Teacher trainer exchange to Australia builds teaching skill base in rural PNG

A group of 11 elementary teacher trainers from Morobe Province in northern Papua New Guinea (PNG) today embark on a week-long learning exchange to Sydney to further develop their skills as educators.

The inaugural exchange is an integral part of Teach for Tomorrow II, a project delivered by Australian NGO KTF to provide vital professional development, upskilling and ongoing support and mentoring to elementary teachers from remote and rural PNG. 

Over the past three years, KTF partnered with the National Department of Education and PNG Education Institute to train 3,685 elementary teachers across 14 provinces. Teach for Tomorrow II is the project’s next phase, delivering accessible and affordable in-service training for the nation’s elementary teachers that can be undertaken without interrupting schooling.

Teach for Tomorrow II employs a ‘train-the-trainer’ model where, during provincial workshops, teacher trainers develop an annual professional development calendar for bespoke training to then be delivered to the teachers in their region.

For the Morobe Provincial Education Administrator, Provincial Education Teacher Training Coordinator and cohort of nine exceptional trainers from across the province, the exchange provides an opportunity to take their training programs to the next level with a comprehensive overview of the education sector in Australia.

During the exchange, the group will attend a range of demonstration schools from early childhood to high school, servicing a range of diverse areas; attend workshops on teaching topics from policy to teaching methodology and creative literacy; and participate in sessions focused on personal growth and development. Learnings from the visit will be incorporated into the broader Teach for Tomorrow II framework for implementation across PNG.

Keith Jiram, Provincial Education Program Advisor, notes the significance of the exchange for the trainers of his province:

 “Our Governor, Provincial Administrator and Provincial education leaders are all excited and very happy for the entire group of elementary trainers of a Province to travel out for training. Teach for Tomorrow II from Kokoda Track Foundation is a historic moment for Morobe which will benefit our teachers and students for a lifetime. Thank you KTF for choosing Morobe.”

 CEO of KTF, Dr Genevieve Nelson says the exchange, as part of the broader Teach for Tomorrow II project, is vital to advance the quality of teaching and practice of the trainers by focusing on professional knowledge, practice and professional engagement.

“Teacher upskilling in-service is a critical requirement for the delivery of relevant, evidence-based teaching and learning; but it is most often the remote regions across a geographically vast and isolated nation that miss out” says Dr Nelson. 

“We are delighted that the entire training cohort of Morobe can be part of this career-defining learning experience and we look forward to sharing the learnings with elementary teacher trainers right across rural PNG.”

On return to PNG, Morobe’s trainers will implement their regional training calendars to on-train their newly acquired knowledge.  Teach for Tomorrow II will also be rolled out in Gulf and Southern Highlands provinces from late August.

The Teach for Tomorrow II Morobe program is generously supported by long-term KTF partner Newcrest Mining Ltd who KTF worked with in 2017 and 2018 to train 911 teachers across Morobe and New Ireland Provinces. The exchange program would not be possible without the participation of a range of schools, NGOs, educators and the Western Sydney University.

Anita Russell