Originating from the small village of Tangu in Bogia District, Paul Taguti says that he wanted to be a teacher because there are not many educated people in his village.
After completing his primary and secondary levels of education in Madang, Paul earned a Diploma in Primary Teaching at Sacred Heart Teachers College in the nation’s capital, through an Australia Awards scholarship in 2022.
“The Australia Awards PNG Scholarship gives me a huge blessing. Without the scholarship, I don’t think that I’d complete my studies. Through the scholarship, I am teaching now,” he says proudly.
Straight after obtaining his teaching qualification, he was posted to teach back at the school where he began his primary education.
As the students were about to resume classes in 2023, Paul realised that he was the only teacher at the school. The students who came for classes were turned away because there were no teachers to teach. Paul explains that the village is far inland, and many of the teachers are not comfortable teaching there as telecommunications access and road conditions are bad.
As Paul was about to give up, he thought of his dream, and the teaching qualification gave him courage to take on the challenges. Realising his potential, he thought to himself, “I hold the qualification to serve at any school, whether good or bad, urban or rural. I know that it is my mission and vocation to do it, so I must do it.”
Paul immediately called a meeting with the parents and board members of the school to discuss the issue. He then wrote a letter to the provincial education secretary, incorporating all the discussions and requesting teachers and a headteacher for the school.
The outcome was a success. As a result of this letter, the education department posted teachers and a headteacher to the school, and classes were resumed.
Now teaching grade five, Paul says that he can really feel the satisfaction of teaching the children in his own village.
Paul is sharing his Australia Awards PNG scholarship experiences with his students and children in the village and encourages them to do well in school so they will be able to apply for this scholarship opportunity one day.
“I encourage all Papua New Guineans to apply for this scholarship. It is a great opportunity that can ease your financial burden,” he says.