The Solomon Islands National University and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 12 November 2021 that will see the SINU School of Tourism and Hospitality as the major beneficiary.
A statement issued by SINU said the MOU will strengthen and enhance cooperation between SINU and MCT in the development of competitive human resource manpower that will meet the needs of the tourism industry and related sectors.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr Andrew Nihopara stated that the MOU is a milestone achievement for the two parties.
Mr Nihopara said, “the MOU covers research collaboration, tourism entrepreneurship award scheme, student internship placement, guest lectures, short courses, curriculum development, jointly promoting symposiums, conferences and seminars, quarterly TOKSTORI and participation at trade fairs”.
PS Nihopara highlighted that both Parties have agreed to set up a tourism entrepreneurship award grant scheme that will be awarded to the best tourism project proposal developed by final year students. The grant will be given as start-up capital for the project.
A panel of judges from the MCT and SINU and others will be set up to assess and select the winning project based on a set of criteria that will be developed.
PS Nihopara said “the aim is to promote entrepreneurship to our SINU Tourism and Hospitality students after they graduate. Both parties will help to evaluate, monitor and nurture the progress of the selected project and ensure that it becomes a viable project that will create job and employment opportunities and contribute to the economy”.
PS Nihopara also revealed that the Cook Islands government has initiated dialogue with his Ministry to tap into the pool of tourism graduates of Solomon Islands to work in the Cook Islands. “The MOU will benefit students to secure a job overseas, internship space at the Ministry and other tourism stakeholders in the country”, stated PS Nihopara.
Speaking on behalf of the University, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Business and Tourism, Mr Jerry Siota sincerely thanked the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the SINU School of Tourism for initiating the MOU that will benefit the students immensely.
The Dean thanked PS Nihopara for recognizing the importance of collaboration between the University and the Ministry. Mr Siota also thanked the Head of School, Mr Samson Bisafo, for facilitating the MOU through to its signing.
The Dean is optimistic that both parties will successfully implement the MOU for the benefit of the students and the tourism industry in general.