Last week, the Minister for Education and Human Resources Development Hon. Lanelle Tanangada, New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts and Acting Australian High
Commissioner Sally-Anne Vincent, travelled to Temotu Province to celebrate the handover of a new girl’s dormitory and ablution block at Luesalemba Provincial Secondary School.
The new dormitory and ablution block was funded through the education partnership between Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand, and is one of 11 such projects built
across the country to help increase girls’ enrolment and improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD)
implemented the infrastructure project with funding from New Zealand and Australia.
Hundreds of people from surrounding communities, including staff and students of Luesalemba Provincial Secondary School, witnessed the official handover.
Speaking at the handover, Hon. Tanangada said, ‘The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is mandated to assist all Solomon Islanders to develop as individuals
and obtain the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to earn a living and live in harmony with others and their environment. A central pillar of this mandate is to increase equitable
access to education as articulated in the National Education Action Plan 2016-2020, to focus on expanding access and address gender-balanced transition from basic education to Senior
Secondary and boarding issues.’
‘We are so pleased that both Australia and New Zealand have prioritised education just as we in the Solomon Islands have, seeing education as a fundamental right as well as an important
contribution to the future of our country. I am particularly pleased that the two countries have, for the first time, formally joined together to support our education sector in a
coordinated and united manner,’ said Hon. Tanangada.
The partnership is directing up to SBDSB$275million in budget support to MEHRD to implement activities including professional development for teachers, curriculum
development and infrastructure development.
In addition, around SBD$20 million will support capacity building of MEHRD and Education Authorities, and partnerships within the sector.
New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts acknowledged the warm welcome from
the school community and the hospitality of Temotu Province. She went on to share that, “the core intention of the education partnership is to support inclusive and equitable access to good quality education, for all children. Education is what we call an enabler – it helps us to think, it helps us to understand, it helps us to teach others, and it helps us to see pathways forward. This new dormitory is one example of how this partnership is supporting girls to access education alongside their male peers”.
The High Commissioner also reflected on the importance of culture in supporting education, knowledge and growth. She shared a Māori
whakataukī from Māori statesman, Sir Apirana Ngata – E Tipu e Rea – which speaks of three key elements relevant for youth: taking hold of the knowledge of today; valuing the treasures of our ancestors; and acknowledging the broader concept of spirituality. She encouraged the students to grow their talent and leadership through education, “when I look out today, I see bright young faces – you are the future of Solomon Islands”.
Acting High Commissioner Vincent thanked Temotu Province and the Luesalemba Provincial Secondary School for their generosity and said, “It is a privilege to be here in Temotu to celebrate the remarkable and longstanding partnership that Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Australia have in the education sector. Equitable education is a high priority for Australia, at home and in our international development program. All of our prosperity depends on the quality of our education systems.
Education is the path to employment in local and international labour markets. But education also improves the lives of individuals and communities in more ways than simply helping people get decent work. Education helps people think and express themselves. It helps us understand, reflect and make sense of things – from global politics and pandemics right down to the innermost workings of the minds and emotions of ourselves and the people around us. This partnership towards quality education is the critical factor that prepares us all to face an uncertain future equipped with the tools we need to overcome any challenge.” New Zealand has supported basic education in Solomon Islands since 2003. Australia joined them in 2012 to become joint lead donors to the education sector.
The official handover was followed by a tree-planting event by the Minister and the two High Commissioners and feasting and entertainment put on by the students and surrounding communities of Luesalemba Provincial Secondary School.