Gaining an additional educational qualification means ‘breaking through a cultural barrier’ for Muhaveso Bathsheba Korano.

 Holder of a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science, Muhaveso says she decided to pursue a qualification in teaching so she could “contribute to educating more women and girls in math and science.”

It was through an Australia Awards PNG Scholarship that Muhaveso obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, specifically secondary teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), from the University of Goroka.

For Korano, such opportunities come only once in a lifetime, so she encourages fellow Papua New Guineans to apply for the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship. “If you are thinking of applying, just go for it,” she says.

She describes the scholarship program as “an opportunity for me to go further despite my cultural background, where females were limited to certain levels of education.” She adds, “I can now see myself clearly as someone making impacts in my field of practice.”

Learning about the STEM teaching approach gave her a deeper understanding of how to integrate science and math with other subjects when it comes to practical lessons. “The interesting thing is that students studying different subjects were able to collaborate and learn,” says Muhaveso.

She has taught at Tusbab Secondary School in Madang for the past year and is now teaching advanced math for upper secondary and mathematics for lower secondary at La Salle Technical Secondary School in Port Moresby.

Despite the challenges she faces with limited teaching resources for practical lessons, the learning through collaboration and subject integration helped Muhaveso think outside the box. On one occasion, she invited officers from the Bank of South Pacific to one of her classes to demonstrate the application of logarithm (a topic in math) in a banking system. The outcome was a success.  “The students understood really well, and I am satisfied. This is the approach we would use going forward,” she says.

Believing in herself, she says that she wants to be a good role model for the students. “Being a great teacher is doing what you want your students to do.”

Speaking about her passion and commitment towards educating her students, Muhaveso says, “I don’t only teach; I also learn from them. I get to see them not only by their academic results but also as who they are as individuals, according to their names.”