SOLOMON Islands will have to invest more on its human resources to be able to be competitive in the future and the Government will embark on this goal to reduce reliance on natural resources as the country’s main revenue source.
The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made the revelation when he met with Solomon Islands students at various institutions in Fiji on Sunday, where more than 300 students turned up to meet the Prime Minister and his delegation at the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) ICT Hall at Laucala Campus, Suva.
“Refocusing the country’s education policies is imperative as human resources may prove to became the country’s untapped potential,” said the Prime Minister when delivering his keynote address.
“Our challenge now as a country is we need to refocus our education policies and broaden our scope to ensure that our educational goals will allow us to survive economically and remain competitive globally”, he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said part of the Government’s goal to reform its education policy is to have more PhD graduates within the next 15 years. And already the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is setting goals and institute mechanisms to enable 200 PhD graduates within that period, he said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that the review of the education policy is required to reward high achievers to continue with their studies rather than having to return to the country after graduating with a degree, as the usual government’s policy.
Mr Sogavare said students who achieved distinction and awards at the undergraduate levels deserve to continue with their education without interruption to enable them to graduate with masters and doctorate degrees.
He said other aspects of human resources development such as hands-on training and leadership training are equally crucial and will be also vigorously pursued; however, the focus will be to ensure that our students are competitive internationally.
The Prime Minister said he was impressed with the number of Solomon Islands intellectuals he met at an earlier dinner hosted by the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji when he gets to meet them, many of whom with PhDs but working outside of the country, notably at many of the regional institutions.
During his meeting with the students, the Prime Minister was also informed of the number of grievances by the Solomon Islands student body, SISA.
Student President Anthony Maelasi when speaking to welcome the Prime Minister and his delegation expressed sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister for taking time to meet the Solomon Islands students and the local community living in Fiji.
Mr Maelasi also expressed the student’s body’s sincere appreciation for the DCC Government’s commitment and continuous support through the Education sector in providing opportunities for young Solomon Islanders to undertake tertiary studies to develop the country’s human resources.
Mr Maelasi also used the opportunity to express some of the issues that are of great concern to the students, chief among them include the increasing cost of living for students, the review of the country’s scholarship policies and security issues affecting female students.
In response, the Prime Minister assured the students that he will return to the country and pursue their grievances through the appropriate authorities.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister assured the students that the Government will be pursing the establishment of the new USP campus in Honiara. He said the Solomon Islands government is still committed to setting up USP’s medical institute at its Honiara campus.
The Prime Minister and his delegation were in Suva to attend the Third Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF3) last week. The delegation will leave Fiji to attend the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leader’s Summit in Papua New Guinea today.
Source: OPMC, press release