As the Gordon Darcy Lilo government the National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA) is coming to an end; to be frank his term expires on September when our Parliament will dissolve.
I think there are some major achievement Lilo’s government has delivered for the nation under his policy objectives and intentions during their tenure in office from 2011- 2014.
Despite whether or not the NCRA government not fulfilled much of its trumpeted economic policies, but one of their significant achievements during their tenure in office was establishment of our very own national university.
If the Lilo led (NCRA) National Coalition for Rural Advancement Government has to left a legacy for this country “this is it” the establishment of our very own university, (SINU) Solomon Islands National University.
As a matter of fact operations and functions of this new university is governed by the SINU Act 2012, national parliament passes it.
“Then successive government thereafter talked about of having our very own university, but there was lack of Political will.”
At the launching of SINU at 18th April, the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) council described it’s a blessing under the leadership of the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo SINU.
“It is a greatest gift for our people that under the learned and determined leadership of the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo we are most blessed to have our own national university.”
Having our own university is something we should be proud of because now university is at our door step and our students can now have access to tertiary education.
Sense of ownership is important, that we must take on the responsibility of running our own university we have on the ground.
Our well qualified Solomon Islanders which is our think tank must take on the responsibility of managing and running this university.
Although the nation is blessed with abundant natural resources its growth remains low because of no qualified manpower and human resources.
The inception of SINU is the way forward for us to train our citizens to effectively transform the national economy.
SINU will turn Solomon Islands around through priority areas which must be tailored, to forge the desired national economic reformation.
We need highly trained and qualified manpower, whose professional and technical capability, in their fields of study, are adequate to furnace necessary enunciation of effective reforms, for transforming the national economy.
Sound economic development growth and change, should stimulate the vivacity and robust of the National Economy.
Government spends around SBD$30 million to send local students overseas each year.
And if these funds are given back to support the country, it would definitely support the economy and improve the lives of the ordinary people.
Therefore, establishment of SINU lessen government spending to local students studying overseas.
Having our own university is a step to a right direction to increase the exchange of foreign currency and more job creations in the government and private sectors.
Fundamentally, having our own university is important because it is a critical component of human development.
With a university it will provide opportunities in country for Solomon Islanders to acquire higher level skills in various fields in both the sciences and social sciences.
So with a local university it means more Solomon Islanders will have the opportunity to acquire high level of skills. This would boost the increasing of work force in the industrial sectors, thus a transition to manufacturing industry.
With these skills, they can contribute in driving our local economy, participate effectively in the policy making process, provide good advice and so forth.
These things will have an impact on our societies either directly or indirectly.
I believed that it is a good idea to encourage our locals working and teaching in other overseas institutions to join SINU.
But the terms and conditions of work needs to be conducive and a research culture promoted.
With the proposed plan of SINU to get away with form 7, I don’t see a problem with such plan what I think should be done is a careful thinking of how this will spin out.
That is, either we have a university entry courses in form 6, which means a redesign of the curriculum or have the form 6 programs as it is but have the first year at university as the university foundation level and the next three years for the actual degree courses.
At present, the form 7 is a foundation level for university, once students complete that they go directly into doing their degree courses which is normally 3 years except for law and medicine.
NCRA’s government’s significant achievement I coined it as a clear manifestation of political and economic maturity of our country.
But my reservation is government, stakeholders and other non-government organisations should in partnership to curb the low literacy rate in Solomon Islands.
Reports revealed Solomon Islands lowest in the pacific.
It’s good we happy about our own university but literacy needs top priority to address.
Literacy it’s fundamental to education, literacy is critical to our future.
There must be some kind of leaders to champion over literacy in this country.
By ELLIOT DAWEA
Divine Word University