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Talking -Book APP for Children in PNG goes online

Children with hearing impairments in PNG can now learn to read more easily thanks to a sign-language and talking-book application launched  on  Thursday 23 May, 2019 at the Gerehu Inclusive Education Resource Centre in Port Moresby.

The application was launched under the Rapidly Improving Standards in Elementary (RISE) project supported through the Papua New Guinea Australia Partnership and implemented by Save the Children PNG, Summer Institute of Linguistic (SIL) and Callan Services.

Australian High Commission representative Eloise Saif, who spoke at the launch, said the talking book application is part of a suite of activities that are being rolled out in ten provinces to help improve literacy and numeracy of early grade learners including children with a disability.

“Australia’s investment in education in PNG seeks to build a more inclusive education system that ensures all children can learn.
We are a strong advocate for disability inclusive education systems,girl’s participation, and equal opportunities for rural and remote communities as well as ethnic and linguistic minorities,” she said.

Ms Saif said, “Research tells us that 25 per cent of children under 15 years of age in PNG have a form of hearing problem. 

According to Light for the World this child deafness is often referred to as the ‘hidden disability’ - often caused by malaria, middle ear inflammation or other untreated diseases. It is also a leading cause of school dropout, exclusion and malnutrition.” 

Save the Children Pacific Regional Director Jennifer El-Sibai said,“This talking-book application is a significant development for early childhood learning in Papua New Guinea because stories contained in this application are available in 31 local languages, English, Pidgin and sign-language and will help to enhance the learning pace of our children who have speech and hearing impairments.”

“The sign-language will make it easier for hearing-impaired children to read and understand and is also useful for children without a disability to learn sign-language so that they can communicate with special needs children.
“Engaging parents and communities in the learning process of their kids is a priority of our educational activities and therefore parents can use this application to read to their children,” Ms El-Sibai said.

The first set of talking-books are now available online and can be accessed through the ‘Bloom Reader’ application which is free to download from any android devices.

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