|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
PART 3 PROSPECTS
11. Policy Directions for the Future Way Forward
The Master Plan for Education 1999 2010 has just been drafted in Solomon Islands. The priorities, as laid out in the Master Plan, very much reflect possible ways forward which have come to light after completing the EFA Assessment 2000. The National Education Master Plan 1999-2010, which was initiated by the present government when they came to power on 1997 has spelt out broad aims and objectives for educational development for the next decade:
Government will increase the scope of education services to formally include Early Childhood Education and Rural Training Centres.
Government aims to extend the vision of education to focus also on the future of Solomon Islands within the global community.
Government intends to introduce not only a mix mode curriculum but also a properly designed and implemented vocational stream in the formal education system.
Government is committed with the introduction of Basic Education for all children. These are new directions, which if properly implemented will certainly ensure that each and every child in Solomon Islands will have the opportunity to obtain an education, which is relevant and appropriate to his or her particular needs.
This Master Plan deals with the development of a National Education System. The report states that for the Plan to effectively achieve its objectives it is important that not only must the management of the programmes be systematic but more importantly, the products to be produced from the plan to be produced in a systematic manner.
Education is a system. It needs the interaction of various parts in order to work. For example pupils may not learn anything simply by going into a classroom and sitting. There must at least be a teacher, some books, some desks, some chalk, a blackboard and maybe some exercise books. They must also need a common language or medium of communication to enable them to learn from each other.
Implementation strategies and priorities must therefore be based on this reality.
As the plan points out we are dealing with an on going and operating system, something may have to be done together or even in almost a back-to-front way to maintain what is already there.
Based on the above principles the Education Master Plan therefore suggests that the implementation of the plan be done in the following phases (taken from Education Master Plan 1999 2000, Chapter 10):
Phase1. (3- 4 years)
Expand and upgrade the 7 PSS put forward under the Third Education Project.
Improve and expand teacher training for both primary and secondary school sectors. More degree studies for secondary teachers.
Improve definition and expand scope and production of curriculum materials for both primary and secondary school.
Review, define and develop curriculum for rural training centres, identify those to be graded and start training the teachers, design buildings and implement these.
Expand to Form 6 and Form 7 to achieve 30% transition rate to Form 5 to Form6.
Consolidate current Community High Schools.
Expand Form 1-3 classes to reach 75% transition rate from standard 6 to Form 1.
Expand Form4-5 to achieve transition rate of 50% from Form 3 to Form 4.
Expand Form 6 and 7 to reach transition rate of 40% from Form 5 to Form 6.
Complete implementation of RTCs upgrading
All primary teachers to go through Diploma courses
All secondary teachers to be required to undertake degree level programmes.
Full range of curriculum materials available.
Appropriate assessment procedures in place
Educational counselling and remedial teaching programmes available
Education for the handicapped provided.
Basic Education to include Form 5.
In view of upgrading Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) to university level by the government some of the technical Certificate courses will have to be offered by Rural Training Centres. The government has already moved ahead and identified some ten (10) well established Rural Training Centres (RTCs) to be given further assistance to offer and conduct these certificate courses and maintaining the same level of credibility.
The last decade has seen Solomon Islands taking great strides forwards towards achieving the goals and targets set in EFA. Looking at the progress in each section in this report has not only emphasised the successes but has also raised questions and given possible ways forward for the next decade in order to improve the quality of life in Solomon Islands and make Education For All a reality.