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Papua New Guinea Teacher Colleges

Papua New Guinea, a country located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is one of the world’s most isolated countries, both culturally and geographically. Just 40 percent of its population lives a self-sustainable lifestyle, outside the global economy. Only 18 percent of the populace lives in urban areas, and less than 5 percent have access to the Internet.

In June, WiderNet director Cliff Missen delivered 15 eGranary Digital Libraries to the Department of Education in the capital city, Port Moresby.

The eGranary Digital Library, a self-contained repository of millions of multimedia documents that can be instantly accessed by users over their local area networks at no cost, and with no Internet connection, will be deployed to teacher’s colleges across the country.

Department of Education technicians tested each eGranary and prepared them for deployment.

Additionally, Missen provided training to education officials in technology and course development. The training included step-by-step instructions on building web pages and designing courses for primary and secondary students.

“I am very happy to say I’ve learned more than enough,” says Mary Obara, a school librarian on the islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea who received the training. “I’ve actually created a web page! I’ve never done that before.”

Aside from the pre-existing 32 million educational resources, the most powerful tool in the eGranary is the Community Information Platform, which allows users to upload their own customized material and create relevant content and course curriculums via the Web 2.0 function.

Being able to upload culturally relevant materials is important since, unlike subjects such as mathematics that are mostly static across cultures, linguistics, history and other topics are highly variable. And in Papua New Guinea, where 852 languages are spoken, the possibilities for making local content widely available are endless.

The WiderNet team looks forward to partnering with Papua New Guinea’s department of education and schools in order to develop an eGranary with content that tells their own stories.