EDUCATION continues to command the largest share of the budget but lacks the strategic needs facing society and the economy and the quality of the education system and the product.
Outspoken leader of the Opposition Mathew Wale said the current government must seriously consider these two areas.
He said it is important that the basic education component of the system, including early childhood education through to form six, be resourced and focused on quality.
“Investments ought to be made in literacy and numeracy in basic education,” he added.
He said that multilingual education should be rolled out in the first few years of primary school as an important driver of this.
He further explained there is still a large gap in skills training in terms of resourcing of trained teachers, equipment and facilities, curriculum and quality assurance.
“These are not easy fixes, but government must commit to supporting these strategic elements of the sector,” he added.
Wale pointed out that the quality of our education system in the country has deteriorated over the years as the access objective has driven growth in the sector at the expense of quality.
Meanwhile, the total recurrent allocation for 2020 is $1,201.2 million a small increase from $1,198.1 million in 2019.
Budget support for 2020 is $73.7 million a decrease from $94.4 million in 2019.
Development budget for 2020 is set at $28.5 million a 51% reduction from $58 million in 2019.
This reduction is in the infrastructure support to Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
Wale said this is an unfortunate set back to SINU’s development.
It was understand that Government announced that the Chinese government has made a commitment to fund infrastructure development at SINU.
But Wale said unfortunately the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) requested for copies of the bilateral MOUs signed with PRC was denied so the committee was unable to verify if there is such a funding commitment.
By ANDREW FANASIA