Recently established St Francis Early Childhood Education kindergarten school at Fiukwai village in Malaita Province is using coconuts as school fees for its students.
Thanks to its founder Joses Naumai, who initiated the idea- an arrangement well liked by both the students and their parents, most of whom do not have a steady income source.
A media statement from the Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands quoted Mr Naumai as saying he realised, there was a need for the kindergarten last year as around 40 children aged 3-6 years do not have a school to go to.
Mr Naumai says, he eventually talked with the community members of Fiukwai about starting a kindergarten and they liked the idea because their children will no longer be attending distant schools.
Under Mr Naumai’s new fee policy, a parent has to bring only 20 dry coconut fruits per week as school fees- the coconut will be turned into virgin coconut oil for the school.
He says the school was started in February this year in a community hall with no funding but has already enrolled 40 children and is growing.
The Fiukwai kindergarten founder adds that parents are excited as their children will attend formal education that will cost them only 20 dry coconut fruits per week.
Meanwhile, the statement says Mr Naumai owns a direct micro-expelling, DME, system, which produces healthy virgin coconut oil by grating, drying and pressing fresh coconuts.
He is part of the Virgin Coconut Oil Producers Association, working with the Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands to improve the livelihoods of rural villages, like Fiukwai and others in the country.
Mr Naumai adds since its establishment in 2007 DME has boosted the local income of around 200 people in and around Fiukwai, employing 27 staff in total and providing 14-thousand dollars per month to local coconut growers in the area.
Currently, St Francis kindergarten employs five teachers, who were sent to train with teachers at nearby schools before working at the kindergarten.