QUT – Jane Awi on UNESCO International Arts Education Week 2012
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QUT – Jane Awi on UNESCO International Arts Education Week 2012

I have been teaching at a university that
is called the University of Garoka, in Papua New Guinea, that trains teachers for the country
that is Papua New Guinea, and the south pacific region, and I teach literature. Arts, Design and Creative Education is very
important for developing countries, because it contributes to education, to economic enterprise,
and also to the creative industry in the country as a whole.  Also it is a form of empowerment,
and it contributes to the communication and the awareness of social developmental  issues
in the country. It creates employment opportunities as well for those students or individuals
who can’t make it in the formal academic mainstream. Mostly in developing countries the education
is focused primarily on the mainstream academic, which is science and maths  and economics
and so forth, and very little attention is paid to the the group of children or students
who are very good with arts and their creativity.  Its overlooked and its not developed further,
and I feel that if design arts and creative education is strongly reinforced and embraced
it can create this opportunity where potentials and abilities of children and students can
be realised, and that can give them an opportunity to empower them in their own society. In the last three years I have been participating
in an international research project that is called Life Drama, and that was initiated
by the Queensland University of Technology in collaboration with universities and industry
partners in papua New Guinea.   The focus of Life Drama was on sexual health,
and it was to disseminate sexual health messages especially HIV and Aids content to the communities.  
Papua New Guinea is a cultural society, and so topic relating to sex and sexual health
are very taboo and restricted in public arenas, and Life Drama was able to penetrate through
the society to deliver sexual health messages to the communities, and it was very successful,
through drama techniques. And I realised that young people in the communities
who were never given an opportunity to articulate their concerns and points were begin taken
care of and addressed, so that was really good. My wish would be to introduce design, arts
and creative education to all the education institutions in Papua New Guinea.
As an educator and a researcher, and also a community activist, I believe that I will
strongly implement the design arts and creative education in Papua New Guinea, especially
from the community level to the national level.

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