THE Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) has officially handed over a newly completed girls’ dormitory and ablution block to Gela Ilau Community High School, in Siarana village, small Gela, Central Island Province.
The dormitory consists of 14 rooms and can accommodate about 60 students. The dormitory together with the ablution block cost a total of SBD$2,357,825.06.
The project was funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments through the MEHRD’s Education Strategic Frame work (ESF) and National Education Action Plan (NEAP) 2023-2026.
Speaking during the official handing over, the MEHRD Acting Permanent Secretary, James Bosamata said the new dormitory and ablution block is a result of NEAP.
“The handover ceremony and excitement which we are witnessing today is an end result of one of the outputs in the National Education Action Plan 2022-2026 and that is to increase equitable access to education,” Mr Bosamata said.
“According to the 2021-2022 cycle of work and infrastructure projects, a total of 10 projects went out on tender in 7 Provinces, out of the 10 projects, the Gela Ilau CHS Girls Dormitory and Ablution Block are first to be completed which we officially hand it to the school today,” he added.
Mr Bosamata said the objective for the construction of the Girl’s Dormitory and Ablution Block was to increase access to education for girls and to create a conducive environment, where learning can be better achieved.
He encouraged the students to take a good care of the new facilities.
“You are the direct beneficiary of the project. Look after and care for the buildings. Treat the dormitory as your home. You are very fortunate to have the opportunity to be accommodated in such a modern set of standard-design student dormitory and ablution block,” Mr Bosamata added.
Speaking on behalf of the aid donors who funded the project, the Acting Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Sally-Anne Vincent said she was excited to see the school construction made positive progress until it was officially handed to the Gela Ilau Community High School.
“Today, handing over is a testimony to the strong dedication and will of the ministry of Central Province and this community to address and remove the barrier. We are so proud to share the vision that we have of improving access to quality education to all children,” Ms Vincent said.
“This is because we believe that it is paramount to achieve Solomon Islands own goals and our long-term partners, Solomon Islands and New Zealand Education Sector Support Program will step in that vision and we believe that our long-term partnership in education will help all Solomon Islands children get a better education,” she added.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Jonathan Schwass, was also present at the handing over ceremony and so were the Supervising Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, Anthony Veke and the Central Islands Province Premier, Polycarp Galaigu.
People from the Siarana Community and villages near the Gela Ilau School also attended the ceremony.
By FLOYD TERRY
Solomon Star Honiara