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ADEA/UNESCO Survey on Conditions of Teaching and Learning:  Study on the Context of Book Provision

Report prepared by:  Linda Crowl, Publications Fellow, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, FIJI (CROWL_L@USP.AC.FJ)

This survey covers book provision in thirteen countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.  Information has been adapted from a regional survey in progress (Crowl 1999a) and supplemented with interviews by telephone and in person (see references).

1.0 The book famine is serious in these thirteen countries.
 Although variable across the region, generally these countries do not have enough books for various reasons.  First, these populations have low levels of income, e.g., Kiribati's GDP per capita was A$ 651 in 1996.  Although Papua New Guinea's GDP per capita was K 3,555 in 1998, that figure does not reflect the vast disparity in income among its people.  (Figures from SPFS 1998.)  Low levels of income mean small tax bases for schools and libraries and limited financing for publishing ventures which often require years to see return on investment.  The countries lack credit facilities for such, particularly microfinancing.  Aid often favours expatriate authors, editors, illustrators, typesetters, printers and publishers.
 Second, although literacy is generally high in Polynesia -- 100% in Tokelau, 98.5% in Tonga, 95% in Tuvalu, over 90% in Cook Islands and Niue -- it is not in the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea (e.g., 45% [Paraide 1999a]), Solomon Islands (63% for 15-45 years [Kii 1999]), and Vanuatu (64% [SPFS 1998]).  Embarrassed by such low levels, some governments will not release statistics.  Denying the gravity of the problem does not help focus attention and resources to overcome it.  Low literacy rates mean fewer local writers.
 Third, population considerations exacerbate these conditions.  Comparing the countries in the region is difficult, e.g., Papua New Guinea has a population near 4.5 million (that is 1.5 times the size of New Zealand); Niue and Tokelau have populations of 2,100 and 1500.  Niue and Tokelau have negative growth rates because of high migration rates.  Niueans and Tokelauans in New Zealand far outnumber those on the islands themselves, and New Zealand has greater GDP per capita; given economies of scale, more resources for Niueans and Tokelauans are produced in New Zealand.  The Marshall Islands' annual growth rate is 4.2%, the Solomon Islands 3.4% (Populations figures from SPC 1998).
 Third, geography plays an enormous role.  With the exception of Papua New Guinea, the countries are small, even miniscule.  Nauru and Niue consist of one island each with 21km2 and 259km2 respectively.  They do not have strong resource bases.  No country produces its own paper, nevermind machinery to print books, or -- off the Richter Scale -- computers to write and layout books.  Their geographic isolation is another factor.  Communication within countries is onerous.  Kiribati has 33 islands totalling 719km2 across three time zones and two days.  Although much of Papua New Guinea is contiguous, the mountain ranges make aeroplanes the only means of transport to the interior.  Given the logistics of getting planes, petrol, qualified pilots and mechanics to the Pacific Islands in the first place, air freight rates are high.
 Fourth, politically, all these countries have been colonies, except Tonga which was a protectorate of Great Britain.  Independence came in 1962 for Samoa and followed for the other countries, except Tokelau, which remains a territory of New Zealand.  The Cook Islands and Niue remain politically associated with New Zealand, and the Marshall Islands remains so with the United States.  The long period of colonization and the continuing relationship with large metropolitan countries has meant, for these small island countries, foreign languages, foreign priorities in education, foreign agenda setting and the economic power to back it.  Obviously, colonialism brought peace, an end to cannibalism and other good things, but people are regaining a sense of their own worth after a long -- and somewhat continuing -- period of foreigners' calling the shots.

2.0 All the materials on this list are lacking in some ways in the Pacific Islands.

2.1-3. Textbooks, work books and teachers guides, though not always local productions, are generally available; however, variable from country to country and within countries.  Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, and Niue, a country politically associated with New Zealand, have enough English books but not enough books in Tokelauan or Niuean (Kalolo 1999, Magatogia 1999).  For English, Fiji has enough teachers' guides, but numbers of textbooks and work books for children vary.  Fiji does not have enough books in vernacular languages.  Of the two main ones, Fijian and Hindi, production of Fijian has always been favoured over Hindi because books could be imported from India inexpensively (Prasad 1999) though this ignores the fact that everyone speaks Fiji Baat.  Otherwise known as Fiji Hindi, this unique language is very different from standard Hindi and is the first language for almost every person of Indian descent in Fiji (Mugler & Lynch 1996).
 Most countries report that they do not have enough books, work books, and teachers' guides, particulary in vernacular languages.  Moreover, they report significant differences in provision of books to urban and non-urban areas, capital city islands and outer islands (e.g., Fonua 1999, Herrmann 1999).  Transportation difficulties within countries may exacerbate book provision, but as Prasad (1999) said, the proximity to power ensures that the urban areas are served first.  Photocopying material to resolve a book deficit is common practice (e.g., Falefaea 1999).
 Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, and Tonga have one vernacular language.  The Cook Islands has two -- Maori and Pukapukan -- as does Tuvalu -- Tuvaluan and Kiribati.  Fiji has four: Fijian, Hindi, Rotuman, and Chinese.  Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea have 64, 108, and 869 repectively (Andrews 1999, Kii 1999, Paraide 1999a).  For some of these languages, the only material is religious in nature.  PNG's curriculum has just been redesigned so that Preliminary, Elementary 1 and 2 (that is the first three years of school) must be taught in the vernacular language of that particular area.  Some of these languages do not yet have an orthography, so textbook provision poses extreme, if not impossible, difficulties in the near term (Paraide 1999a).
 Vanuatu is exceptional in that it was colonized by France and Great Britain.  Its present system of education reflects anglophone-francophone rivalry.  Although in policy children are taught in the official languages of English and French, in practice Bislama -- a pidgin and the national language -- is often used (Miles 1998).  There is little material available in vernaculars, and vernaculars are just being introduced into schools (Andrews 1999).
 Workbooks are generally less available as budget makers prioritize textbooks.  Teachers' guides receive more priority than workbooks.

2.4 Reading programs or schemes.  The Pacific Islands adhere to set curricula, and students must pass national examinations based on those curricula.  Ministries of Education do not encourage diversion from the curricula, and teachers who create extra work for themselves with such reading programs are few and far between.  Schoolchildren in Nauru order books from Australia, e.g., Arrow and Wombat Book Clubs, Lucky and Scholastic Books (Ah Mat & Willis 1999, Willis 1999).

2.5 Children's fiction (e.g., easy readers, stories, plays, anthologies), especially for very young children, is improving both in quantity and quality, despite significant and remaining hurdles.  The bulk of the material is in English for most of the countries, and in English and French in Vanuatu.  Books in vernaculars are less common, but still improving in quantity and quality.  Education departments, the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific, and religious groups such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) produce books in vernaculars.  SIL uses shell books, that is, pictures and the English story are provided, then groups create a, or translate the, story in their own languages.
 The quantity and quality of children's fiction in English and French reflects colonial education and realities of the modern world.  Educated in metropolitan languages, most people feel more comfortable writing in those languages, even if most of their verbal communication is in vernacular.  The markets for books in English and French are huge, and most people want to communicate with as many people as possible (Crowl 1999b).  Nevertheless, individuals enjoy writing in, and are dedicated to retaining, the vernacular.  The late Kauraka Kauraka wrote in Cook Islands Maori and English; when he could not find the appropriate word in Maori, and after much research, he would create new words based on Maori roots (Kauraka 1999).  This kind of language generation, rather than preservation, is necessary to keep languages alive.
 Fiction for children is growing particularly in Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga -- which reflects higher literacy rates, stronger ties to developed countries, higher levels of income.  Access to New Zealand, Australia, and the United States brings cross-fertilization of ideas, as well as joint ventures in publishing.  Networks that extend into Pacific Islands communities in developed economies have a market for books.  Moreover, Pacific Islands communities in metropolitan countries are anxious to have language material from their island of origination.
 Costs remain high, particulary for low-income countries.  Children's storybooks can cost from $ 2 to $ 20, depending on local or overseas production, use of illustration and colour.  Moreover, parents are far more likely to buy a television and a video cassette recorder for the family than books for their children.  Reading is seen as an individual activity, but television and videos are communal.  Furthermore, deciphering words on a page involves far more effort than watching action-packed coloured pictures.
 Greater than story books for young children is the need for fiction for older children.  So far, much of the emphasis in producing vernacular texts has been at a beginner level.  Once children have achieved basic literacy, they find almost no plays, novels, anthologies in their own languages.  Moreover, there are very few books at an appropriate reading level about their own people even in other languages.  The Institute of Pacific Studies and the South Pacific Creative Arts Society, both of which publish works of fiction, strive to keep language at a secondary level, and their books are used in schools.

2.6 Children's non-fiction is increasing in quantity and quality very slowly.  Ministries of Education are adapting adult work and designing children's work.  A key program in this regard is Science Education for Pacific Schools (SEPS), sponsored by UNESCO, and undertaken with the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific and Learning Media in New Zealand.  The Institute of Pacific Studies designs its books by local authors for a general readership.  For example, Masters and PhD theses that have excellent data on the Pacific Islands are stripped of academic and disciplinary jargon and made readable for a general audience, including secondary school students.  Full-colour, non-fiction books are by and large imported.

2.7 Audio tapes of educational value are rare in the Pacific Islands.  Everyone that I interviewed for this survey said that there were not enough.  Many schools in this region do not have power, nevermind equipment, so could not play tapes even if they were donated.

2.8 Video tapes that could be used in schools are few.  For private use, Pacific Islanders spend far more on video cassette recorders, televisions and video tapes than they do on books, as noted above.  It is not uncommon to find families who have invested in a small generator and show video tapes to the village or community for a small charge per person.  Willis (1999) noted that video shops are Nauru's most successful business.  However, just as with audio tapes, power and equipment shortages must be addressed before video tapes are useful in schools.

2.9 Multi-media learning packages and science kits are available for some schools, but not for others.  Fiji has placed science kits in 500 elementary schools, with plans for the remaining 198 schools in the next two years (Prasad 1999).  Interviewees in other countries said that there were not nearly enough multi-media or science packages, with significant differences between schools and urban versus rural areas.

2.10 Reference books are given far less priority than teachers' guides, textbooks and workbooks, thus the shortage in schools is significant and serious.  Those schools with libraries have some reference books (though often out of date and sometimes wrong), but not all schools have libraries.  The majority of schools in Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Niue have libraries.  Some schools in Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu have libraries.  The vast majority of schools in Papua New Guinea do not have libraries. (See Crowl 1999a for a country breakdown).

2.11 Magazines are more available than comics.  Both are available in urban areas but rare in rural ones.  Although magazines are expensive (e.g., F$ 2.50 for Islands Business [locally produced] and F$ 4.75 for Woman's Day [imported] in Fiji), they are more likely to be purchased than extra story books for children.

2.12 Posters and wall charts are donated by international and regional organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and national governments to promote good eating habits, hygiene and, increasingly, safe sex.  Maps are donated by regional organizations, such as the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, and national governments.  All interviewees for this survey said there were not nearly enough of these visual aids, with marked differences between urban and rural areas, capital and outer islands.

3.0 Of the thirteen countries in this survey, only Papua New Guinea has book policy.  Papua New Guinea has a National Policy on Information and Communication (NPIC), a Book Council, a National Book Week and a National Literacy Week.  The NPIC supports domestic copyright law, professionalism and staff development, infrastructure development, and appropriate distribution.  The Book Council brings together people from all areas of publishing, from writing through shop owners.  Book Week is held every August, Literacy Week every September, and activities are promoted throughout the country (Paraide 1999a).  Papua New Guinea faces more challenges in book provision than the rest of these countries combined.  Its languages double the rest combined.  Its literacy rate is half of some of them.  Some communities are inaccessible except by small aeroplane or bushwalking for days, and either method does not allow for many books to be transported.  Nevertheless, Papua New Guinea is the only country of these thirteen to adopt these positive measures to ameliorate the reading environment.
 At the Biennial Meeting of the Directors of Education and the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in November 1998, the representatives of these thirteen countries undertook to promote book policies and councils when they returned home.  The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, and Tonga have copyright provisions.  Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, and Vanuatu do not.  Interviewees were not sure whether Tuvalu has.

4.0 Papua New Guinea has set an example for similar developments in the other twelve countries.  Highlighting the importance of literacy, focusing national attention on reading, giving prestige to book development is essential to education in general.  Papua New Guinea's National Policy on Information and Communication strives to develop a distribution system for the country, a national clearing house for nationally published books, publicity for government books, support for all aspects of the book chain, a subsidy on air freight to publishers and printers (because the rugged country is heavily dependent on aeroplanes for communication and transportation), and strategies for cooperation.  Its Book Week and Literacy Week promote writing competitions, book sales, and public readings -- all of which celebrate the producers and the audiences.
 The Book Council of Papua New Guinea includes 16 Board members.  Four are appointative: the National Librarian and a representative each from the Minister for Education, the Minister for Trade and Industry, and the National Cultural Council.  Ten are elected from and by the voting membership of the Council and as far as possible currently active representatives of the following classes: published national author, published national illustrator, printer, publisher, bookseller, member of the Papua New Guinea Library Association, book wholesaler or distributor, journalist, member of the Churches Media Council, teacher.  Thus the Council involves someone from almost every aspect of the book chain.  The Book Council has had limited success so far due to funding; nevertheless, the network exists.  When funding does come, there will not be an organizational scramble.
 Other countries can learn from these examples.  First, identifying the resources that they have, as the Directors of Education did for a book provision survey (Crowl 1999a), is a positive step, for they realize that better, greater book production is within reach.  Second, establishing national policy would be a second positive step, for it would make governments focus on each aspect of creating a reading environment and it would assure people involved in various aspects of book production that their government supports them.  Third, bringing these resources together in a book council creates a critical mass wherein people learn from each other's experience and put their learning to work to improve their own performance and product.  Fourth, creating events -- such as National Book or Literacy Week -- to which the public looks forward and in which the public participates, not only generates enthusiasm for reading but also germinates the idea of book provision as a viable and pleasant way to make a living.
 Various publishers have formed a nascent Pacific Islands Book Development Council, which is really more of a network at this point.  Its mission is the quantitative and qualitative improvement in indigenous publishing, promotion and provision of books in the Pacific Islands.  It aims to provide a forum on regional publishing issues, to be an avenue for improved distribution, to be a source of information, advice and policy direction on book issues, to liaise with other organizations concerned with communication and information.  The PIBDC has held several meetings sponsored by the South Pacific Trade Commission in Sydney and in conjunction with the Australian Book Fair.  Other events have been publishing workshops in Papua New Guinea, participation in book fairs in Samoa and Frankfurt, representation to UNESCO in Paris and to book organizations in the United Kingdom.  The main contacts are Dr John Evans, University of Papua New Guinea Press, and Linda Crowl, Institute of Pacific Studies.

5.0 Effective structure for book policy implementation has evolved at the Institute of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific.  IPS was founded to promote the research and writing of Pacific Islanders.  For these goals to succeed, IPS had to have a publishing outlet.  In 1976 most publishing houses looked down on Pacific Islanders' material and certainly were not willing to invest the resources into bring Pacific Islanders' writing up to publishable quality.  IPS took on these tasks and became a publishing house in its own right.
 The government of Nauru donated $ 5,000 to IPS for publications.  Rather than give the printed books away, then Director Ron Crocombe decided IPS would sell the books and use the profits to finance the publication of yet more books.  IPS continues to operate on this premise.  We have a small markup to sustain the publishing fund, and the publishing fund is a separate account.  Thus we can always begin new book projects.  We are not dependent on aid, thought we keep an eye out for grants as we go, and apply them directly to the book involved, thereby bringing down the sale price to Pacific Islanders.
 The IPS policy and structure are mutually supportive.  IPS always puts the work of Pacific Islanders first.  IPS is an independent, small, dynamic, flexible organization so it can run with any new project without excessive bureaucracy.  IPS staff continue to do their own research while facilitating the work of others.  This interaction of scholarship and new writers brings out the best in both sides.  IPS employs non-staff with expertise to undertake certain projects, thereby spreading jobs out to the region, bringing fresh perspectives into IPS and continually fostering a learning environment.
 Many IPS projects -- consultancy, research, teaching, workshops (whether art or writing) -- are turned into books.  Therefore, they have enormous spinoff effects of educating not just the people involved but book buyers and library users.  They also increase the profile of Pacific Islanders, thereby overcoming the stigmatisms of developing countries.
 For marketing, all staff, no matter where they go on consultancy, research, teaching, workshops and even holidays carry with them IPS catalogues to distribute and books to sell.  In their travels, IPS authors help sell IPS books.  IPS promotes books for education, donating one tenth of every run to regional institutions and offering discounts to schools.
 I advocate such independent, small, dynamic and flexible organizations.

6.0 Steps to improve access to books in developing books are many.

6.1 Governments should prioritize schools and libraries, spreading the benefits as far as and as equitably as possible.  For instance, the three main libraries in the Cook Islands are within 200 metres of each other on the capital island!  Concentration of all the resources in the capital leads to greater migration to the capital.  Education in the South Pacific has been heavily focused on agriculture; it should now turn to information.  There is no reason why writing and the various aspects of publishing cannot be incorporated into curricula from the first year of school.  For example, students' papers can be collected and stapled together and kept, as a `book' for the next years' students.  Likewise, schools should teach aspects of small business.  Publishing can be a cottage industry.
 They should lower customs duties on books, paper, ink, film, photographic equipment, plates, and machinery.  They should provide easier credit with longer terms for repayment to reflect the true nature of publishing.  Sometimes it takes publishing houses ten years to build up a big enough backlist to finance current production.  Often newspaper publishers are book publishers; just as often they have adversarial relationships with governments.  Media clampdowns on newspapers -- either with gag orders or by artificially high customs duties -- can affect book publishers.
 Governments should boost the profile of reading and books by devising national book policy; creating a national book council; hosting a national literacy week or a national book week; giving prizes for writing, illustrating, designing, producing, even advertising books.
 They should use local services and buy local books.  They should foster private business by contracting out government work to citizens and residents.  They should train widely, spreading the benefits of education as widely as possible.

6.2 The private sector should support local industry by contributing to and buying local books.  It should use libraries and establish volunteer schemes to staff them.  Businesses should sponsor book/literacy week or parts thereof.  For example, such companies as Chevron give annually to Papua New Guinea's National Book Week.  Stores should promote books as gifts, something which people will enjoy in their free time.

6.3 Funding agencies should ensure Pacific Islanders' participation.  All too often, funding agencies use expatriate staff on tight deadlines to produce materials "for the people."  If no skills are passed on, then the agencies' funds are wasted.  Books can have spinoff effects, but books produced by local people for local people have greater spinoff effects.  People buy newspapers because they tell about events close to home, as well as those far away.  By and large, newspapers are produced by local staff and are successful.  Book projects are successful if they use similar techniques: reporting local events and local people, using many relevant pictures, being priced at a minimum.
 Funding agencies should support small, private local firms and spread their benefits as widely as possible without losing the critical mass.  Giving equipment to one organization or training one person puts the eggs all in one basket.  In the case of the former, if the organization does not have the right personnel, the equipment is wasted and usually falls quickly into disrepair.  For the latter, one highly trained person is more likely to migrate overseas.
 Funding agencies should help develop distribution networks, including ones overseas.  That means training people in business and salesmanship, not just in writing.

7.0 The Pacific Islands have not yet moved from central procurement of school books to more choice at school and/or district level.  With the exception of Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands have small populations.  Even in Papua New Guinea, the topography renders some communities quite small.  Within small societies, maintaining standards is difficult.  Therefore, the system of national examinations makes sense.  However, the national examinations should test skills in reading and writing, not related to any specific books.
 Within the Pacific Islands, many teachers are still very much in training.  Because many are unsure of themselves, they feel more comfortable with a set curriculum.  This will change over time, as the teaching pool increases and as teachers gain ease with a greater range of reading material themselves.
 Opening up the selection allows for more creativity and greater learning on the part of teachers and students.  Ministries of Education might prescribe a range of books that would be suitable to study for national examinations.  Obviously, the Pacific Islands have quite young educational systems, budgets are tight, and some guidance is needed.  Even such a small step as this would cause some expense, which some Pacific Islands governments can ill afford.

8.0 All aspects of the book chain need attention in the Pacific Islands.

8.1 Workshops to train authors have been held in all thirteen countries.  More emphasis should be placed on creative writing and research writing in schools, when children are young.  Writing only gets harder with age.  Training authors in author-publisher relations is essential.

8.2 Workshops to train editors have been held in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.  Many more workshops are needed in this essential field.  Moreover, students should be taught to critique and to correct each other's work in school.  On one hand, Pacific Islanders are often reluctant to comment on each other's writing.  On the other, they are often harsh if they think that another author has tread on their territory.  Hiding knowledge is traditional.  Training publishers about author rights and accepted practice in publishing is essential.

8.3 Pacific Islanders are so concerned with presentation, that they will often ask for lessons in writing and proofreading to put out a quality publication.  Overseas consultants and academics are often more worried about their resumes than actually putting books into people's hands.  In both cases, little attention has been focused on distribution, yet this is the most pressing need.  Showing people how and where to market books is essential.  The churches are the biggest publishers with the greatest distribution networks; other publishers can learn from their techniques.

8.4 Pacific Islands budgets do not allow for many new materials, nevermind training teachers to use them.

8.5 A national publishing industry per se does not exist in the Pacific Islands countries.  Governments have often assumed the lead role; they are often inefficient and they sometimes inhibit media freedom.  They exempt themselves from Customs charges and facilitate their own ventures but force private businesses and even non-profit organizations to pay crippling charges or interest.  As the countries are still developing, there is not much coordination in the industry.

8.6 The Pacific Islands have not developed national printing industries.  Point 8.5 is applicable to this section.

8.7 The Pacific Islands have not developed a country-wide network of booksellers.  Generally, booksellers cannot survive on books alone; they must combine books with stationery, with academia, with clothing, with government supply contracts, with food, with craft, etc.  The reading public with disposable income is not large enough to support the overheads of the book business, especially in tropical climates where books deteriorate rapidly and given the transportation difficulties where damage occurs often.

8.8 The Pacific Islands generally have established networks of public and school libraries.  Some have national libraries, national archives, mobile book services, and are answerable to the National Librarian (Crowl 1999a).  They need to shore up these facilities and services, purchasing local productions, encouraging volunteer schemes, establishing story hours for children, etc.  The Pacific Islands Association for Libraries and Archives is an umbrella organization that encourages professionalism in this sector.

8.9 Other initiatives abound.  Train illustrators for books to entice children to read.  Train typesetters and layout and cover designers to facilitate the information being presented and to attract adult readers.  Train people in business skills and running cottage industries and small firms.  Train everyone how to handle and care for books.

9.0 Several schemes for financing school books have implications for the South Pacific.
 Each year the World Bank asks booksellers to bid to fill its school projects.  In order for the booksellers to know the bids, they have to pay for a bid book, which costs US$ 495.00 (Mwasfy 1998).  Very few firms in the developing world can afford this enormous sum on the off-chance that they will receive the bid.  I'm sure the World Bank's policy was contrived with the best intentions: to use Third World books in the Third World.  However, the reality is that between the Third World publishers and the Third World students are First World booksellers getting the profit of sales.  I humbly suggest that this scheme be changed to give Third World booksellers a level playing field.
 In the past the government of Papua New Guinea made kina-for-kina (the national currency) matching grants for schools that raised funds to purchase library books.  Success has been variable between schools and never great.  For instance, the average of K 130 does not buy many books (Paraide 1999a).  However, the books then belong to the schools and communities who raised the money, and those schools and communities take enormous pride in having worked for their books.
 Writing projects funded by agencies could include a component for buying finished books from local publishers and distributing them to schools.

10.0 Provision of free school books is necessary in some instances where communities are just too poor to consider education for their children.  However, many book donations are worthless.  With the idea that some reading material is better than none, developed countries ship containers of out-of-date and inappropriate materials to the Pacific Islands.  Often these sit in Customs warehouses for lack of clearance papers, or because ministries of education do not want them in the first place.  Disposal of waste on tiny islands is a huge problem.  For the countries concerned in this survey, often it would be far better to put US$ 1,000 into employing an Islander to write a story or to print a small run than to spend that same amount shipping a container of unusable books across the ocean.
 Where communities do have some discretionary income, they should be involved in financing teaching and learning materials.  Churches in the Pacific Islands have been enormously successful, even among very poor people.  Sometimes they ask for payment, sometimes just donations for their publications.  Although faith is more basic than education, governments can learn from religious participation schemes.

11.0 Reading material in local languages can be fostered by keeping students' writing for the next years' students, by giving prizes for local language writing and publishing, by publishing even small editions of local writing, by relying on local publishers (who will include local words even in English or French publications).

12.0 Strategies for a more favourable reading culture include mandatory education through high school, a book policy and a book council, financial support for the publishing industry and libraries as well as schools, prescription of local books in schools, financing of buying rights so local companies can publish to meet school needs, encouragement of extracurricular reading schemes.

Ah Mat, K, and Ruby Willis. 1999. In Crowl 1999a.

Andrews, George. 1999. Vanuatu. In Crowl 1999a.

Crowl, Linda, ed. 1999a. forthcoming. Book Provision within the Pacific Islands. Apia: UNESCO Office for the Pacific States and Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific.

Crowl, Linda. 1999b. Literature in the Pacific Islands: tending our tiny garden. The ACP-EU Courier. 174:75-77. March-April.  Also in French.

Falefaea, Eseta. 1999. Interview with First Secretary at the Tuvalu High Commission. 14 July.

Fonua, Mary. 1999. Phone conversation with the manager/owner of Vava`u Press, Tonga. 16 July.

Herrmann, John. 1999. Phone conversation with the USP Centre Director, Cook Islands. 16 July.

Kalolo, Kelihiano. 1999. Phone conversation with the Director of Education, Tokelau. 16 July.

Kauraka, Kauraka. 1999. Taku Akatauira/ My Dawning Star. Suva: Mana Publications.

Kii, Lucien. 1999. Solomon Islands. In Crowl 1999a.

Magatogia, Kupa. 1999. Phone conversation with the Director of Education, Niue. 16 July.

Miles, William F.S. 1998. Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm: Identity and Development in Vanuatu. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press.

Mugler, France, and John Lynch. 1996. Language and Education in the Pacific.  In Pacific Languages in Education. Mugler, France, and John Lynch, eds. Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies and Department of Literature and Language, and Port Vila: Pacific Languages Unit.

Mwasfy, Mona. 1998. Email communication from the Information Officer, OCS Advisory Service, World Bank. 22 December.

Paraide, Daniel. 1999a. Papua New Guinea. In Crowl 1999a.

Paraide, Daniel. 1999b. Phone conversation with the Librarian, National Library of Papua New Guinea. 16 July.

Prasad, Jagdish. 1999. Phone conversation with the Principal Education Officer/Primary, Fiji. 16 July.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). 1998. Pacific Islands Populations. Report prepared by the SPC for the International Conference on Population and Development, 5-13 September 1994, Cairo. Revised edition. Noumea: Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

South Pacific Forum Secretariat (SPFS). 1998. South Pacific Trade Directory/ Annuaire Commercial du Pacifique Sud 1998/99. Suva: South Pacific Forum Secretariat.

Willis, Ruby. 1999. Phone conversation with the , Nauru. 16 July.


Report prepared by:
Linda Crowl
Publications Fellow
Institute of Pacific Studies
University of the South Pacific
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