Dreams became reality for Baegu Asifola Constituency (BAC) with ribbon cutting to officially open their brand new $4 million school building on 15 December 2023 under the motto “aspire to advance excellence, every day, every student.”
The Solomon Islands Government (SIG) funded the Baegu Asifola Senior High School (BASHS) project which situated at the suburb of Honiara City Boundary, Mt Austin.
Government support of $2.5 million came from the Constituency Development (CDF) program administered by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and $2 million from the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development (MEHRD) with additional support of close to $500 thousand from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) under the new SIG-PRC partnership program known as Rural Sustainable Development Program (RSDP) managed by MRD.
The event convened government ministers and senior government officials, representatives from PRC’s Embassy in Honiara, development stakeholders and about 500 plus constituents of BAC residing in Honiara and people from surrounding communities to celebrate the grand inauguration of the new magnificent facility that will definitely contributes to the development and grooming of future leaders of Solomon Islands.
It was an eventful day, hyped with speeches, entertainment, cultural performances and feasting.
The project took 3.5 years to complete and is made up of 12 classrooms including an administration office and two ablution blocks.
BASHS was registered under the new Education Act 2023 and has been granted full Education Provider Status by the Ministry of Education (MEHRD) to operate under the Baegu Asifola Education Authority (BAEA), a legitimate administrative authority approved by MEHRD to manage the school.
Deputy Secretary Corporate (DSC) Constance Wane who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Rural Development said the school project intention is align to one of the ministry’s key policy pillars, which is to advance socio-economic development, which includes building of school infrastructures for our children.
She said the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) education policy priority is providing safe quality education adding the (this) policy priority is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nation which is; to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Ms Wane added that good facilities and good infrastructures are important for producing good school outcomes.
“The ministry is confident that better facilities, such as new classrooms and new ablution blocks, encourage better school attendance. And better school attendance is obviously good for students. It is also good for the broader community surrounding BASHS.
“After all, children studying at BASHS are the community leaders of tomorrow. And if a community is to improve its economic and social well-being, it needs people with the right experience and the right education.”
While congratulating Member of Parliament for BAC Hon. Tagini Makario and its people for the worthy investment and achievement Ms Wane assured that MRD is also committed to supporting the vision of Baegu Asifoloa through education and welfare of its children.
“On behalf of MRD, I congratulate the Honorable Member for Baegu Asifoloa, the Constituency, the community and people of Baegu Asifola, the contractors and all development stakeholders for showing the spirit of cooperation necessary to provide the school facilities, our children deserve,” Ms Wane concluded.
Project Manager Dr Steve Aumanu said, for us to accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but we must also believe.
“The dream of the founding father of this school Hon. Tagini, MP four years ago today turned into reality. A school that will serve not only the children of Baegu Asifola but many Solomon Islanders from our nation,” Dr Aumanu said.
The school project was one of the biggest development projects in the name of BAC, hosting forms 4, 5 and 6 classes with form 4 classes set to commence in 2024 to be followed by forms 5 & 6 in later years.
The establishment of the school followed a series of consultation and awareness programs conducted by the constituency office with leaders and people of BAC both in Honiara and back at home who then identified education as their number one priority as aligned to the constituency 5-year development plan.
Dr Aumanu thanked the people of Baegu Asifola for recognizing the importance of education and prioritizing it as top priority in their constituency development plan.
On the school future development, Dr Aumanu said there are bigger plans for the construction of staff houses, school hall, student dormitories, offices, accessory facilities like power and generation, water supply, waste management, sports ground, teaching and technology equipment going forward in the future.
“I hope a fully furnished and equipped campus will contribute meaningfully to the improvement and advancement of Solomon Islands education in the higher learning and this is important for the future of this nation. This magnificent facility means something special to us, it represents progress and development,” Dr Aumanu emphasized.
He then acknowledged SIG, PRC, Baegu Asifola communities and people, development stakeholders and everyone who contributed to the success of the project.
He said such accomplishment signifies the strength of cooperation and friendship. “Devotion and sacrifice.”
Education Minister Hon. Lanelle Tanangada, MP said education plays a crucial role in the development of any country including our beloved Solomon Islands and it equips individuals with knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for personal and professional growth.
“The best investment you could ever make is investing in education. By investing in education Solomon Islands can develop a highly skill workforce that contributes to the country’s economic growth and development. And you will never regret and never go wrong when you invest in education and quality education,” Minister Tanangada said when delivering his keynote address.
She also reiterated that education plays a crucial role and promoting SDGs more specifically SDG 4 which is; to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“Education is a powerful tool for skill education and improve students’ prospect for employment. By having this school establishment here, resident will have the chance to access higher education,” she said.
The Education Minister also congratulated MP Tagini for his leadership and great wisdom and the people of Baegu Asifola for the support rendered to their MP in establishing this magnificent school.
“Your great vision in this magnificent infrastructure will not only educate the young of BAC but people within the communities of this place and this nation. And they too can have access to quality education.
“..this infrastructure ensures equitable access to quality education that promotes inclusivity. And it is a testimony of an effort to provide equal opportunities for the marginalized, the girls, children with special needs, and those from low incoming backgrounds and I see this building as an inclusive infrastructure and can be remove barriers to enrolment for 2024 and beyond,” Ms Tanangada highlighted.
She said DCGA, through MERDH is humble to partner with such visionary leaders and chiefs and elders of communities to provide access, quality, and a well manage educational institution adding such joint support from MRD and MEHRD to the school project is a perfect example of partnership for investment of our future generation and human resources of our beloved Solomon Islands.
Meanwhile, Hon. Tagini, MP admitted that he freely gave his private registered land for the establishment of the school.
He said the establishment of the school is to achieve BAC priority number one (1) which is education.
Hon. Tagini explained that the new school is a receiving school for six feeder schools in Baegu Asifola and other schools across the country but priority will be given to schools in BAC. The plan is, for school intake, 50 per cent to go for constituency (BAC) and another 50 per cent will open for the public (other schools).
“I used to pay school fees for students at six schools in BAC but then later I realize that, this is not the solution so I and my team decided to build a school for the people of Baegu Asifola.
“…the reason why I build the school here is, once I built it at home it will never reach this stage, because people will dispute it as there are a lot of disputes at home. And such dispute is not helpful for us to achieve or fulfil the wish of the people of Baegu Asifola. So, that is why I offer my land freely from my heart for the school. Also, another reason is for accessibility where there is power, there is internet, road access and also close to important services for its administration,” MP Tagini explained.
He emphasized that only education is important not where the buildings are located or built but where we can access is very important.
“Investing in education is a worthy course because it will contribute to the development of human resources of the country. And the good news is that, this school will not benefit only Baegu Asifola students but also students from other provinces across Solomon Islands.”
Hon. Tagini then acknowledged everyone who are behind the success of the project as he dedicated the school to the unborn children of Baegu Asifola.
“I want to dedicate this school to the unborn children of Baegu Asifola. I want to dedicate this school to the future generations of Baegu Asifola. I want to dedicate this school to my people of Baegu Asifola. This is your school. You own it. You take it. And you use it,” Hon. Tagini, MP who is the Minister for the Ministry of Public Service (MPS) concluded.
– MRD Press