Chief opens Solomon Islands’ fee free school

 

Chief Jacob Sibia standing in front of the new classrooms.

From holding classes in a garage to the site you see today – Ando Christian Academy school in Central Guadalcanal is one of a kind.

And today it opened two new classrooms and a school hall to become one of country’s few fee-free schools.

Chief Jacob Sibia is the man behind this success story.

The school started in 2012 in a small hut he built. But that was destroyed by the April flash floods in 2014, forcing classes to be held in his garage.

Mr Sibia was never employed in the formal sector but he was a successful cattle farmer, which he said made him see the need for proper education in his village.

It was not until 2015 when Galego logging company, a Malaysian company operating in central Guadalcanal, offered to fund the classrooms and school hall.

Mr Sibia said it was his divine calling to pursue the idea of building the new classrooms for his community.

“What is inside me is to change society, I want a society that one day people will trust in, and our government needs this, ” he said.

“I believe that teaching children christian principles will help in creating a future generation of trustworthy people.”

Mr Sibia said he had no regrets on the idea of children having a fee free education. He said he had faith that the school would continue to develop and prosper.

Inside one of the new classrooms.

He said currently the logging company was meeting all the school staff salaries and materials.

“The Guadalcanal provincial government have already informed me that it will formally register the school soon,” he said.

“My dream is that I will continue to find ways to develop and build more classrooms for this school, and for my people as well.”

The school currently provides primary school education  from Kindergarten up to standard two, which are all fee free.

By: Lowen Sei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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