Promoting literacy in Papua New Guinea
The Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) Early Childhood Literacy, Numeracy and Awareness Program and Afternoon School Support program are internally developed programs with a strong PNG focus developed to suit children who have not had great exposure to books and libraries.
The program is delivered through BbP libraries where BbP trained teacher-librarians provide our free-of-charge program to children during two morning sessions - Monday to Friday. Children are selected through an enrolment process designed to prioritise the most vulnerable children aged between 4 and 6 years.
The BbP Building Blocks curriculum framework guides the development of literacy lesson activities and supports teacher librarian methodology in delivering the program content. The four Building Blocks of Phonics, Speaking & Listening, Pre-Reading and Pre-Writing encompass the foundational skills crucial for improving a child’s literacy. BbP literacy lessons are conducted in English; however, our curriculum recognises the ‘English as a Second Language’ context and integrates comprehension tasks into all four Building Blocks. The BbP Building Blocks mirror the four strands of the 2016 PNG Elementary English Syllabus: Speaking & Listening, Phonics, Reading, and Writing. By streamlining our curriculum with the PNG national syllabus, BbP is ensuring that our young graduates are adequately prepared for the transition to elementary school.
The BbP 2016 Syllabus provides teacher librarians with guidance about the literacy program chronology and content. The syllabus uses a four-term calendar system with non-teaching periods to allow time for program activities such as training, enrolment and preparation. It also includes details about phonics, themes, important dates and library closures.
BbP provides teacher librarians with Term Handbooks, which include Scripted Daily Lesson Plans and corresponding activity Instructions for every single lesson within each term. Each library is also provided with a Resource Box including specialised resources developed by BbP. These comprehensive resources provide teacher librarians with everything they need to effectively deliver the Early Childhood Literacy Program.
The BbP Graduation Standards detail the skills within each of the four Building Blocks that graduating children should ideally exhibit. Graduates moving on to the Elementary system are issued with Student Report cards to provide an indication of the literacy standard achieved. The BbP To Standard attainment level is based on the Elementary Preparatory Content Standard specified within the 2016 PNG Elementary English Syllabus.
BbP has a comprehensive teacher-librarian training program schedule, including training courses and in-classroom training support programs. As part of the library-based Training Schedule, trainers spend one week in each library to observe teacher librarians, conduct training, assist with the implementation of new strategies, facilitate reflection, and support long-term action strategies. Performance Standards are used to measure a teacher librarian’s ability to demonstrate knowledge, skills, attitudes and responsibilities under four main performance strands.
The BbP early childhood literacy program is effectively enabling the development of high quality, child centered and PNG-specific early childhood literacy content. We are also supporting our teacher librarians through the provision of literacy program resources and regular staff training, so that they may be competent and confident early childhood literacy educators.
BbP’s program is already streamlined with the PNG Elementary English Syllabus, both in terms of our curriculum and literacy standards. Our program complements the existing national syllabus and enables graduates of the program to transition smoothly into the formal elementary school system.
Afternoon School Support Program and library services:
Between 1.30pm and 4.00 pm every week day, BbP libraries provide an unstructured library support program for children enrolled in elementary and primary schools. The afternoon program allows children to access and borrow books, learn to do basic research, complete assignments and gain one-on-one reading time with library staff.
Special Needs Literacy Program:
Two of BbP’s 17 libraries provide basic literacy programs designed for children with special needs. One of these libraries is located inside the Port Moresby General Hospital and delivers a play-based literacy program for children hospitalised with serious illnesses such as TB, HIV/AIDs and malnutrition. (The children are often hospitalised for up to a year in order to ensure their full recovery).
The second library is located within the Red Cross Special Education and Resource Centre in Port Moresby and delivers a specialised literacy program for children living with hearing and learning disabilities. Buk bilong Pikinini places a strong emphasis on supporting all children to obtain an education including children living with disabilities. Our library at the RCSERC was established in 2008, now has a collection of new special needs materials and resources for hearing impaired children (including portable DVD players and iPads for audio visual learning).
To produce high quality culturally-appropriate books for children attending BbP libraries and elementary schools across Papua New Guinea.
Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) aims to foster a life-long love of learning, increase literacy rates and empower vulnerable children through the establishment of children’s libraries and the delivery of literacy programs in target communities across PNG. A key resource required to achieve this mission is children’s books. In PNG, most children have limited access to books due to the lack of public and school libraries and bookshops.
There is a need to develop PNG reading materials tailored to the specific cultural and educational needs of PNG children. BbP believes that in order to foster a love of reading among PNG children, there is a need to develop books with stories and illustrations that PNG children can relate to.
BbP’s Early Childhood Literacy program is delivered through 12 monthly themes, including:
Health and Hygiene
BbP aims to produce books and readers which touch upon these themes to ensure that we help the children and their families understand some of the most important health and safety messages which thy can use in their daily lives.
We are looking forward to working with new and existing partners to sponsor the books and readers.
Each book/reader will be branded with the sponsors’ logo and include a quote on the end pages of the book/reader. The themes could, on some occasions, be tailored to align closely with the messages individual sponsors are aiming to promote. A transport company, for example, may choose to sponsor a story book or a reader about road safety, while a bank may sponsor a reader about financial literacy.
There will be a number of books and readers relating to each of BbP’s monthly themes to choose from. These books and readers will form a set that will be distributed to all BbP libraries as well as elementary schools across PNG. The more books sponsored by each donor, the wider the distribution of the readers.
Sponsors will be able to support Buk bilong Pikinini with;
Classic BbP Starter (for children who cannot yet read) which will come in the form of board books or readers with very little text and big images.
Images (illustrations or photographs) will be prominent and educational.
￼Readers (for children who are starting to learn read - various levels available)
The Buk bilong Komuniti Program (BbKP) builds on the strengths of BbP’s existing programs and resources to assist schools and communities with the re-establishment of school libraries and enable the communities to set up literacy programs to support the children's education. The program has been divided into three modules to allow BbP to respond and tailor programs to different donor and community needs.
The BbKP makes book donations to schools and communities upon request (Module 1). BbP is able to provide selected community educators with training, books and resources through a partnership with a District Administration or donor (Module 2) and also cater for donor organisations wishing to establish a library in the area in which they operate/do business - by providing the necessary consultation, training and resources they need to establish one or more libraries and deliver an early childhood literacy program for their target community (Module 3).
Buk bilong Pikinini receives the donation of thousands of high quality books every month through our networks in Australia. In order to help increase literacy rates in all provinces of Papua New Guinea we are able to assist schools and communities with a donation of books and literacy materials to support with the re-establishment of school and community libraries. The books for our Buk bilong Komuniti Program are packed into kits of 300 at our Canberra Office and contain:
• Children’s picture & story books, early readers and young adult reading materials
• Teachers' reference materials, manuals and text books
• Dictionaries and general reference books
• Magazines, activity books and stationary
This module is suitable for communities with low literacy rates, where there is a great need for books and literacy materials and where a storage facility has already been identified. The community would also be interested in running literacy classes and may also have identified one or more volunteers who are available to be trained to conduct early childhood literacy classes.
BbP is able to offer training in our BbKP literacy program (which includes literacy, library management, phonics, etc), provide BbP developed resources (handbooks, games, charts, etc.) and make a donation of 1000 books.
The donor will be assisting the community by paying for the training, travel, materials transport costs and BbP resources (excluding the books which are a gift from BbP).
The training would consist of a two week Buk bilong Komuniti Program in-house training program. BbKP staff are certified trainers who are able to deliver an instructive and efficient course on how to conduct a simple early childhood literacy program to be followed by the possibility of a one month placement in a Buk bilong Pikinini library in either Port Moresby or a regional library. During this month’s placement the volunteer would get much-needed practical experience and would be capable of running a simple Early Childhood literacy program upon the return to their community. Upon completion of the training program the volunteer/s would receive copies of the BbP developed curriculum handbooks, literacy games, 1000 children’s books (same as described in module 1) and other literacy resources (handbooks, games charts) developed by BbP.
This module comes as close as possible to a traditional Buk bilong Pikinini library establishment, set up with a corporate donor/s or NGO. The main difference lies with the set up and running of the library, which as part of BbKP is fully the responsibility of the donor.
Module 3 would suit communities with low literacy rates which have a great need for books, literacy materials, early childhood literacy classes and library services. This module would require a 3-5 year Memoradum of Understanding between BbP and the donor to ensure that the program receives the necessary quality and standard which have become the BbP trademark.
BbP will be supporting the donor during the initial set-up phase with consultation on library requirements and fit out, staff qualification requirements, community awareness, etc. Once the library has been built the BbKP team would travel to the site to conduct base-line tests (for on-going monitoring) and would provide the selected staff and the donor representative with training as to how to conduct enrolment and set up a simple library loans system.
Just as Module 2, the selected teachers/educators (paid by the donor) would start attending the BbP in-house training program (this is the traditional BbP library training program as distinct from the BbKP course) to be followed by a one month placement in a Buk bilong Pikinini library in either Port Moresby or a regional library. During this month-long placement the donor-sponsored teacher/educators would get much needed practical experience and would be capable of running a comprehensive Early Childhood Literacy Program upon the return to their new community library. Upon completion of the training program the donor will receive copies of the BbP developed curriculum handbooks, literacy games, 2000-3000 children’s books (same as described in module 1) and other educational toys that BbP would normally include in a library fit out.
BbKP will set up M&E system for module 3 trainees and will provide the donor with a six-monthly monitoring and evaluations report to provide the donor with a progress report as well as an indication of the staff member’s performance and general recommendations. The BbKP team will spend up to 5 days in the library per year to provide guidance to staff and to undertake the M&E data collection.
Buk bilong Pikinini (books for children) is an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, which aims to establish children's libraries and foster a love of reading and learning. In PNG there are few functioning libraries outside the school system and most children do not have access to books at all.
The purpose of Buk bilong Pikinini is to focus on early childhood learning as a key to literacy. Only half of school-age children go to school and the literacy rate in PNG is well under the 50% officially claimed - in some areas as low as 5%. We aim to bring the books to the children via the creation of small Buk bilong Pikinini libraries in community based localities such as near settlements, clinics and market places. We collect books from private individuals and publishing houses and seek to obtain funding for our libraries through various fundraising efforts as well as through corporate sponsorships.
Buk bilong Pikinini was established in 2007 and has so far set up eleven children's libraries with many more to come. Buk bilong Pikinini libraries are not like normal libraries. We employ trained teacher-librarians who implement a comprehensive early childhood development programme in the mornings and a literacy and numeracy syllabus for school children in the afternoons.
You can visit all of our libraries by going to the Libraries category in the drop down menu. Please support us in our effort to make PNG children happy readers!
Buk bilong Pikinini libraries were initially established thanks to the work carried out by the Buk bilong Pikinini committee and founders.
However, Buk bilong Pikinini has had a Head Office in Port Moresby since 2009 and an Australia Office in Canberra since 2010. Thanks to the hard work of the volunteers in the committee since 2007 Buk bilong Pikinini has been able to carry the workload involved behind the scenes to establish many libraries across PNG.
The committee has now become a Friends of Buk bilong Pikinini group of volunteers and offers opportunities for expatriates, who might be spending a few years in PNG, to be involved in supporting the local community. The Friends of Buk bilong Pikinini group is usually busy organising fundraising events (Teddy Bear Picnics, raffles), carry out book sorting and also go to the libraries to do reading, crafts and special activities with the children. If you would like to be a Friend of Buk bilong Pikinini and take part in the fun activities while doing something truly meaningful please call our Head Office on 340 88 27.
Here are some pictures of the Buk bilong Pikinini committee members, volunteers, friends and supporters in action!
Level 1, Pod 1, The Factory, Munidubu Street,
Konedobu, Port Moresby
National Capital District
Papua New Guinea
PO Box 3173 Boroko
Mary Sawa, Adminstrative Assistant
Phone: +675 340 4963 Mobile: +675 7609 7323
Leanne Resson, Executive Officer
Ph:+ 675 340 4962
Sandy Kauk, Programs Manager
M:+675 7059 3537
Louise Vuvut, Finance Manager
Ph: +675 340 4963
Mary Amua, Human Resource Officer
M: +675 7699 4034
Ph: +675 340 4963
M: +675 7651 4951
Buk bilong Pikinini's Head Office is generously sponsored by Nasfund.
PNG High Commission
39-41 Forster Crescent
2600 Yarralumla, ACT
Ph: +61 2 60201801
M: +61 405281339
Anne-Sophie Hermann, Founder, Chairman of the Buk bilong Pikinini Board and Canberra Office Manager
Buk bilong Pikinini's Annual Report from 2012 will be uploaded shortly!
Anna Mukerjee - co-founder of Buk bilong Pikinini
Anna co-founded Buk bilong Pikinini together with Anne-Sophie and drew on her extensive experience from Africa to help shape the organisation.
Anna is now living in the US with her husband and children. Anna remains supportive of Buk bilong Pikinini affairs.
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Copyright Buk bilong Pikinini 2016