Isabel receives longest classroom in Solomon Islands
The Hon. Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), the Hon. Rollen Seleso handed over a 73 meters 12 classroom block to the school chairman, school management, parents and students of Hoffi Community High School at Koviloko Ward, Maringe, Isabel Province.
The handing over ceremony was attended by more than a thousand people from the nearby areas including Buala Township. The Minister, as guest of Honour, led a delegation from Honiara including his Permanent Secretary, Stanley Dick Pirione, Advisor Momodou Lamin Sawaneh and staff from the MPGIS. The event marks a great historical milestone not only for the Hoffi School and Isabel Provincial Government, but also a great achievement for the Provincial Government Funded “PCDF” program implemented by the MPGIS.
In his remarks, the Minister stated “since the inception of the Provincial Capacity development fund in 2008, this is the longest classroom ever constructed. The project, which costs more than $3.4Million, will increase the school roll by 200 students and will surely benefit students, parents and guardians of Hoffi School. This is great news for our community and a positive gesture towards the education sector of the province and country”. The classroom began its construction way back in 2014 and went through a number of challenges including changing of building contractors, lack of funds and materials. It however surely relieves the pressure of space at the school. For a long time, parents wished to enrol their children but lack of space had hindered school enrolment.
In addition, an old classroom that was built 50 years ago which was later damaged, was the only classroom facility that accommodates students. This facility was torn down recently since it would no longer housed an increasing number of students. But thanks to the PCDF and Isabel Provincial Government position in the PCDF, which help the province to continue to receive funds due to high performance scores and meeting the minimum condition of the PCDF. The minister continues to emphasize on education. As he alluded…”it is common knowledge that no country can advance in the modern world without preparing the younger generation for their future responsibilities. The learning environment where children are prepared for further academic exposure is very critical for their success. I am therefore please to see our provincial government taking the responsibility to invest in education to guarantee the future of next generation of leaders in the country.”
Isabel provincial government support for the education sector has been tremendous. The province has delivered a total of 94 completed projects costing $12Million in which 19 are in the education sector. Most educational projects in the province began to impact the lives of the people in rural community areas in the province.
The Minister also highlighted the “performance-based” modality of the “PGSP-PCDF” Program, where disbursement of funds are based on the performances of Provincial Governments. Since the “PGSP-PCDF” program was incepted way back in 2008, its impact on all sectors is truly felt on the ground. Isabel Province is one of the best performing provinces in terms of PCDF and has produced clean audit reports consecutively in the past years. During the recent PCDF Assessment (for years 2020/2021), the performing score mark for the province is 84 out of 100 (84%). An unprecedented achievement and it’s a huge challenge for all provinces to reach this score mark. The modality of the PCDF including its strict measures and conditions has attracted donor support. Recently, the Integrated Economic development and community resilience (IEDCR) funded under the World Bank IDA program (which cost around $190M for the next 5 years) was just recently launched on 4th of November 2022 in Honiara. This program is a “top-up” to the PCDF and focuses on climate change resilience and economic infrastructure development for our Provincial Governments. Other donor partners such as the European Union through UNDP and UNICEF also provided their support ($78M for 3 years) for water, sanitation and education using the PCDF modality. Again, these trust and confidence attained by our development partners were built over years of good decision making and commitment from our Provincial Governments.
The handing over event was also attended by the Premier of Isabel Province, Executive members, members of Isabel Provincial Assembly, Provincial staff, and former Provincial Premiers and provincial members. The current Premier Hon. Rhoda Sikilabu also expressed her gratitude and acknowledgment to the National Government for the great assistance in terms of PCDF funding that caters for the capital development of Provinces. As she stated, “I must thank the National Government for its ongoing commitment and support in providing capital funding for our Provinces thru PCDF. The impact this fund has on all sectors including health and education is well known in the provinces. We are willing to work with the National government in the execution of its policies and to collaborate in providing service to members of our communities”.
So far, there are about 1,300 “PCDF” funded Projects around the country since 2008 and just above 40% of the projects are in the health and education sector. The second PCDF funded classroom is in Lengana, Simbo western province with around 52 meters, which was handed over in 2020. The one at Hoffi School, Isabel is around 73 meters.
The Hoffi classroom handing over ceremony was marked by presentation of gifts, words of acknowledgment, custom dancing, feasting and remarks on the challenges and achievements of community projects. The Minister and delegation are expected back in Honiara during the weekend.