As you are aware there are hardly any functioning public libraries or book shops in Papua New Guinea. The lack of these libraries and book shops make it difficult for parents to find books to support their child’s literacy development and education as a whole.
Recently Buk bilong Pikinini, whose mission is to help increase literacy rates in Papua New Guinea by setting up children’s libraries in community based localities, gladly accepted the invitation from Theodist – The Stationery Supermarket to open a book shop and reading corner at their premises in Port Moresby.
The shop was opened by our Ambassador Mrs. Lynda Babao-O’Neill and our Youth Ambassador Justin Olam from the SP Hunters, Rugby League team.
Collaboration of this nature is an important and critical one when it comes to talking literacy in Papua New Guinea.
According to a survey conducted in five provinces of PNG from 2006-2011, by the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education(ASPBAE), the literacy situation was considered to be worse than anticipated. The three key common findings of the surveys, conducted in New Ireland Province, National Capital District, Chimbu Province, Sandaun Province and Gulf Province, were that literacy rates were very low (less than 5% in some cases), and that there was a true crisis in school education quality.
School fees tended to be the most common reason for the low literacy rates although other factors included poor access and parental expectations to help at home.
Five years since that survey, UNESCO released literacy data after having conducted surveys in over 30 countries – including Papua New Guinea.
The UNESCO data shows that the global literacy rate for all people aged 15 and above is 86.3%. The global literacy rate for all males is 90.0% and the rate for all females is 82.7%.
“Adult literacy rate, population 15+ years (both sexes, female, male)”. UIS Data Centre. UNESCO. August 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
Below is the data for Papua New Guinea as well as a number of other countries we have selected to give you a picture of what Papua New Guinea’s current literacy situation is:
|Literacy rate (all)||Male literacy||Female literacy||Gender difference|
|Papua New Guinea||64.2%||65.6%||62.8%||2.8%|
As you can see from the above data, Papua New Guinea is well below the World average in both male and female literacy rates.
The above data also confirms to a certain extent that countries with high poverty and lack of educational resources struggle with very low literacy rates.
Under READ PNG – a World Bank-supervised, Department of Education delivered project, the project results indicated that the distribution of reading books and teacher training raised reading and writing fluency to more than 25 percent from a low four percent in the provinces the subject of this project.
Given the above, the Buk bilong Pikinini and Theodist collaboration is a significant one and creates a pathway for private sector organisations to assist Buk bilong Pikinini in reaching more people, raising more funds and eventually help improving literacy in Papua New Guinea.