Teacher Training starts in Honiara and Auki

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The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) has commenced its 2021 training program to ensure all teachers in Solomon Islands are qualified. Over the next 12 months, the University of the South Pacific (USP) and Solomon Islands National University (SINU) will deliver certificate and diploma-level qualification programs to upskill 554 teachers – 352 from primary schools and 229 from secondary schools across Solomon Islands. Since 2015, with support from Australia and New Zealand, approximately 700 teachers across Makira-Ulawa, Choiseul, Western, Guadalcanal and Temotu have been qualified.

The 2021 cohort of USP Teachers in Training surround MEHRD Permanent Secretary Dr Franco Rodie (centre front), Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan, New Zealand High Commissioner Ms Georgina Roberts, USP Director Dr Billy Fito’o and senior MEHRD staff at the launch of the USP program in Honiara.

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On Monday, representatives from MEHRD and the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions joined acting SINU Vice Chancellor Mr Shadrack Fanega to launch the SINU training program. The program will support teachers to undertake certificate and diploma-level qualifications for primary and secondary school teaching.

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Last week in Honiara, the New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners joined MEHRD Permanent Secretary Dr Franco Rodie and the Director of USP Solomon Islands Campus Dr Billy Fito’o to launch the USP Certificate in Teaching Primary training program. Dr Franco Rodie encouraged the teachers in training to acquire new understanding and instructional skills “It is vital that you keep up to date on the most current concepts, thinking and research in your field and focus on using effective teaching, learning and assessment methods which will enable you to develop effectiveness in the classroom.”

Acting Premier Malaita Province, Hon Nelson Lenty with representatives from MEHRD, USP, New Zealand and Australian High Commissions, and the Malaita Education Authority at the launch of the USP program in Auki, Malaita.

New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts emphasised the significant contributions teachers make to their classrooms, their communities, their country and to the next generation. “Supporting children to learn and grow is integral to shaping and inspiring young Solomon Islanders. In Aotearoa New Zealand we have a saying:  Poipoia te kākano, kia puawai – nurture the seed and it will blossom. You – as teachers – are some of the early nurturers of Solomon Islands’ young students – the seeds of our future.

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Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan spoke about the difference an amazingly talented and caring teacher can make on the lives of children by encouraging them to expand their horizons and ask questions, especially the difficult ones. He noted that teaching is the profession which creates all other professions and urged all teachers to go about their craft with passion, conviction, professionalism and pride.

In Auki, Malaita’s acting Premier Hon Nelson Lenty officially launched the Malaita teacher training program, with over 160 teachers in training present and with representatives from MEHRD, USP and the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions.

Linda Wate, Deputy Secretary, Teaching and Learning, MEHRD explained that supporting certification of teachers in training is a priority for MEHRD for 2021: “MEHRD was excited to award the teacher training contracts to local organisations, USP and SINU, and we expect that more qualified teachers in our schools will lead to better learning achievements for our children.”

The delivery of the teacher in training certification program is supported through the Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) a partnership between Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

The ESSP 2020-2023 aims to improve access to quality basic education for all children in Solomon Islands.  The program provides direct budget support for MEHRD to deliver annual work program activities aligned with the National Education Action Plan; technical advisory support to enable capacity development and skills transfer; and grants to non-government organisations (NGOs) to strengthen early childhood care and education and community support for children’s learning.

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