Many Australian Lutherans know of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea – perhaps from past missionaries to the country or from media updates. Perhaps not so well known is the existence of an extensive Lutheran School system across the country. When we think of the words “Lutheran School”, our minds may go to […]
Many Australian Lutherans know of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea – perhaps from past missionaries to the country or from media updates. Perhaps not so well known is the existence of an extensive Lutheran School system across the country.
When we think of the words “Lutheran School”, our minds may go to the extensive buildings, well resourced classrooms and innovation that our Australian Lutheran Schools are known for. And while the mission of Lutheran schools in the two countries is the same –the provision of a sound education and the teaching of the Gospel – the two systems look completely different.
With the introduction of free education in Papua New Guinea, the number of students in all schools increased dramatically across the country. However, with no assistance to develop infrastructure or increase staffing, schools now have both large numbers of students and correspondingly large class sizes. It is not unusual for teachers to have classes of 40 – 60 students. Classroom resources are minimal – desks, chairs, exercise books and pencils are almost all that students have access to – no learning support, no art materials, no technology, minimal books in the library. Yet it is in this environment that I have been humbled to see the dedication of the teachers, both in the energy and enthusiasm for their work and also in their prayer and faith.
I have been privileged to work with leaders and some school staff, as they develop a revised Christian Life Studies Curriculum for use in their schools. The current curriculum is solid in its foundations but is now 20 years old and there has been significant cultural change over that period. The teacher guides are not easy to use and as the requirements of teaching and reporting have changed it has become increasingly difficult for teachers to use these materials. Because of the large classes and lack of resources the revised curriculum will enable teachers to pick up a book of lessons and teach. This may not correspond with what many may see as sound educational practice, but it is the most practical means of assisting teachers to carry out their work and not neglect the teaching of Christian Studies.
The Curriculum re-writing began several years ago but was hindered by the difficulty in finding teachers with the time to work on it. Covid also delayed the writing progress. The recent employment of Mr Geoff Narakene – a former Balob Teachers College lecturer specialising in curriculum – means that one person can now concentrate on the writing. This is a big task but it is hoped to have Year 3 materials ready for 2024, and Year 5 and 6 the year after. The printing and distribution of books is another aspect, as many will need to be transported to remote villages. Teacher training in the materials also needs to be coordinated and delivered.
This is a major project for the Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea and its schools, and the support of the LCA is very much appreciated by them. Please uphold this project – and the leaders, teachers and students of the schools – in your prayers.
If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone LCA International Mission on (08) 8267 7317 or email email@example.com. For more information, go to https://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/
Read more stories about volunteering at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/