11 December 2016
Australia’s New Colombo Plan Supports Teacher Exchange
Twenty students from Australian Catholic University recently visited Solomon Islands to undertake teaching placements, supported by Australia’s prestigious New Colombo Plan. The New Colombo Plan was launched by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in 2014.
The student teachers from Australia assisted classes in Poposi Primary School on Savo, and Bishop Epalle School in Honiara for a total of four weeks. This is the eighth consecutive year that Australia Catholic University (ACU) has brought students to Solomon Islands to undertake placements in Bishop Epalle School. Australian Government support has enabled ACU to expand the program by bringing more student teachers this year, and by venturing to the new location in Savo.
Michael Hassett, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, joined the students and community of Poposi Primary School in Savo last month to celebrate the new partnership, and to learn first-hand the effect that the Australian student teachers are having on education in Savo.
‘The opportunity to gain a high quality education is a fundamental right for all people across the world. The commitment of the community on Savo to ensuring children have access to education is clear, and the Australian Government, through initiatives such as the New Colombo Plan, is proud to support you in your efforts to continue to educate future generations to come.’
Education is a priority sector for the Australian aid program in Solomon Islands. Australia announced a four year, AUD 50 million (SBD 300 million) package of assistance for education in Solomon Islands in December 2015. The program supports the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development to increase access for children and young adults to schools, training centres and universities, and to improve the quality of their learning at all levels.
‘The Australian Government has an enduring commitment to support development in Solomon Islands. The New Colombo Plan is a great initiative to help do just that, while building long-lasting people to people links,’ Mr Hassett said.
Also under the New Colombo Plan, a group of Australian students from James Cook University have been sharing their knowledge of healthy living and exercise science with communities in Atoifi (Malaita Province) over the past few weeks.
The Australian Government recently announced continuing support for the New Colombo Plan in Solomon Islands for 2017, including another group of student teachers from Australian Catholic University.