Digital illiteracy is an enormous constraint to Papua New Guinea's growth as a nation, epitomised by the fact that almost none of the 3,535 primary schools across the country have permanent and functional digital learning infrastructure such as a computer lab. As such, students are entering high school, university and applying for jobs without digital fluency. Establishing primary school computer labs, our program aims to boost digital literacy across the country.
Since 2017, we have placed digital learning tools at the fingertips of more than 27,000 students by establishing twenty-eight pioneering computer labs in the Western Highlands. For almost all these students, and their teachers, this is their first active encounter with ICT tools. All users gain access to Niunet, a treasure trove of educational content, curated and produced by a remarkable Papua New Guinean start-up.
Teachers and principals are fundamental pieces of any educational pursuit and in PNG, a critical lack of digital literacy amongst educators hinders the growth of digital fluency. In partnership with Global Learner, we have developed the Digital Skills Passport, an interactive, and tailor-made digital teaching program which will provide teachers with vital skills in digital instruction.
With very low ICT skills across teaching cohorts in Papua New Guinea, more is required to transform infrastructure into impact. Our originally-produced, bilingual Digital Skills Guidebook guides teachers and students from digital illiteracy to fluency. Similarly, we are working on a program which will allow students to seek micro-credentials in digital competency.
H.E. John Kali CMG OBE, PNG's High Commissioner to Australia
Through our Digital Infrastructure Program, we are establishing the first functional primary school computer labs in Papua New Guinea. In March 2021, we shipped our first container laden with digital devices to the Western Highlands Province. Through this project alone, 18,000 future leaders will be given digital learning opportunities and the chance to be equipped with twenty-first century skills.
In 2019, with the support of Komatsu Australia, we established computer labs at the Ulga, Minimp and Rebiamul Primary Schools, providing digital learning opportunities to over 3,000 students. Rebiamul Primary School has made exemplary use of the devices, rolling out ICT classes almost immediately.
In 2018, Founder & CEO, Jack Growden, and founding board member, O'Keefe Easzon, traveled three hours from Mount Hagen to one of the province's most remote schools, Lumusa Primary School, to present 12 devices. Beginning an extraordinary presentation, members of the community chaired Jack and O'Keefe through the village to thank them for bringing the world of digital opportunities to their children's fingertips.
On September 17th 2017, LiteHaus was born as Jack Growden donated his laptop and promised to return to the Kuta Primary School with 12 more. Six months later, he returned and opened the first functional computer lab in the Western Highlands before a crowd of 500 people. Kuta Primary School has since opened a purpose-built classroom to house the devices.
Bronwyn Wright (CEO, Sir Brian Bell Foundation)