New adult literacy classes run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are changing the lives of adults and young people (aged 14 to 45) who missed out on formal education during their childhood.
A collaboration between women’s ministries, Adventist education, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office of the New Britain New Ireland Mission (NBNIM), the program hosts a wholistic curriculum that addresses not only literacy but also numeracy and life skills.
Seventeen students graduated from the program in November 2020, each receiving a certificate. Representatives who attended the ceremony included NBNIM education director Richard Waikite, women’s ministry director Dianne Pelap, ADRA PNG adult literacy coordinator Bernard Paru, and Linus Tokile, a pastor who helps run the school.
To graduate, students must complete specific requirements in various areas of learning. During life-skills classes, students learn tailoring, knitting, and sewing, with specific outcomes required, including learning the difference between butterfly sleeves and open full sleeves.
To learn mathematical concepts, students cut watermelon into different types of fractions and count coconuts. Although rudimentary, these skills are crucial for students who dropped out of primary school in grade 4 or lower and missed out on such skills required to bridge the gap from informal to formal education.
In addition, literacy skills were primarily taught through Bible reading, both in Tok Pisin and English.
A highlight of 2020’s cohort was the baptism of Georgina Taralima, the daughter of one of the students. Two families of students also made a stand for Jesus.
Moving forward, initiative coordinators reported, the school can continue in 2021 thanks to the support of Francis Rainer, a ward member at the school, who offered the school a piece of land on which to operate.
“Thank you, NBNIM administration, for the great support in recognizing the importance of adult literacy and the memorandum of understanding signed to move forward in this special ministry,” Pelap said.