The O’Neill/Namah government has tagged the OBE system as a failure. Addressing the Grade 10 and Grade 12 graduates of the Pangia Aisoli Memorial Secondary School on Friday 2nd December 2011, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Education Department has been tasked to come up with a new curriculum.
“First measures are already in place, beginning with the establishment of a special task force by the Education Department to carry out this curriculum reform,” Mr O’Neill said. The Prime Minister made this statement following the school principal, Alex Nakanol’s call on the government to do away with the OBE system.
Even some wealthy countries that have tried OBE are now backpedalling because it has failed to deliver any better results than teacher-centred curriculum models, despite the huge amounts of money injected.
In 2006 the state government of Western Australia announced that it was throwing out OBE because it had not resulted in higher education standards than cheaper teacher-centred systems.
On 3rd February 2010 the U.K. Shadow Minister for Schools Mr Nick Gibb told the British parliament:
Wherever and whenever OBE is tried, it fails. It particularly fails those children who have no access to education elsewhere, other than (at) school”.
Dr Kevin Donnelly who was the education adviser to former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, states in his book Dumbing Down:
“Australia’s adoption of OBE is the reason why our education system is consistently at the centre of controversy. Since the development of the Keating Government’s national statements and profiles in the early to mid-1990s, all states and territories have adopted OBE to various degrees. Internationally, only a handful of countries have attempted to implement OBE and those educational systems that outperform Australia in the TIMSS tests ignore OBE in favour of a more academic and teacher-friendly syllabus.”
The prevalence of OBE in New Zealand and Australia state education systems suggests that this is why it was brought to Solomon Islands by foreign consultants, i.e. because it was the main curriculum model that they were familiar with and not because it was the most suitable model for Solomon Islands.
If you think the introduction of OBE in Solomon Islands sounds like a big mistake – you’re probably right.
Aaron Pondros Imbe