Joshua Yowani saw the lack of teachers in his village as an obstacle to a better future for his people. “I wanted to be a teacher so I could educate students in my society, and they could contribute to developing our province.” Apart from teaching the children, he also wanted to be a role model, opening their eyes to more possibilities for the future.
After graduating with a Diploma in Primary Teaching from Sacred Heart Teachers College through an Australia Awards Scholarship, Joshua’s ambitions were realized. He began his teaching career last year at Laingim Primary School in Nuku district, a very remote place in West Sepik Province. “The road condition is not good. Only land cruisers go there during dry seasons, not during rain,” he says. Joshua teaches all eight subjects in sixth grade.
Due to the remoteness, Joshua says that they face challenges in getting learning resources to the school on time. “When there are no teaching materials, it is challenging. Especially, we don’t have the resources to teach the new science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) curriculum.” He says that sometimes the students and teachers have to carry the school materials from Nuku station and walk to the school for hours.
Despite the challenges, Joshua tries his best to use resources he has at his disposal to teach students. “I make use of the recycled items like bottles and cans for demonstrations in class,” he says. “When we need paint for an arts lesson, I go to the bush to find plants to make up colours.”
Joshua is passionate about doing what he loves the most, despite not being on payroll yet. “I’m in the village; I have food here, so I don’t give up,” he says.
The school where Joshua is now teaching, is the same school he attended more than ten years ago as a child. He then went to Lumi High School and then Vanimo Secondary School. He did not make it to the tertiary institution of his choice, so he upgraded his grade 12 subjects and pursued a Certificate in Business Studies.
From the applications he submitted to teacher’s colleges, Joshua was selected to study at Sacred Heart Teacher’s College. He applied for an Australia Awards PNG scholarship during his first year at the college and was successful.
“I am happy because the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship took over a responsibility from my parents. My school fees, allowances, airline tickets, and medical fees were covered under this scholarship,” says Joshua.
“If you want to go for studies in teaching, the scholarship that I benefited from is the best. Apply for it,” he says.