The Vanuatu Law Reform Commission (VLRC) and the National Library of Vanuatu have recently undertaken a joint consultations initiative on a proposed National Library Service Policy, within the provinces of TAFEA, SHEFA, MALAMPA, PENAMA and SANMA.

“The National Library Service Policy will address the vacuum that Libraries exist under across the Country, as it has become a practice that where education Institutions are established, libraries emerge. However, there is no legal provisions to standardize the operation of libraries in schools and communities of Vanuatu,” says the Vanuatu Law Reform Commission Secretary, Lawson Jack Samuel.

Mr. Samuel added that, ‘it is important for us to consult with school principals and librarians about the proposed policy because standardization of libraries is undoubtedly a pre-requisite for high-quality education for our Children who are the future of this nation’.

The two institutions under the Ministry of Justice and Community Services acknowledge the passion and dedication of teachers and librarians in schools who developed or have made attempts to address the development of libraries out of passion. Despite the difficult and challenging times, these individuals persevere and continue to serve the need of our Children. School librarians and libraries continue to survive on the willingness and dedication of themselves and school councils.

In schools where there are no libraries, teachers create their own libraries within classrooms thus they have become both educators and librarians for their students.

Mrs. Margaret Austrai Terry, Chief Librarian at the National Library said “Libraries allow students to go beyond what is being taught in the classroom. With the limited time, teachers have to present information to students, libraries offer sources that can take student farther into topics that they find interesting thereby expanding their knowledge. Beyond that, learning the love of reading creates a life-long love for learning and that’s what education is all about—learning new things.

So it is important that we standardize the operations of libraries”.

The VLRC and the National Library wish to emphasis that whilst school grants are solely for the academic upgrading of students, it is worth looking at how much portion of that school grant is given to the development of libraries.

Especially at this time as we commemorate Children’s day 2020 as part of the celebration of the nation’s 40 years of Political Independence, we should be aware of the less fortunate children in the rural areas of Vanuatu, the citizens of Vanuatu, who are missing the brain of learning, libraries.

This joint initiative is an example of how agencies can collaborate and use the existing resources to address the needs of our children who are future leaders of this nation.

“We recognize that as we celebrated this year’s Children’s day 2020, a dim light at the end of the tunnel is becoming more brighter that would identify a home for libraries where they can be embraced, nurtured and be developed, where there can be checks and balances on the allocation of resources fairly to our disadvantaged children who would sit the same exams despite which school they are from, where funds can be prioritized for the brain of every educational institutions in this country”.

Consultations in Torba will take place from the 10th to the 14th of August 2020. In Port Vila, it will be held in August as well.

The VLRC and the National Library is requesting representatives from all stakeholder institutions to come forward to share their views on this policy initiative for the good of our children who are future leaders of this nation.

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