Teaching English in Papua New Guinea

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How to Begin Teaching in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with over 800 languages spoken and a wide variety of ethnicities and religions, but it is also one of the least explored.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with over 800 languages spoken and a wide variety of ethnicities and religions, but it is also one of the least explored. Papua New Guinea – also commonly referred to as PNG – is a very traditional country and cultural life and practices are very important here. This is not a country where you will find a big ex-pat community or your favourite creature comforts, but it is where you will be able to enjoy a truly authentic experience.
Situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, on several tectonic plates, Papua New Guinea is accustomed to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which has resulted in dramatic landscapes. The country is characterised by mountain ranges and dense rainforests, and a lot of the country is actually inaccessible. Tourism is a growing industry here and it’s possible to find tour companies that can take you where few people have been before.

You can also enjoy the magnificent scenery through a wide array of adventurous activities. Outdoor adventures are around every corner: surfing, trekking the rainforests, fishing, kayaking or diving. Or, if you’re more interested in experiencing the local cultures, Papua New Guinea has many cultural festivals and holidays for you to experience. If you’re lucky you’ll see a traditional SingSing – a colourful gathering of the tribes.

5% of the world’s biodiversity is to be found in Papua New Guinea, despite occupying 1% of the land on earth. The wildlife and plant life come from two places, these being Gondwana to the south and Asia to the west. There are up to 20,000 plants in fact. The country is particularly renowned for possessing a diverse collection of orchid species that come to 3,000.

A unique animal can be found in Papua New Guinea, the only known poisonous bird in the country. This creature is called the hooded pitohui that comes from the New Guinea island. It is a medium-sized bird that is chestnut and black coloured. A prosperous agricultural economy can be found in the matrilineal province, this is the primary source of livelihoods in the region. However, the land of this region has been the focus of developers in recent times. Sea-bed mining has led to the depletion of natural resources. This hampers communities ability to self-sustain and is especially harmful to women, primarily employed in the agriculture sector.

 

Teaching Opportunities

The TEFL industry is not big in Papua New Guinea, but more and more opportunities are opening up. English is the official language of government but Tok Pisin is more widely spoken. Tok Pisin is the lingua franca that developed from English, German and French in order to allow communication between the many different languages spoken in PNG. English is a subject in primary schools but the language of instruction for high schools.

There are no language schools here so you will need to find a position at a local school. In the capital, Port Moresby, there are private non-profit schools for local and ex-pat children. If you are a qualified teacher, it’s possible to get a position here. These positions are highly sought after as they generally include accommodation and a living allowance on top of your salary. Unfortunately, salaries are not very high and living in PNG is surprisingly expensive, especially accommodation. Crime can also be an issue in the bigger cities.

There are smaller schools in the smaller towns of Lae, Madang, Mount Hagan and Goroka, but living and working in these towns will mean giving up a lot of the conveniences of Port Moresby, though it will also provide you with an authentic and interesting (and safer) experience.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    Not required
  • Typical Contract Length
    2 years
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    November, December
  • Visa Info
    Work permit
  • Typical Students
    Children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    4,000-5,000 PGK
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    4,000-10,000 PGK

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