GENEVIEVE ITTA* | Bougainville Copper Ltd
ARAWA - Written information is all around us and those with the ability to read, write and understand it have a distinct advantage over those who cannot.
It’s an unfortunate reality that many of our young people cannot read and write and, sadly, the same applies to many adults.
Learning to read and write, regardless of age, are empowering, as literacy helps us to take advantage of opportunity and to live better and more rewarding lives.
It also provides self-confidence and opens all sorts of doors to further learning, vocational training and employment opportunities.
Literacy is a powerful enabler. It helps us to make informed decisions and choices. For example, the ability to understand information about the upcoming referendum on independence undoubtedly makes it easier for literate people to participate in this process.
Literacy also provides a means for life-long learning and, at a personal level, reading and writing are also sources of immense enjoyment.
Bougainville Copper has always recognised the importance of improving local literacy and, more broadly, of providing education and training opportunities for Bougainvilleans.
Through the Bougainville Copper Foundation, BCL has provided scholarships for more than 1,300 students since 1997. These have helped young people pursue further education in areas that benefit Bougainville’s development.
And, in an important new initiative, we are delighted to announce our support to Bougainville’s education department to provide curriculum training for local primary school teachers.
This move to standards-based education reflects international best-practice and puts in place classroom structures aimed at enhancing literacy, numeracy and overall educational outcomes.
Next school term BCL is contributing more than K80,000 to support training sessions for more than 380 teachers at Kieta and Panguna.
This type of training will help build the capacity to ensure young Bougainvilleans will get maximum benefit from schooling in their most formative years.
BCL’s backing for literacy week and for teacher training are part of our broader community investment program. This will see us support other worthwhile community initiatives in education, health, sport and culture.
As a company, we remain totally committed to Bougainville and we are also optimistic about what the future holds.
* Genevieve Itta is BCL’s senior project officer for Panguna. This is an extract of her remarks at the launch of literacy week at Tupukas Primary School last week