Public diplomacy

'League Bilong Laif' – integrating Rugby League into PNG's national curriculum

May 2014

A partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea, funded under the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships initiative will help PNG harness the power of rugby league and transform children’s lives.

A Memorandum of Understanding with PNG’s National Department of Education and the Australian National Rugby League (NRL), paves the way for the integration of the rugby league in schools pilot program into the national curriculum and teacher education program.
The program is strengthening the quality of sports practice in development activities in Pacific communities, through building the skills of local administrators, coaches and officials.

Gender balance is an important aspect of the program, which recruits equal numbers of schoolgirls and schoolboys. More than 70 per cent of the teachers trained to date are women, and the program will provide opportunities for women to forge a career in rugby league.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop signed the MOU with the PNG National Department of Education.

“The program will go well beyond sport, encouraging school attendance, self-discipline, respect and social responsibility,” said Ms Bishop.

“League Bilong Laif develops well-rounded children who value education, care for their own health and respect their classmates and themselves.”

Under the program, teachers are trained and supported to boost physical, reading and maths skills among their students through clinics and classroom exercises. Up to 50,000 children and 500 teachers are expected to eventually participate in the program.

League Bilong Laif is delivered through a partnership between the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian National Rugby League and the PNG National Department of Education.

The PNG Rugby Football League and the University of PNG are also supporting the program. 

Students from Coronation Primary School in Port Moresby holding a football.
Gender balance is an important aspect of the League Bilong Laif program, which recruits equal numbers of schoolgirls and schoolboys.