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LEAP: Improving education in the Solomon Islands

Initiative type:
Project (concluded)
Sector:
Education
Website:
UniServices Contact:

Opportunity

Solomon Islands has grown its formal education system enormously in the four decades since independence from British rule. However, the education system faces significant challenges including a linguistically and culturally diverse population spread over hundreds of islands, a low per capita GDP and a history of colonialism and conflict.

The Solomon Islands government and its development partners consider improving the education system crucial to stability and long-term economic growth. As such, in partnership with the Solomon Islands government, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded the Leaders and Education Authorities Project (LEAP) in the Solomon Islands and contracted a consortium led by UniServices, via Tui Tuia | Learning Circle (then known as Future Learning Solutions), to implement it from 2017-20.

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School Leadership Mentors with UniServices Professional Learning and Development Coordinator Emilie Sila'ila'i (bottom, second from left) and LEAP programme manager Irene Kmudu Paulsen (bottom centre)

 

 

Improving education in the Solomon Islands

The consortium delivering LEAP in partnership with the Solomons Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development consisted of UniServices, the Institute of Education of the University of the South Pacific and an indigenous Solomon Islands movement of educational leaders known as the Fellowship of Faithful Mentors.

The project’s overall purpose was to help schools in the Solomon Islands improve students’ literacy and learning through strengthening the work of Provincial Education Authorities (PEAs) and school leadership. The project worked with 85 primary schools in six provinces and was extended twice.

With more than 90 percent of personnel being Solomon Islanders, the project was firmly grounded in Solomons culture and provided opportunities for locals to engage at various levels from design to management and implementation.

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Horiz-Solomon Islands village
“Solomon Islander teachers, school leaders and Education Authorities see the programme as their own because they see locals participating in it and they are very willing to support it.”
Irene Kmudu Paulsen,
LEAP programme manager

“Solomon Islander teachers, school leaders and Education Authorities see the programme as their own because they see locals participating in it and they are very willing to support it,” said Irene Kmudu Paulsen, PhD, who was the UniServices LEAP programme manager.

“The methodologies for engagement, delivery and monitoring are relevant to the cultural context and so stakeholders are able to understand the purpose and outcomes of the programme clearer and better.”


Performance

LEAP resulted in successful initiatives such as the development of school improvement plans, classroom visits to support the teaching of writing, and literacy workshops supported by the mentors.

By working closely with the PEAs, school leaders and teachers, LEAP worked to improve management at the PEA level and strengthen leadership at the school level to improve learners’ reading and writing skills. LEAP identified problems at each of these levels and created solutions together.

The success of the programme did not go unnoticed. It was featured on the front page of the national newspaper, the Solomon Star.

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“The newspaper article is one of many testaments that this programme has captured the hearts and the minds of those who are participating and is effective in raising literacy achievement in a Solomon Island-specific way,” said Jeff Nikoia, the UniServices director of strategic growth who worked with the project.

Emillian Papasa, the head teacher of Lunga Primary School, said in the Solomon Star: “We want to thank the LEAP program because through that program we are more open-minded to what our roles are and now we are able to do our work effectively.”

“We want to thank the LEAP program because through that program we are more open-minded to what our roles are and now we are able to do our work effectively.”
Emillian Papasa, head teacher, Lunga Primary School
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