pacific: Papua New Guinea

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