Extending Literacy: Addressing the Needs of Marginalised Groups in Papua New Guinea and Australia

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This article was originally published as:

Potter, D. (2014). Extending literacy: Addressing the needs of marginalised groups in Papua New Guinea and Australia. PNG Journal of Literacy, 1(1), 1-14.

ISSN: 2313-2507


130101 Continuing and Community Education| 130103 Higher Education| 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)

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This paper looks at conceptions of literacy and a range of expectations about what literacy should deliver. While being literate is empowering, lacking literacy holds people back and prevents them from achieving their full potential. Literacy involves far more than simply being able to read and write at a certain level of competency. Literacy is a dynamic concept that enables participants to interact with texts as they construct knowledge and fulfil both personal and larger objectives. It is a transformative and iterative process that involves reconstructing personal identities and re-visioning the future. The challenge for PNG is to extend literacy to all in a country where close to half the adult population is lacking. In Australia, the challenge is to make higher education more accessible for less privileged groups. At Avondale College of Higher Education, an attempt is made to redress some of the existing inequity through its alternative entry pathway program, the Diploma of General Studies (DGS), a program that has operated in one form or another since 1991. My research is showing that DGS students reconstruct their personal identity as they create for themselves an academic identity. In the process, they demonstrate high levels of academic literacy.


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