I’ve spoken about the Nabanga Pikinini books before. The stories in the Nabanga Pikinini books have been carefully chosen and simply written for young children as well as for use in schools. Nabanga Pikinini aims to popularise Vanuatu’s custom stories and to encourage children to read, helping to improve the low literacy rate in Vanuatu.
The books are printed in the languages that are most commonly taught in Vanuatu schools; English, French and Bislama. Recently the books were translated into Japanese, for sale in Japan; such are the stories wide appeal.
In the spirit of ensuring quality education is developed in Vanuatu, the Nabanga Pikinini Trust contribute to a range of teachers’ scholarships at the Vanuatu Institute of Teachers Education in Port Vila. The Trust uses funds from sales of these books, primarily to tourists, to fund scholarships.
Students can apply for the scholarships, and grants are chosen by:
- academic excellence
- command of language and
- ability to pay fees – who pays the fees – single parent and how the fees are covered e.g. market gardening. Readers from rural backgrounds might identify with this, farmers selling their produce to pay for tuition; albeit in Vanuatu, on a smaller scale.
Interestingly, a 3rd year student is only given their leavers Teaching Certificate once all fees are covered. Many students attend college when they can afford to, and then go home (often to islands far away) to work and collect fees to attend for another semester or year. Thus their studies can take years before they complete the 3 year diploma course.
The past 15 months have seen a marked downturn in the number of visitors to the shores of Vanuatu. Firstly due to Cyclone Pam and lately a number of airlines ceased flights into Vanuatu. Less tourists = less sales of these books.
The Trust would ordinarily contribute $170 per 2nd year students and $215 per 3rd year student. However, the Trust’s funds are considerably lower than usual. The impact of this will be that those teachers who already struggle to pay their fees, may not complete their studies.
$20 each, plus $5 postage. All funds donated to the scholarship fund.