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US gives boost to Papuans’ education

Ambassador pledges funding for new curriculum

The United States government is to provide US$2.8 million towards the introduction of a new curriculum for Papuan students. US Ambassador Scot Marciel announced the aid package today at the end of a two-day visit to Jayapura, capital of Papua province. During the visit, Marciel met with the provincial head of the Education, Youth and Sport Affairs department, James Modouw, to discuss the new curriculum which will be aimed at more than 32,000 students in 355 schools. “A Papua specific curriculum will help inspire Papuan children to learn and will also reflect the profound respect we have for Papua’s rich culture,” Marciel said in a statement. He said the cash will help the department to refine, print and distribute the new curriculum as well as conduct training for teachers. Under the USAID-SERASI program, USAID partners with the Protestant-run Wamena Teacher Training Institute Foundation to develop curricula in mathematics and Indonesian languages for first and second graders that are adapted to local culture and meet or surpass national standards, the statement said. The USAID-funded SERASI project works with local organizations to improve the quality of people’s lives in communities across Indonesia. The provincial government is to implement the Papua-specific curriculum in remote areas. Five highland districts and other organizations working in non-formal or parallel education system will adopt it. Reverend Noakh Nawipa, an education expert from the Walter Post Theological College in Sentani, said the financial aid is a welcome boost to improving education in Papua. “The standard of education in Papua remains poor, particularly in remote areas," he said. “According to our research, almost 90 percent of Papuans cannot read and write. In remote villages, an elementary school has about 30 to 40 students and only one or two teachers. The growth of education has been very slow.” Related report Bishop calls for better education

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