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Athabasca University

Educational Institutions

The colonial education system of secondary schools and colleges, teacher training institutes, and universities was a creation of administrations and religious organizations; but it soon came to operate as a distinct sphere of activity within the entire field of cultural production. Secondary schools and teachers colleges produced a large number of school magazines. As these colleges were often the first post-secondary institutions in a colony, the literary societies, drama clubs and debating societies that formed amongst the students were important sites for print culture activity.

Colonial universities tended to organize the only sphere of activity that fell entirely within field of cultural production. The university-controlled sphere might teach writing courses; offer literature classes, and educational and artistic exchanges; publish books and periodicals, sponsor live performances; organize cultural festivals; and publish critical reviews.

It is important to understand when and where these schools operated; their relative ability to garner resources; the nature of their print culture sponsorship; the social and cultural background of their students; and the role that print culture played in their personal, professional, and cultural formation.

When serving as print culture sponsors, secondary schools, colleges, and universities might follow such practices as these:

  • mentoring writers, editors, and publishers in the practices of the non-restricted and restricted sub-fields of production;
  • training teachers, journalists, and librarians for professions in a variety of print culture-related occupations;
  • providing an intellectual and political forum for the educated elite, centred on the values of print culture;
  • establishing a community of writers and readers; clubs, unions, cultural centres and institutes often resulted from the formation of such communities;
  • developing networks of teachers, publishers, and readers;
  • delivering status to colonial peoples as participants in the “modern” world.

While the focus in Papua New Guinea tends to be on the University of Papua New Guinea, other educational institutions are well worth studying as sponsors of print culture. A wealth of school magazines was produced in secondary schools as well as published collections of creative writing; and teachers colleges, especially the Goroka Teachers College, were especially active in print culture sponsorship.

Updated October 13 2016 by Library Services