The new Education Act 2023 came into force on Monday, January 1st, 2024, following the assent by the Governor General, Sir David Vunagi, and the signing by the Caretaker Minister of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), Hon. Lanelle Olandrea Tanangada, on December 14th, 2023.
The commencement date of the Education Act 2023 is published in Legal Notice No. 85 of 2023. This means that the Education Act comes into operation on January 1st, 2024, replacing the Education Act of 1978 (CAP 69).
The commencement of the Act marks a landmark achievement for the country, addressing the administration and regulation of Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary Education. This includes provisions for the registration of teachers, education providers, schools, and early childhood education centres, thereby repealing the Education Act (CAP.69) and addressing related purposes.
The achievement is historic for the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through MEHRD. The Education Bill project commenced in 2014 with the review and wide-country consultations on the Education Act of 1978. The drafting of the Education Bill was guided by the Education White Paper, which Parliament passed in August 2015. The Education White Paper provided the drafting policy for the new Education Act of 2023.
The new Act grants powers to the Minister and Permanent Secretary to administer the implementation of the Act and subordinate documents. These include Education Regulations, Funding Code, Education Learning Framework, and Administrative Instructions. The provisions cover various aspects, such as Provincial Education Coordination, Education Providers, School Boards and School Communities, Schools, Early Childhood Education Centres, Teachers and Leaders, and Forms.
While the ministry (MEHRD) acknowledges the commencement of the Act, not every provision will be enacted on the commencement date. An implementation plan devised by the Education Legislative Framework-Technical Working Group (ELF TWG) will guide the Ministry on what provisions get implemented sequentially.
Key features of the Education Act include:
Fostering an understanding and critical appreciation of moral, spiritual, religious, social, and cultural values shaping Solomon Islands society.
Promoting culture, customs, values, and attitudes fostering societal harmony and positive outcomes.
Nurturing a sense of personal identity, self-esteem, and awareness of one’s abilities, aptitudes, and limitations.
Promoting equal educational opportunity for all, addressing economic, social, physical, and mental factors hindering potential development.
Developing intellectual skills, a spirit of inquiry, and the capacity to analyze issues critically and constructively.
Fostering a spirit of self-reliance, innovation, initiative, and imagination.
Providing students with the necessary education to support the country’s economic development and enable effective societal contributions.
Creating tolerant, responsible, caring, and politically aware citizens who understand their rights and responsibilities.
Ensuring young Solomon Islanders acquire a keen awareness of their national heritage, identity, and respect and care for the environment.
Meanwhile, the Ministry acknowledges the governments of Australia and New Zealand for their continuous financial support under the Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) towards the education reform program leading to the commencement of the Act.
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