Australia’s Commitment As the Leading Development Partner in Education: Announced SBD$18Million investment in WASH Facilities for 30 Schools

  Australia’s Commitment As the Leading Development Partner in Education: Announced SBD$18Million investment in WASH Facilities for 30 Schools


By Simon Tavake

As part of investing in the education sector in the Solomon Islands, Australia is set to contribute an additional 18 million SBD to support 30 schools in the Central Islands Province.

This announcement was made by Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, during her visit to the country this week.

The funding will be directed towards building water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities for these 30 schools under a partnership with UNICEF.

This initiative aims to provide a safer and healthier learning environment for students, especially girls.

“With UNICEF, we will be providing water and bathroom facilities across 30 schools in the Central Province of the Solomon Islands. Ensuring these facilities are available is crucial for health, but it also significantly impacts girls’ school attendance.”

“We will provide washrooms and more facilities that make it convenient for girls to attend school,” Minister Wong stated.

She also emphasized Australia’s commitment as the Solomon Islands’ leading development partner in education.

“Australia will continue to be the number one partner for the Solomon Islands in education. We will work to improve school facilities, train teachers, and support inclusive education.”

“Australia and the Solomon Islands have a longstanding partnership in the education sector, recognizing that this is an investment in future prosperity, security, and innovation,” the visiting Australian Minister said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong during her visit to Mbokona school this week.

Since 2015, Australia has invested SBD 720 million in basic education in the Solomon Islands.

This funding has been channeled through the Solomon Islands Education Sector Support Program (ESSP), which is jointly funded by the governments of New Zealand, Australia, and the Solomon Islands.

During her visit, Minister Penny Wong announced that Australia has invested SBD 29 million to provide school infrastructure upgrades to 40 schools across the country.

Mbokona Community High School in West Honiara is the latest beneficiary, receiving a new science laboratory at a cost of SBD 1,529,102.

The new laboratory will provide a conducive learning environment for students to conduct experiments and investigations.

On Thursday, as his first official duty, the new Minister for Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), Hon. Tozen Leokana, accompanied Minister Wong to officially hand over the new science laboratory to the school.

“The science lab you saw is just one part of a bigger investment that Australia is making alongside New Zealand.

“We are investing SBD 29 million across the Solomon Islands education system, providing critical educational infrastructure to 40 schools across nine provinces.

“We are really pleased to have partnered with the governments of the Solomon Islands and New Zealand to deliver this,” said Senator Wong.

Cutting of ribbon to officially open the Mbokona Science lab.

Speaking at the official handover ceremony, Minister Leokana said the event is a testament to the collaborative approach of the Solomon Islands government with the governments of Australia and New Zealand to increase access to quality education, especially in science, for Solomon Islands children and students.

“It is a testament of help to a friend in need. This project and many others funded by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands aim to transform education and ensure that all children receive the best learning opportunities possible,” Minister Leokana said.

Mbokona Community High School Principal, Mr. Basil Wasi’a, expressed deep gratitude and appreciation to all relevant stakeholders who have been part of this milestone achievement.

Principal Wasi’a noted that the new science lab is a critical addition to Mbokona CHS’s infrastructure development, which has been lacking for the past 22 years.

“This means we can now offer a full science curriculum to our high school students every year,” said Principal Wasi’a.


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