Tue, 24 January 2017
Last Updated: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 9am
Solomon Star
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University education in Solomon Islands

Articles published in Solomon Star on “University Education for SI “makes interesting reading.

SINU has been existence for the last 3 years and this is the fourth year. SINU was created by an Act of Parliament and shall remain so.

SINU has changed the face of University education in the Solomon Islands. It seems that the honourable writers are not aware of the progress SINU has made in the very short period of last 3 years and what are its plans for the future.

SINU is a National University and it is a matter of National pride that SINU has conducted itself as a University from very little resources and experience.

SINU has proven that a country like Solomon Islands can have a very successful National University which is totally focussed on the development of the country and is not unduly burdened with shuffling resources between competing priorities.

SINU is the Solomon Islands National University and will remain always focussed on Solomon Islands.  SINU can guarantee that changes in management or governance structure will not suddenly shift its priorities.

SINU is a product of a long term strategic vision for this country.  Let us not succumb to short term vested interests.

Other universities in the region with population comparable to Solomon Islands (e.g. Fiji and Samoa) have their own national university in spite of the presence of a regional university.

Let us put the developments at SINU into perspective so that the readers can be aware of the progress SINU has made in such a short time.

The writers have quite correctly highlighted the progress of SINU in regards to the initiative to bring about Fisheries education to the Solomon Islanders.  Unfortunately, many readers are not aware that SINU has developed some very good links with international partners who work very closely with SINU to upgrade the standard of education to an international level. Here are some examples among many other initiatives.

Degree Programmes

During the last 12 months, SINU has introduced the following Bachelor’s Degrees.  Several more are being developed. These programs have been examined by experts from recognized universities/organizations to ensure they are up to international standards.

1.     Bachelor of Nursing Child Health (with support from Centre of Child Health (CICH) Melbourne)

2.     Bachelor of Accounting (With an expert in  UPNG)

3.     Bachelor of Business Entrepreneurship (With support from Commonwealth of Learning )

4.     Bachelor of Tropical Agriculture (with input from an expert in UQ)

5.     Bachelor of Public Administration

6.     Bachelor of Fisheries (With experts from PUKONG university in South Korea)

7.     Bachelor of Teaching Secondary (revised and extended to 4 years) (with support from experts from Australia and England)

8.     Bachelor  of Teaching Primary

 

Research Initiatives

A Research Department has been established and a Director of Research has been appointed after advertising internationally.

We have signed MOUs with several organizations to carry out research.

1.     UNDP

2.     Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation

3.     Worldfish

Many more MOUs please signed in the near future.

We have also several research projects funded by international donor organizations such as European Union. Several academics are planning to conduct research leading to PhD’s in SINU. We are on track to contribute to Prime Minister’s target of 200 PhDs in this country.

We encourage Solomon Island’s hard working academics to write books and publish research papers in international journals and conferences and become professors which did not happen in last 47 years.

During last 12 months, SINU held 3 conferences including an International Education Conference which was the largest academic conference held in this country.

Development of the Fisheries programme in Collaboration with KOICA

The initiative to develop the Fisheries program at SINU is no accident. It is a product of the visionary approach SINU is undertaking for the University Education for Solomon Islanders. SINU will offer from 1st Semester 2018, a full 4 year degree of international standard but totally Solomon Island focussed, to develop our largest resource. No other University in the region has a program in fisheries of this standard and relevance.

Development and upgrade of trades programme in collaboration with Skills Tech, under S4EG programme

In collaboration with Skills Tech and Queensland TAFE and DFAT under the Skills for Economic Growth programme, SINU is upgrading all its Technology courses to an international quality standard.

Development of the Tourism Programmes

SINU has developed, in a short time, 3 Diploma programmes in Tourism.

1.     Diploma in Tourism

2.     Diploma in Hospitality

3.     Diploma in Travels and Tours

It is our plan to develop degree programmes in this area.

 ICT development and the new Student Management System

SINU is upgrading all its ICT network infrastructure. We have 24 hour unlimited internet access and all three campuses will be connected 24/7. SINU has just installed and implement a Student Management System that will provide the students of this country, us Solomon Islanders, access from your home or from the palm of your hands about your studies at SINU. Students, parents and sponsors can apply, enrol and access academic progress at any time.  This is now being developed and we anticipate that it will be fully operational next year. We also intend to provide each student with a laptop for their studies and links to this world class Student Management System.

Panatina Project

Among many other infrastructure developments at the University, such as development of lecture theatres, tourism complex, conversion of hostels to classrooms and computer labs, upgrade of the roads etc., SINU has embarked on a very ambitious Panatina Project. This is one of the largest projects the University intends to undertake  and is considered one of the largest complexes in the Solomon Islands.  This is our principal project. It will alleviate the demand for classroom space for the entire University for at least the next 5-10 years.

This Building complex comprises of three major blocks. A fully glazed Atrium block functions as the main circulation hub connects a Lecture theatre block to the west and a three Level Teaching block to the East with a Gross floor area of 4,673M2. This facility will be comparable to any other univeristy where our students travel to study.
 

SINU has a new strategic plan which guides our vision for the next 5 years and rolls over every 5 years, and has 20 year a physical master plan which shows exactly how the University will grow until 2032. It is in the process of developing an academic plan and a resourcing plan for this period. SINU is forward looking and visionary in its approach to Education in the Solomon Islands.  SINU is not backward looking and does not want to get bogged down in dealing with theoretical constructs and fantasies but wants to be practical and real about what can and cannot be done.

Solomon Islands National University

We understand better what our students and parents need for this country to progress to the levels where we can be same as anyone in the world. SINU is geared towards it and will ensure that this happens for our people.  We are not sure if other institutions have the same vision for our students.  We have not seen much evidence of this in the last 47 years.

Solomon Islands needs a national university  which can focus on solutions to its  national problems and aspirations. We hope dear readers that this matter is put to rest, and you have faith in SINU your own National University to take the Education in Solomon Islands forward. Give us some time and we will prove it, if you are still not convinced. We also welcome interested persons who wish to come and meet us so that they can learn more details of our vision and plans and tremendous progress the university has made during a short period.

By Professor Basil Shelton Marasinghe
Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic)
Solomon Islands National University


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