Bringing IT into Education in Papua New Guinea

Our Trusts Partnerships Officer, Sion Jones, has recently returned from Papua New Guinea where he visited a number of projects to report on how IT was being used in schools. Having recently written up a project overview, we thought we’d share some of his insights on ICT use within the country and the schools he visited…

Recently I was able to visit a project that was started a year ago in the Western Highlands province of Papua New Guinea. Deploying 100 refurbished PCs to a primary and secondary school, the project faced a number of challenges in order to establish strong examples of the role IT can play in children’s education.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is roughly double the size of the UK, but has a population of only 7 million. Mountainous terrain and a lack of infrastructure means travelling between the main towns is largely done by air. The country is incredibly culturally diverse, with over 850 native languages – a fact that almost every Papua New Guinean is proud of and mentions at every opportunity. Around 80% of the population live in rural areas, with subsistence farming their primary activity. Social relationships are built through the ‘wantok’ system whereby individuals build strong social bonds based on family relationship, community ties or perhaps a common language, establishing an obligation to help your fellow ‘wantok’ when in need.

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