Skip to main content

Search form

Menu Search

Education projects in PNG


Improving education in PNG

PNG faces widespread rural poverty and poor educational opportunities for the 4.2 million children and young people.

Early childhood teacher teaching a whole class phonics session at Mapemo early learning centre in Goroka, Papua New Guinea Sarah Wiles

Early childhood teacher teaching a whole class phonics session at Mapemo early learning centre in Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Support for teacher education

Our experienced international teaching and education volunteers share knowledge and skills with PNG colleagues which are not available locally. This includes the use of phonics in English teaching, scripted lessons and decodable readers.

We work alongside schools, teachers’ colleges, standards officers and provincial divisions of education. We focus on supporting long-lasting reforms in teacher education and curriculum and work closely with the Department of Education.

In 2013, VSO worked with the British Council to assess the level of English skills proficiency among elementary teachers. We have also been instrumental in introducing entry testing into teachers’ colleges.

Grade 3 class at Gaulim Demonstration School in East New Britain during a phonics lesson Sarah Wiles

Grade 3 class at Gaulim Demonstration School in East New Britain during a phonics lesson

Support for inclusive education

VSO has supported the establishment of a new specialist teacher training college for inclusive education, and facilitated the writing of an updated special education teacher training unit for every primary school teacher trainee.

Our volunteers work on improving curriculum, policy and professional development for a number of education NGOs including Callan Services for the Disabled and Buk Bilong Pikinini (PNG’s largest provider of early childhood libraries).

Support for education research 

We have a long history of education research in Papua New Guinea. Policy makers at the Department of Education and institutions increasingly demand data and analysis for decision making.

We builds monitoring and evaluation into all our projects, establishing baseline and conducting impact assessments. In recent years we have managed both controlled trials and big data projects.

Recent education projects

Language Support Program 2012-2014

VSO teaching and education volunteers worked at the primary teachers’ colleges to help improve teacher training in English. All colleges were involved in writing and trialling the new units.

Seven core training units were redeveloped, new assessment tasks created, and over twenty teacher training videos filmed.

Student teachers received their resources on microSD card and printed copies.

Every student teacher in PNG is now using these units.

  • Donor: DFAT
VSO volunteer Rowan Southwell with her colleagues Tina Hulama (L) and Rhonda Michael (R). Rowan is based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea where she is an Education Programme Facilitator for Buk Bilong Pikinini (books for children in Tok Pisin)

VSO volunteer Rowan Southwell with her colleagues Tina Hulama (L) and Rhonda Michael (R). Rowan is based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea where she is an Education Programme Facilitator for Buk Bilong Pikinini (books for children in Tok Pisin)

Every Child Reading 2014

Funded by Australia Aid and working within the curriculum division, Every Child Reading developed the new elementary English syllabus and introduced daily scripted lessons to the teacher guides.

The three years of daily lesson plans reduce the workload on teachers and improve the teaching of essential skills.

The team also produced a classroom library kit of 25 reading books, flash cards, posters and over 100 songs linked to the new teacher guides.

The materials were also produced on micro-SD cards for teachers to use on their mobile phones.

  • Donor: Australian Aid

SMS Story 2013

In 2013 VSO managed a controlled research trial to see whether sending a daily text message story and lesson plan to elementary teachers improved children’s reading.

This low cost and simple system significantly improved children’s reading skills.

  • Donor: Economic & Public Sector Program

Grade 8 exam analysis 2014

VSO was commissioned by the Department of Education to collect and analyse three years of grade 8 exam data for every child and every school in PNG.

VSO recruited a group of young researchers and managed this huge exercise successfully, providing the Department with the first primary school level comparison of exam performance.

  • Donor: DoE

You may also like to read:

VSOPNG education briefing sheet.pdf

VSOPNG education programmes.pdf