Australia provides SBD$24 million to keep our primary schools open

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Australia helps keep schools open

Australia is committed to primary school education in Solomon Islands, providing SBD24 million to keep primary schools open.

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At the request of the Solomon Islands Government, Australia has allocated this funding to help schools meet operating costs during this period of financial strain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will top up the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development’s (MEHRD) reduced 2021 budget allocation for primary school operating grants. MEHRD will pass on the funds to all primary schools as part of its second bi-annual disbursement of school grants in July and August.

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This additional funding for school grants will complement the ongoing support provided by Australia under the Education Sector Support Program (ESSP).  The ESSP is a partnership with the governments of Solomon Islands and New Zealand to improve access to quality basic education for all children in Solomon Islands. The ESSP also includes activities focused on ensuring children can continue learning throughout the pandemic.

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At an event held at Naha Adventist Primary School to mark the handover of the school grants funding from Australia to MEHRD, the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Lanelle Tanangada acknowledged the budgetary pressures being faced by the Government and said, “The additional funding provided by the Australian Government will go a long way to help primary schools in our country to operate until the end of the year.  This is a great help from a good friend in a time of need.”

Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said economies around the world have been hit hard by the COVID pandemic with education funding under enormous pressure. “That’s why Australia has increased its funding to Solomon Islands to deal with the impacts of the pandemic. For education, we’re doing everything we can to help keep schools open in Solomon Islands. It’s so important that every girl and every boy receives an education. We do not want children to fall behind in their education during the pandemic.”

These funds are part of a SBD60 million funding package for Solomon Islands delivered this year through the Australian Government’s Pacific COVID-19 Response Package to support the economic recovery of its Pacific neighbours. Under this package, Australia has also provided SBD30 million to the Solomon Islands Water Authority to improve water and sanitation for vulnerable communities, and $6 million to support Solomon Airlines, focusing on aviation safety. 

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