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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


English Now PNG Schools’ Language Of Instruction
Education department to provide support for switch

By Shirlyn Belden

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 5, 2013) – Assistance will be provided to all elementary and primary schools in Papua New Guinea to use English as the language of instruction, according to the Education Department.

Starting yesterday, all elementary and primary schools in the national education system started using English as language of instruction as the government phased out the outcomes-based system.

Education secretary Luke Taita said support would be provided for in-service and pre-service training to prepare teachers for the change.

The new policy replaces the use of vernacular (lingua franca) including Tok Pisin and Motu as the language of instruction.

The change in language is to address the concerns of parents, teachers, students, academics and political leaders that vernacular in elementary schools created a poor standard of spoken and written English.

"The current elementary language syllabus will be used by teachers to plan, program and teach their children.

"The English syllabus and other support materials will be made available to teachers to teach English as a subject," Taita said.

He said the revised policy included teaching phonics as a daily lesson in classrooms.

"To promote quality learning at elementary level, phonics will be introduced to all and taught daily.

"Since English is the only language of communication used in administration and businesses around the world it is important that it is used for teaching and learning in our schools.

"English will be taught as a subject in all elementary schools and that means students enrolled would learn English at the age of six with phonics to be taught as a lesson daily to promote quality English," he said.

He said it had been proven that phonics enabled students to read and speak fluent English.

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