Papua New Guinea can reduce its high illiteracy rate by implementing the strategies recommended by Dr. Kilala Devette-Chee, Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader of Education Research Program at the PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI).

“Literacy level in different parts of PNG has continued to be a matter of national concern,” she says in her latest research report, Illiteracy: A growing concern in Papua New Guinea, published as PNG NRI Spotlight Volume 14, Issue 7.

“Although the government has taken a number of measures to improve literacy in the country, more and more students who are dropping out of school are either semi-literate or illiterate.”

The strategies to reduce illiteracy rate include reviewing the provision of free education to allow more children to attend school; do awareness on the importance of education; encourage night classes for working people and re-establishing school libraries to promote culture of reading.

According to Dr. Devette-Chee’s study, the root causes of the poor literacy learning outcomes include weak teaching skills and knowledge, diverse languages, frequent teacher and student absenteeism and lack of appropriate reading books and teaching support materials.

Among many factors, the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) which promoted the use of vernacular languages in elementary schools with a transition period to English in Grade 3 failed a lot of students due to improper implementation of the program.


The Media Release can be accessed on the PNG NRI website

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Authorised for release by:

Dr. Osborne Sanida
PNG NRI Acting Director


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