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Roy Ben: Lifting Up Literacy in the Pacific

Posted in Alumni Profiles

Introducing our newly appointed Alumni Committee members.

Roy Ben is an Australia Awards alumnus who graduated with a Master of Education in 2014 from the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala campus in Fiji. As an education advocate, his current role as program manager for the Peace Corps literacy project, Leftemap Litrisi, augments the literacy programming that already exists within the nation. Supporting the development of resources and capacity building of teachers and communities. Roy provides support, and is the liaison, between the schools that Peace Corps volunteers will be working in. Roy works with the Provincial Education office, the Ministry of Education and the PC Programming and Training Team to ensure that volunteers get all the technical support they need.

As an Australia Awards recipient, Roy was drawn to complete his Master degree as the course provided a critical view of educational pedagogies within the Pacific context. ‘The Master degree was particularly relevant to the approaches taken towards the education system here in Vanuatu, as a nation within the Pacific. By using informed theories, we are able to directly apply this knowledge and trust it will continue to enhance our current approaches‘ Roy explains.

Roy believes knowledge is power, with this being one of the main incentives for him to complete his post-graduate studies. Roy further explains ‘I now have a broader scope of understanding that I can utilise effectively’, providing a solid foundation from which to contribute to decisions that will impact the future of education in Vanuatu. Whilst ensuring improved quality education remains at the forefront of the project’s goals and objectives, and aligns with the frameworks implemented by the Ministry of Education, Leftemap Litrisi involves enhancing the capacity of teachers in literacy teaching practices. Leftemap Litrisi specifically focuses upon using inclusive approaches within the classroom, developing students’ foundational literacy skills, providing further access of teaching and learning materials for teachers and students alike, and engaging with families and the wider community to better support students’ access to learning.

Roy envisions the landscape for education here in Vanuatu to continue developing in a way that allows students to harness the English language beyond the recognition of words, referred to as phonological and orthographic processing, and allows students to grasp the meaning and context for a deeper knowledge and understanding. Providing improved quality education for the future generations within Vanuatu to enhance the nation as a whole is a key objective of Roy’s work.