The Kopkop College Curriculum is organized into five learning areas: Culture and Community, Language, Mathematics, Personal Development and Science.
1.Culture and Community
This learning area includes subjects deeply associated with the many cultures, community life, traditions, and cultural practices of Papua New Guinea. This learning area makes a vital contribution to Integral Human Development, covering many aspects of cultural, social, physical, aesthetic, sensual, emotional and intellectual development.
Language plays a central role in human life. This learning area is fundamental to thinking, learning, and communication in all cultures. Our nation is rich in language. Its many cultures are sustained through the many languages that are used to communicate in our day-to-day lives. Our languages and cultures are so diverse that most people in our nation are multilingual. Most take it for granted that more than one language is essential to participate in our complex society. Our vernacular languages must be sustained from an early age so that our many cultures, traditions, and social practices will continue to enrich our lives and also ensure access to our past is not denied.
Language is the most universal means of communication, sharing, developing and maintaining our cultures. The skilled use of language is associated with many opportunities in life, including further education, work, and living together. Language is dynamic and evolving. It is also systematic and governed by rules. The effective use of language enables students to access and create knowledge and play a more active part in society.
As students understand and use languages more fully, they are able to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of language in all its forms from reading and writing, to literature, debate, and storytelling. Literacy is the ability to use language to operate successfully within one’s society.
Today our country’s citizens face diverse demands on their language skills. Changes in the nature of work, our social life and the development of new technologies have produced an increase of new and different forms of communication. Students need high levels of literacy to meet these challenges. Our country needs to ensure that all have the opportunity to be literate in the English language and as well our vernacular languages. This learning area has a special role in developing students’ functional and critical literacy. It focuses on knowledge about language and how it works.
Functional literacy involves the ability to control and understand the conventions of language that are valued and rewarded by society. All students need to develop the ability to use these conventions and understand their importance. These conventions include rules of writing ranging from handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar through to the more complex conventions of form, genre and register.
These conventions also include oral language rules associated with different purposes, contexts, and audiences. There are also conventions associated with the presentation of information, ideas, and entertainment in the mass media and new information technologies, and conventions associated with literary texts of all kinds.
To develop critical literacy, students will learn how language responds to and reflects changing social conditions, and how language usage is firmly connected with our values, beliefs, and ways of thinking about the world we inhabit and about ourselves. Critical literacy also involves an appreciation of and sensitivity to socio-cultural diversity and an understanding that the meaning of any form of communication depends on context, purpose, and audience.
Students arrive at school already equipped with a broad range of language knowledge, and skills. All will speak a language. Many will speak and understand more than one language. Many, however, will not yet read and write in their vernaculars or lingua francas. Recognizing, accepting, valuing, and building on students’ existing language competence, and extending the range of languages available to students is an important challenge for teachers. At school, students will learn how to use languages more effectively through studying a range of texts.
Texts will range from brief conversations to lengthy and complex forms of writing. Students will learn how to create effective texts of their own and to engage with texts produced by other people. Students can be encouraged to develop library skills in this subject as well as in all other subjects.
Students need to develop functional and critical literacy skills. They will learn to control and understand the language conventions that are valued and rewarded by society. They will reflect on and critically analyse their own use of language and the language use of others. A person who is literate in one situation may not have the skills needed in another. Students need an understanding and a command of language, which enables them to adapt to new demands and new situations.
The Mathematics learning area has a major responsibility for the development of students’ numeracy. Through the study of mathematics, students will learn to read, write, and speak mathematics in a variety of contexts and forms. They can interpret and convey mathematical ideas, interpret texts containing mathematical forms, and continue to use and learn mathematics. Every student needs to develop an awareness of the nature of mathematics, how it is created, used, and communicated, for what purposes, and how it influences and is influenced by what we believe and in the values we hold.
New technologies have changed the level of complexity of mathematical problems encountered today as well as the methods that mathematicians use to investigate them. When students have opportunities to use technology, their growing curiosity can lead to richer mathematical invention. The availability of calculators, however, does not eliminate the need for students to learn basic number facts and algorithms.
Mathematics influences the way we live and what we value. Mathematics is developed by people of all cultures in response to practical, aesthetic, and spiritual needs. It is influenced by and it influences our culture and the way we live such as the complex patterns that are used in making bilums and mats.
Some of the counting systems used in parts of Papua New Guinea are unique and have been developed to meet our everyday needs. Mathematics regulates our lives:
- at home we turn on the radio when the clock says 00 o’clock because this is when the news broadcast is on;
- in many sports we are guided by lines formed into various shapes; and
- public statistics may be used to legitimize decisions made by our
The knowledge, skills, and understanding associated with this learning area have always been important to society, particularly in everyday life and are increasingly important in the 21st Century. Students require the ability to use mathematics to reason and communicate, to solve everyday problems, and to conduct day-to-day dealings. Through the study of mathematics, students will explore ways of solving problems using mathematical skills and processes. They will use quantitative and spatial information in problem solving and decision making. As students learn to enjoy and value Mathematics, they grow more confident and motivated to think analytically, and to understand and appreciate the role of mathematics in everyday life.
Mathematics is a way of communicating ideas. It helps students to make important connections among physical, pictorial, graphic, symbolic, verbal, descriptive, and mental representations of mathematical ideas. The use of mathematics is very important in all other learning areas.
4. Personal Development
This learning area contains the subjects: Health, Physical Education and Personal Development and aspects of Guidance, Religious Education and Civics. This learning area will enable students to make informed decisions about their lifestyles, including the values of the family, culture, and religion to which they belong.
This learning area promotes a common set of values widely shared by Papua New Guinean communities and upon which personal values are built. This learning area assists students to understand how and why it is important to be physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, morally, and culturally healthy.
Personal Development acknowledges the traditional taboos in some societies concerning the discussion of spirituality, intimate relationships, sexuality, and other sensitive topics. Some societies have taboos prohibiting the exposure of young people to information about family planning, reproductive health, STI/AIDS, and related topics, especially those that are not normally discussed openly.
This learning area will help students respect these taboos. Students, however, will be given information that is essential to safe living in modern Papua New Guinea.
Through studying Personal Development, students will learn to:
- appreciate and value other people’s cultures even though they present them differently. Customs and traditions affect both the expectations and reactions of people;
- understand that there are a variety of cultural presentations, but they all have a common meaning such as births, adulthood, and death;
- make informed decisions about behaviour founded on both knowledge and values they hold to be This knowledge and values form the basis of beliefs, attitudes, and other moral and ethical living;
- express pride in their cultural The pride in identity of their culture and heritage needs to be recognised, maintained, and encouraged; and
- understand, value and participate in traditional and introduced physical activities that will help them to live fulfilling and healthy lives in their communities.
The Constitution grants us rights, freedoms, and responsibilities and it protects them. The laws we follow affect the way we live in our societies. Sometimes rules control the behaviour, social life, and the decisions that a person makes in life. Papua New Guinea is a diverse society with many different ways of life, languages, traditions, and relationships with other members of our society. Our Constitution also states that everyone should be treated equally and fairly regardless of race, place of origin, belief, religion, and sex. Personal Development will give all students the opportunity to know how to interact with one another, develop physically, mentally, and socially to their fullest potential in order to live productively in our societies. All individuals have the right to receive information, which will enable them to make informed decisions about their future.
Schools should encourage the community members to be involved in teaching Personal Development and should incorporate Personal Development programs into community programs. To bring about change in the social and health status of our multicultural society, it is paramount that Personal Development programs take into account the needs and values of the community of which the school is a part. The role of the school is, and must continue to be complementary to the efforts made by families, communities and cultural groups. School organizational structures, relationships, and programs all reinforce values. Teachers communicate values through subject content, methods and the role modeling effect they have on students.
The learning area of Science involves ways of exploring, knowing, and understanding the underlying principles that shape our world. Science education assists students to make informed and responsible decisions about their lifestyles, environment, and the kind of societies in which they choose to live. It does this by encouraging the use of evidence in decision making, a questioning attitude, and an ability to look at the relationships between the information needed to solve the problems that confront people daily. Science offers a system of thinking to solve problems.
The knowledge and intellectual resources of Papua New Guinea, developed here over thousands of years, are in danger of being lost as young people lose contact with their traditions and heritage. Science education has a role in encouraging students to learn about this rich source of knowledge. It has an instrumental role in helping learners to better understand their own cultures, and those of others.
Science is best understood when it is related to real-life situations. It is important to present science to students with an emphasis on Papua New Guinea settings as well as local contexts and issues.
Teaching in a local context allows students to be aware of how science influences their everyday life, how it can inform personal, community, and government decisions. The skills developed through a study of science will prepare students for continuing studies or entry into the work force or the community. Papua New Guinea’s economy, like other international economies, is becoming increasingly reliant on scientific, technological developments, and a skilled work force in these areas. A practical, student centered science education encourages curiosity and a spirit of inquiry that is valuable in a country undergoing social and technological change.
Through learning science in schools, students will become aware of some of the natural laws that explain the world around us. They will learn to gather evidence according to methods developed in science such as hypothesizing, experimenting, observing, recording, interpreting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. The nature of science provides students with many opportunities to solve problems using recognized scientific thinking skills.