Bilingual Books to Empower Students


In the picturesque archipelago of Kiribati, where turquoise waters meet golden sands and a vibrant culture thrives, a dedicated educator has taken it upon herself to inspire the children through her bilingual book. Ruuta Tekeraoi, the dedicated Director of the Kiribati Ministry of Education, is committed to empower Kiribati students through a bilingual book. The winds of change began to blow when Ms Ruuta attended a session part of a week-long workshop conducted by the Institute of Education, in collaboration with the Kiribati Ministry of Education.

This workshop, which brought together teachers from Kiribati, aimed to explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning; mainly in Literacy and Numeracy.

“I just briefly attended one part of the session on the development of bilingual reading books, hoping to get some guidance on how to write a story,” Ms Ruuta said.

She said writing a story gave her a chance to share some personal reflections on how the Kiribati society had evolved over time.

“The problem really in Kiribati is the lack of reading books and literacy resources. These were found in the curriculum review of the literacy and numeracy subjects at the primary level,” Ms Ruuta said.

“There was also a review of a Language in Education Policy and one of the findings was the lack of resources to support bilingual (Te Kiribati and English).

“It was recommended in the review, increasing of bilingual reading books. This is the reason, Kiribati put up the need to be part of PacREF (Pacific Regional Education Framework).”

With text in both i-Kiribati and English, Ms Ruuta’s book will contextualise experiences of a contemporary Kiribati family.

Through her book, she aspires to reintroduce traditional games – which seem to have been forgotten over the years with the introduction of modern technology.

“This book is also a way of preserving traditional knowledge and games.

“We know one of the challenges we face is the limited number of resources, especially reading books, and through these bilingual books, there will be more interest in reading,” she added.

She said students would be able to better associate themselves to the stories through contextualised stories and be able to better transition from i-Kiribati to English because of its bilingual nature.

AsRuuta diligently continues her literary undertaking, her aspiration remains steadfast—to craft a bridge between generations, ushering the wisdom of yesteryears into the present, while nurturing the literary appetite of Kiribati’s young minds.

The Literacy workshop witnessed more than 20 bilingual reading books produced by the participants – including Ms Ruuta’s.

IoE’s Fellow in Research and Mathematics, Dr Teukava Finau and Fellow in Literacy and Curriculum, ‘Ana Heti Veikune facilitated the Numeracy and Literacy workshop from July 26 until August 3.

In his opening speech, Kiribati Minister for Education, Alexander Teabo acknowledged the partnership between the Kiribati Education Ministry and the Institute of Education.

The workshops were supported by the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) to enhance the Literacy and Numeracy pedagogies.

Kiribati Ministry of Education’s Director, Ms Ruuta Tekeraoi


IoE’s Fellow in Literacy and Curriculum, ‘Ana Heti Veikune (left) and Fellow in Research and Mathematics, Dr Teukava Finau facilitated the Numeracy and Literacy workshop from July 26 until August 3.




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