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« PNG’s experiences with a time warp | Main | State of the public service »

04 April 2012

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Phil's book review also serves to highlight the role in which radio can support education, especially in nations where remoteness, funding constraints and other factors work to limit learning opportunities.

As a former broadcasting manager in both Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, I very much regret the demise of the schools broadcasting services in each country.

Keith can comment further on the PNG system, although I well recall a chalkie, with whom I shared a two-man donga in Kerema, telling me how he missed the comprehensive broadcasts which value-added so much to daily classroom lessons.

Up until the 1970s, the (then) Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service (SIBS) also operated an excellent, curriculum-linked system which brought much needed material directly into schools as an adjunct to the face-to-face efforts provided by the teacher.

Often, the SI teachers had relatively little pre-service training and only a modicum of in-service support, especially those living in villages scattered across the more remote islands.

The radio broadcasts not only helped them to bring a new dimension to lessons and a broader and more diverse vista on the world to students in the classroom, they were also a learning experience for the teachers.

Not only that, a daily transmission from Honiara gave teachers the knowledge that they were, indeed, part of a national education system, and that the Government cared for them and valued their work.

Without this inspiration, remote area teachers operated in a relative vacuum and, for many, it must have seemed that their huge and valiant efforts went unrewarded.

To my way of thinking, the demise of schools broadcasting has been a tragedy. Nowadays, school teachers in remote parts of Solomon Islands are lucky to get chalk, or books, or even a pay cheque on time. The situation in PNG is probably similar.

I, during the Bougainville crisis, criss-crossed the Bougainville Strait against the dirty Australia-backed PNG blockade of my Solomon island of Bougainville - with a gun.

You make me proud with these words, 'No matter how you turn the map around Bougainville looks a lot more comfortable as part of the Solomon Islands'.

Truly Bougainville is a colony of the rapacious PNG state. Our duty as true Solomonese is to realise irredentism.

We will do that, no matter what, our island must be free from aliens.

This is our common vision as relegated Bougainvilleans.

Or $7.99 on Kindle from Amazon.

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