PNG - La'o Curriculum Development
The La’o language, the mother tongue of most people living along the Ramu River in the the Madang and East Sepik Provinces of PNG, has been written for over 40 years, but only a small percentage of the La’o speaking people are fluent in reading and writing their own language. La’o is the largest language group without a vernacular curriculum. Although the PNG government allows and encourages the use of the vernacular in the public schools, it lacks the resources needed to help language groups develop their curriculum.
Silas Gibe, the Churches of Christ literacy director, has been encouraging education and literacy in pidgin (the PNG trade language) and La'o. Silas came to Australia in 2008 to work with Fay Christensen (a former long-term missionary in PNG) on La'o Translation from one dialect into another using a specially designed computer program.
La’o Curriculum Project
COCOA is working with the Melanesian Evangelical Churches of Christ and Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT) to develop curriculum resources for Elementary Grade and Grade One. This will establish a basis for the teaching of La’o in schools across the area. PBT has a curriculum resource that is designed to be adapted to the various vernacular languages in PNG. The project will use this resource and develop a specific La’o curriculum and train teachers in its use. The Elementary materials have now been completed and are being trialled in three schools. The Grade One materials are progressing.