Papua New Guinea is a diverse country with some 840 languages spoken among its 7 million people, which poses an array of challenges for the education system.
About one third of PNG’s population is illiterate and mostly live in rural areas. What’s more, according to the 2010 Early Grade Reading Assessment, only 3 out of 10 students were able to read a few sentences after three years of attending school.
To address this challenge, GPE played a key role in bringing education partners together to improve sector planning, identify key challenges, analyze the situation based on data and ensure external education funding for PNG focused on the priorities outlined in the country’s education plan. By funding the plan’s strategic elements, GPE helped ensure that investments in PNG’s education sector delivered results.
Improving reading skills was identified as one of the key areas that needed to be addressed in the plan covering the years 2010-2019. The plan identifies the lack of reading materials and trained teachers as being among the main challenges diminishing the quality of education in PNG.
That’s why GPE and the World Bank worked with the government to launch READ PNG in 2011, a program to promote better teaching and learning of reading skills in elementary and primary education. Through the program, children have more opportunities to practice reading, teachers get the tools and knowledge to support them, and regularly test children’s performance.