Dear Editor – Although not directly related issues, two articles in the local Solomon Island’s media caught my attention during last week. The first article referred to the reported failure of 28 students to meet their academic studies at the University of the South Pacific and would be returning home.
I don’t know the background to their alleged failure, other than reading they had not passed the required four semester examinations.
This situation seems to raise some concern as to whether the students initially met the university entrance requirements, based on their Form 7 FSLC reports, or alternatively, their Form 6 second term examination results.
A UK Educationalist, Christopher Jolly wrote a letter which was published in your newspaper, entitled, ‘UK Publisher Offers to Assist Primary Teachers and Students here,’ on 8 August, just a day ago.
In his article he said, referring to Solomon Island’s students generally, “Some may be dropped out of the education system or suspended not because they are failures, or engaged in disciplinary issues, they are actually “shy” because some may have problems with their basic reading comprehension and writing, aggregate their low level grade.”
To get into a university is a privilege many in the Solomon Islands would like to achieve but few, overall, actually attain.
It does seem rather odd to me that 28 students have had to be sent home and it brings me back to my point, whether the USP university entrance level bar is set too low, or whether the alleged under-performance of the students in question resulted in them being dropped because of their English reading and writing abilities?
If the latter is the answer, then I hope the students will not lose heart and improve their English language skills to re-apply for admission to the University of the South Pacific at a later time.
On the question of language ability, the Republic of China (Taiwan) Embassy in Honiara, in association with Solomon Islands National University (SINU), will soon launch a Chinese Mandarin class designed for the public to catch up with the international trend of “Chinese language learning.
The embassy has introduced Chinese Mandarin at SINU as the first foreign language program in its curriculum since 2013.
This is the first time that the program is to extend to the general public after repeated requests by keen Solomon Islanders who are eager to learn the language.
Having studied Cantonese myself I can vouch for the usefulness of doing a course in Chinese and especially as Mandarin is now more widely used in the world than English is today.
Finally, referring to success, I congratulate the team of ladies from the SIWIBA who have managed to find markets and sell their local products of shell necklaces, earrings and coconut bowls in Papua New Guinea.
If I can assist in advertising the SIWIBA’s products to a wider market on my charitable website www.solomonislandsinfocus.com I will be pleased to help.