A reply from the Department of Foreign Affairs:–
Here is the reply to my letter about books to PNG schools addressed to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julia Bishop.
Reading this response it appears that Australian aid money will no longer be available to PNG for the direct supply of books to schools. Instead the money will be available to the PNG Government to strengthen its systems to deliver items such as books to schools. I hope very much that schools receive more books soon but I doubt very much that this policy will result in more books to schools.
Your opinion on this matter would be very welcome on these pages.
I wrote this letter to Julie Bishop the Australian Minister for Foreign affairs last week. Sure it would be good for me if my books were sold to PNG but I do believe it would also be good for PNG school students. I will also post the reply to this letter if and when I receive it.
A letter to:–
The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP
Dear Foreign Minister,
I listened with great interest to what you said about aid to Papua New Guinea on the ABC 24 hour program about the 15th of this month. I worked for the PNG Department of Education for eight years and was Australian Team Leader of a science and agriculture education project for AusAID in the Solomon Islands for four years. Since retiring I have authored or co-authored 24 textbooks for Pearson Education Australia for South Pacific, including PNG, schools. It was very disappointing to hear that aid goals are no longer being met.
You are probably well aware that virtually all the books written for South Pacific schools are published by three Australian companies, Pearson Education Australia; Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand; and Macmillan Publishers Australia. These books are written mostly by Australians with experience teaching in PNG schools. Occasionally the books are co-authored with PNG nationals—particularly my books!
I suggest that you simply supply all schools with the books they need. All such books, for PNG in particular, are available now. The supply of actual books (as opposed to money for books) would go a long way to ensuring that the aid goals were met. I am also very aware that distribution is a problem within PNG, but assuring all teacher’s through radio, that books are available, should go a long way to ensuring that they receive them even in the most remote areas.
I think I am correct in saying that very few schoolbooks have been delivered in recent years through Australian Aid and schools must be crying out for suitable books.
You can most easily see all the books I am talking about (from all three publishers) at the Laikim Buk Educational book store here http://www.laikimbuk.com. My small contribution can most easily be seen here also at http://www.laikimbuk.com/products/search?keywords=Brian+Robertson.
I am aware that I benefit financially if Australian Aid is used to buy books that I have authored. But writing textbooks is honest work and it is an honest desire that I and all other authors have to see Papua New Guineans benefit from a supply of decent books for their schools.
I would be delighted to answer any questions you or your staff may have for me on this topic.
You will see a lot more comment from me on the front page of this site over the coming months. Let me start by explaining about the cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget announced last week on the 17th January 2014. Although the Foreign Aid budget has been cut by 5 million the good news is that it is unlikely to affect aid to PNG. Julie Bishop our new Australian Foreign Minister said that Australian aid would now be more concentrated on the Asia Pacific region and would include a focus on better educational outcomes. I hope this means that schools, teachers and students in PNG and the Solomon Islands see more books in schools in the near future. I taught in PNG and was involved in education for more than 8 years and I know how important a good supply of appropriate text books are to teachers and students. I dare to hope that this might mean that the supply of textbooks could even increase!
Hello all teachers, students and parents who are interested education in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and all other South Pacific schools!
This site is about to undergo a major upgrade. I have neglected it for far too long. The main purpose of this site in future will be to comment on and encourage comment from you about any aspect of education that you think it is worth saying. It might be about a single school, the curriculum, the resources provided or not provided by the Government or any other topic you think needs talking about.
The site will still have a few books but only books that I have written or helped to write and perhaps a few other books that are special in some way. You will be able to choose, where to buy these books, from two or three online book stores.
There will also be a great deal of information about each book on this site, much more than appears on any other online book store. Extra resources available for students or teachers in connection with these books will also be available from time to time.
Students, teachers and parents are also encouraged to use the Contact Us button if you want to ask anything about any of the books—or ask about anything ellse in connection with this site. That way you can have your question answered personally.
All books on this site relate directly to the latest version of the 'reform curriculum' which is available at http://www.pngcurriculumreform.ac.pg.
You can make a comment below or ask a question at no cost to you simply by giving your name and your email address.