DEAR EDITOR, recent media statements by the Hon Premier of Central Islands Province on the need for development of senior secondary education and the provision of provincial scholarships for teachers in Central Islands Province; Requires the overhaul of the Province’s Education Authority, innovations and creativity in the Provincial Administration, and most importantly stability in the Provincial Government; apart from the normal business of drawing up same old ineffective annual education action plans.
That the need for development of senior secondary education in the province’s secondary schools to provide for F4 to F7 was identified strategised and included in the CIP Education Authority Strategic Plans and Policies, during the late Patterson Mae’s Government in 2012/13.
Besides, the need to build more boarding schools as well as improving the capacity of current boarding schools was also identified, since school placements at those times did not take into consideration the accommodation need of students coming from outside the schools’ normal catchment area.
On the provision and sponsorship of scholarships by the Provincial Government; it was identified at that time, that since scholarship opportunities offered by SIG and other donor partners were very competitive with often complex and complicated requirements, the chance of untrained teachers securing those scholarships would be very low.
Thus the province must come up with its own initiatives and creativity in securing funds for provincial scholarships especially for the untrained teachers.
Evidently Makira, Choiseul and Guadalcanal Provinces with funds secured from donor organisations and their own budgetary allocations already sponsored their students to tertiary institutions during those times.
Potentially Central Islands Province was getting on the road to implementation process at that time. But unfortunately those policies and strategic plans never eventuated more than an inch of a length to date, because of;
- Infighting for the Chief Education Officer’s post in the Central Islands Province Education Authority (that is obviously on-going to date)
- Involvement in corrupt under table dealings and practices by some staff members of the CIP Education Authority in protecting their network with some teachers for personal interests and gains (still evident to date)
- Retention of unproductive staffs in the CIP Education Authority who already outlived their usefulness and are lacking innovations and creativity (becoming very obvious to this present day).
- Lack of own development initiative by the Provincial Administration and Provincial Government in its direct administration and employment structures including working machineries to provide for education development; seeing that relying heavily on seconded administration employees is inefficient and ineffective
- Instability in the Provincial Government almost in every single 4-year-term of the Provincial Assembly that distorts, disturbs, disrupts and destroys the province’s development strategies as far as policies and plans are concerned. Since the formulation of the Provincial Development Strategic Plans and Policies by the late Patterson Mae-led Government in collaboration with PGISP of the Ministry of Provincial Government, Central Province has seen consecutive changes of 4 Provincial Governments with 4 new premiers in 8 years.
So if Premier Vasuni is serious enough in improving the education sector in Central Islands Province, then he must tidy up the CIP Education Authority, remove unproductive staffs, establish direct administration and employment structures with working machineries for education under the CIP Government; in order to re-direct education development to a better and more accommodative level.
Lest he may not be reminded, communities are not obstacle to senior secondary education development in the Province’s schools but the education administration and management structures in Central Islands Province (from the Provincial Government and Administration to the School).
Devolving and non-devolving functions and responsibilities cannot be used as an excuse since education development today in reality does not fit into such descriptions.
Otherwise and most importantly, the Central Islands Province populace might as well stop voting intellectual deficient grass hopping MPAs into the Provincial Assembly.
Former school teacher