Establishment of new university grounded on quality tertiary education
BY JARED KOLI
THE establishment of John Coleridge Patterson University (JCPU) is grounded on the need to provide quality tertiary education at the undergraduate level; and even at the postgraduate level.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM), The Most Reverend Leonard Dawea highlighted this during the dedication and laying of the foundation stone on the 167 hectors land in Central Guadalcanal, Saturday.
“We must provide quality tertiary education, at least at the undergraduate level, or even at the postgraduate level for our own people,” Dawea said.
“The vision to establish JCPU is by far, grounded on this need, and not on the desire for competition,” the Archbishop added.
He said with the general population having become much better educated, the needs are greater.
“Our people can no longer be shipped out to foreign countries and cultures to gain tertiary degrees at an enormous cost.”
Archbishop Dawea said the establishment of JCPU sought to complement the continuing learning academic excellence that Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) are currently delivering to the nation and its people.
“However, with this establishment, the university will seek to maintain and instill Christian discipline and moral values in the overall university life, in order to grow ethical and principled leadership to be consistent with the foundational values of Solomon Islands and the Republic of Vanuatu,” he said.
The dedication on Saturday officially marks the full control of the land by the church from the landowners, which will now allow them to start building the university.
Dawea said the vision to establish a church university has long been with the church for almost two decades after a resolution to explore the idea of establishing a university was first discussed in the 12th General Synod in Honiara in November 2008.
He said the plan was further discussed and reviewed three years later in 2011, in which the church has decided to make a commitment that could meaningfully translate the foundational philosophy of the Melanesian Mission that would draw on holistic approach to socio-economic, educational, religious and technical development.
The Archbishop said the church left obligated to provide such educational needs to maintain her historical legacy in providing quality educational opportunities to islanders since the Melanesian Mission was began in the early 1849.
Dawea said for many nations overseas, the separation of Church and government is clearly defined, the exact opposite is true of Solomon Islands, especially in the fields of education and development.
“The church was in the islands before any form of government was established, but after the governments were formed, there was a distinct partnership relationship between church and state,” he said.
Dawea stated it was the church that established the first teachers’ training college, the first school of nursing and the first theological college, all of them in the 19th or early 20th century.
But he said in the 21st century, with the general population having become much educated, the needs are greater.
Permanent Secretary of Education and Human Resources Development, Dr Franco Rodie said this is not the very first time that the ACoM has planted a seed in education.
Dr Rodie said the government will be supporting the new university.