The BEST project
The Boosting Education Standards Together (BEST) project’s Papua New Guinea Female Teachers Education Scholarship Scheme is funded by GPE and implemented by the National Department of Education, with Save the Children as the grant agent.
The program has also mobilized additional scholarships from the private sector including Newmont Mining and BNP Bank.
The scholarships students like Velian have received cover a four-year Bachelor of Education degree for math or science. They include costs of tuition, board, travel, practicum and study resources.
Having more female math and science teachers has been shown to help girls improve learning outcomes, without negatively affecting boys.
Increasing the number of female teachers also aims to help girls and young women stay in school by providing strong role models. In 2016, the transition rate of girls in Papua New Guinean secondary schools stood at 57% from grade 8 to grade 9 and 44% from grade 10 to grade 11.
The presence of more female educators will also play a pivotal role in inspiring other young female students to pursue careers and advanced studies in these important fields, where women are currently under-represented.
Velian’s journey from her remote village in New Ireland to university in Port Moresby is already inspiring young girls in her village. She says she has spoken with many of them in her church youth group, village and district, encouraging them to continue their education, and explaining how the scholarship and support received from the project is helping her.