THE PAPUA New Guinea government has launched an adult literacy campaign as part of its sustainable development strategy.

The campaign was launched in September by education minister Nick Kuman who assured civil society organisations (CSOs) that “the government has heard your voice”.

The education minister said today’s adult literacy programs included children as young as four learning alongside their parent, as well as an increasing number of teens.

“To be illiterate is like being in a prison,” National Capital District literacy student Maria said.

“You cannot fill out a bank deposit slip, read medicine labels, help your children with their school work or communicate effectively.’’

Mr Kuman said the campaign would work with support from CSOs to develop a collaborative approach to improve literacy for all Papua New Guineans.

“Literacy programs in PNG have been in existence since pre-colonial days and continue to play a crucial role in community development, transformation of lives, promoting social inclusion and contributing to a literate population,” the government said in a statement.

“In light of rapid population growth and the high number of children being pushed out of the formal education system, the bulk of the population who are unable to access some form of learning are absorbed by adult literacy programs.”