By EDDIE OSIFELO
EDUCATION Minister wants education infrastructures in the country given top priority due to the increasing population growth it is facing.
Minister of Education and Human Resources, Lannelle Tanangada told Parliament this week that the development budget for the education infrastructure has declined over the years and with the compounded population growth of 2.3%, it is becoming an important matter to be considered as a high priority.
She said population growth has become an overarching factor that all sectors of the government needs to address.
“The allocation of only $4,750,000 for the education infrastructure is not adequate to support the required additional infrastructure development of schools in order to accommodate the country’s population growth.
“The MEHRD senior management team has discussed this with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and Ministry of National Planning and Development officials and a general consensus has been reached, to gradually increase the development budget provided to MEHRD,” she said.
Minister Tanangada said to accommodate the additional places especially at the senior secondary school level, her ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, and the Ministry of National Planning and Coordination is working on a senior secondary education expansion project proposal, to seek financial support from an international financial institution for Government considerations.
“Subject to the interest and approval of government to invest in the education sector, a new project called Senior Secondary School Improvement Program will be designed and developed through support from the financial institution identified and to be completed around June/July this year,” she said.
In the meantime, the Ministry’s Development Budget (472) has increased from $24 million in 2020 to $34,750,000 this year.
This is an increase of 21.9% from $28,500,000 in 2020.
However, only $4,750,000 has been allocated for the education infrastructure (school infrastructure projects), while $30,000,000 is allocated to the Solomon Islands National University.
Due to budget cuts, the Ministry will implement school infrastructure projects with the budget made available.