BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
THE Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) yesterday launched a series of story books that will add to the collection of teaching and learning resources for students in classrooms.
Handing over of the 6 titles (books) by the New Zealand High Commissioner Mr. Don Higgins saw MEHRD receive 9 titles. The first three titles were wordless books launched last year.
The first three titles are very unique in that they combine local custom (kastom) stories with science being the first of their kind in the region and are powerful tools for supporting literacy learning across the curriculum while upholding and promoting cultural knowledge and values.
“Turtle and Heron” titled is written by Roselyn Maneipuri and illustrated by Fred Oge, “Hide and Seek” is written by Roselyn Maneipuri and illustrated by Richard Bibimauri while “Medua and Tinakula” is written by Hellen Marau and illustrated by Brian Feni.
The further three are non-fiction books that have also been developed introducing different genre of text and again supports cross-curriculum literacy development. These books were written by a NZ based author, Don Long and largely used illustrators/photos sourced within NZ and Robert Taupongi a Solomon Islands photographer.
“Will they Float?” Photographs by Robert Taupongi (Solomon Islands photographer) and “Gliding and Flying” and “Moon and Tides”, photographs and images from NZ based sources.
More than 40 participants including MEHRD officers, Education Authority Officers, those working in literacy in the country and a few school children and teachers witnessed the official handing over of the books by the New Zealand High Commissioner Mr Don Higgins to the MEHRD Permanent Secretary (Acting) Mr James Bosamata at the Heritage Park Hotel.
Copies of these books have been printed and distributed to schools in Temotu, accompanied by targeted professional learning and development for the teachers to ensure they can use them effectively to support students learning.
MEHRD have also ordered additional copies (through NZ budget support funds) to be distributed to all schools across Solomon Islands. This was made possible through the New Zealand Government in which High Commissioner Higgins said they are delighted to hear MEHRD ordering the additional copies.
The Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Programme (PLSLP) was initiated in mid 2014 by NZ MFAT being a programme to assist Ministries of Education in Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga to gain a better understanding of how to address long-standing challenges in improving student literacy learning.
PLSLP is relatively unique in its focus on working directly at a classroom level and integrating ongoing research and an adaptive design approach to build capability that can be sustained at school levels.
In Solomon Islands, the programme has worked specifically in Temotu Province with 16 primary schools and the Temotu Provincial Education Authority.
“The classrooms have been transformed. Where walls were bare and ceilings were empty, they are now filled with children’s stories and pictures,” said Higgins.
“Teachers are collaborating more, sharing ideas, trying new techniques and we are seeing improvements in literacy learning.”
The programme is implemented by a consortium of the University of Auckland and the Institute of Education of the University of the South Pacific with teams of in-country Literacy and Leadership Facilitators.
Lift Publishing, a NZ based educational resource publishing company has supported the development of the books.