“We want it to be the best in the region.”
These were the words of Dr. Kofi Apreku, head of the Solomon Islands National University’s School of Fisheries at Ranadi, East Honiara.
The department was only revived early last year, with an intake of 51 students.
It was defunct for a while, until a $40 million dollar funding from Korea International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, plus $10 million dollars from the national government, saw a new complex of its own next to the Marine School at Ranadi.
The buildings were completed in December 2017 and last year the department opened its doors offering certificate, diploma and degree courses.
Already Dr. Apreku has big plans to turn it into an institute and make it one of the best in the region.
“Fisheries is an upcoming growing economic sector within economies all over the world particularly within developing countries. So it is essential that if we have that opportunity here in the Solomon Islands, then we really have to put in all the necessary effort we need to make it become what it ought to be.”
Dr Apreku said the department has the potential to attract regional and international students that will boost the country’s economy.
“Look at the amount of money that government sends every year to Fiji and other places for students to study the same thing. We have staff here. We have seen people coming from Fiji University and they don’t have the kind of facilities and equipment we have here in the fisheries school in Fiji.
“So why can’t we concentrate on that here and stop sending money to Fiji? We are growing the Fijian economy.
“If we can attract similar numbers of foreign students here, we can also grow our economy.”
The school last year imposed very strong discipline with strict rules against smoking and chewing betel nut within the premises.
The students were encouraged to wear smart clothes including closed shoes for girls and long pants for the boys.
“We want them to be the best here, so they can go out and be the best anywhere”, Dr. Apreku said.
The school will open its doors again this year with a new intake of students. A total of 104 applicants have been accepted for its courses.
SIBC Online understands, the department will conduct interviews with the candidates this week.
By: Kikiva Tuni