The challenges of remoteness are a daily reality for the teachers of Middle Ramu, Madang Province.
Getting to the district from Madang town means a two-hour drive to the Usino-Bundi boat stop followed by an eight-hour trip along the banks of the winding Ramu River to the furthest village.
Villages are mostly situated close to the river, but it can be a three-hour walk to reach communities further inland.
Many schools in the district have limited teaching and learning resources, often relying on community volunteers to teach children given the lack of qualified teachers.
But today teaching and learning is improving at remote schools through the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership supported Together for Education project.
The project is delivered by World Vision in collaboration with the National Department of Education, Child Fund, the Consultative Implementation, and Monitoring Council, Library For All and the University of Canberra.
Last year at Annaberg Station, nearly 40 teachers from 19 Middle Ramu schools participated in a week-long Standards Based Curriculum (SBC) English Syllabus training which helped them understand how to better teach the English syllabus.
Seven of the participants were Missingi Elementary School volunteer teachers who took part in the training to help their schools and communities.
Theresita Saka had been volunteering at the school for three years and found the program to be an eye-opener.
“I have never received such training before,” she said.
“Now I understand very well how I can use the teachers’ guide and I am confident in my teaching.”
Donatus Egimi, also volunteer teacher at Missingi Elementary, said the training helped him understand different teaching strategies and how to use them correctly.
“I thought the only way to teach children to read was by giving them reading books,” he said.
“The training taught us how to create teaching aids with materials to help the students learn to read.
“I am very happy to receive this training and I am now confident to teach the English syllabus.”
Other participants also grew in confidence and were more open to joining discussions as the training progressed.
It also boosted their abilities to effectively use SBC scripted lesson plans in classroom teaching and assessment activities to enhance students’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.
Middle Ramu District elementary trainer and coordinator Peter Atau was pleased to see the positive outcomes.
“Teachers are now equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to teach their students,” he said.
“I have seen how the teachers have embraced the concept of scripted lessons and how the training will help our children’s futures.”