Education providers in regional areas of Timor Leste have identified foreign language skills as critical to the success of their graduates. Integrating quality language classes into the school curriculum gives students broad career possibilities in government, civil society organisations, international organisations and private sector management. Students are also able to apply for higher education opportunities overseas.
Students in these regional areas have fewer opportunities than their peers in the capital to engage with native English speakers. Attracting English speakers to these areas for a length of time that facilitates genuine language development is a challenge.
Timor-Leste’s National Priorities outline that development focus should be on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 2 (nutrition and food security), number 4 (education) and number 9 (infrastructure), while paying attention to other human development goals such as health (number 3), gender equality (number 5) and water and sanitation (number 6).[i]
The community development program in Atabae will help to achieve local priorities by expanding domestic and international network links and capacity building strategies. This will assist the community to access funds and local support in line with the government’s priorities.
How We’re Helping
Friends and Partners with Australia [FPA] in collaboration with the local parish in Atabae, Timor Leste was established to manage their relationships with Australian groups such as Palms Australia and in the past FPET.
FPA has requested an English Teacher and Community Development Mentor to assist FPA and the local parish with the community English program and grant application and reporting processes. Current projects will continue to collaboratively explore and build on community development activities in education; water and sanitation; nutrition and food security; gender equality and youth opportunities with local and international NGOs.
Palms has prepared and is supporting Madeleine Minns, an experienced teacher across NSW and Queensland. Her role will include:
- Providing educational support for the existing Community English Program
- Ensuring increased educational opportunity for rural students to learn English
- Providing mentoring of the local English teacher to develop confidence and localisation of skills
- Supporting the priorities of the National Economic Recovery Plan
- Providing support and reporting to FPA to ensure that their links with the local and international donors are maintained and extended.
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Is the Project Sustainable?
Opportunities for collaboration and mutual development will strengthen the long-term sustainability of education and community development and enable Atabae, as a rural community, to be empowered and confidently able to drive its own development.
(avoiding bank and card fees delivers more funds to the program)