This idea for free basic education was raised many times by past governments moreover, it was also highlighted in many political campaigns. Interestingly, one of the S.I Country Reports (National HIV Policy and Multi-sectoral strategic Plan 2005 - 2010 (MHMS)) indicated that primary school fees were eliminated in 2004. I'm not sure which school fees this particular report refers to. However, I hope this time, free education at primary level up to form 3, will be progressively implimented beginning in 2009 given the information outlined by the current Finance Minister.
However, to some extent, I find this idea of free education quite interesting when looking through the S.I Education Strategic Framework 2007-2015. I noted that some of the objectives outlined in the framework included: providing adequate number of schools, classrooms, desks, dormitories and other infrastructure; Providing adequate number of qualified teachers and other workers, in the education sector; Providing adequate number of modern, relevant teaching and learning materials, facilities, equipment and materials and so forth. I know that some of these objectives are in progress to be achieved. Actually, the achievement of these objectives will be the benchmarks from which other directions will undertaken. Now in anticipation to the implications from free education I just have some doubts about how these objectives will be eventually achieved or near some high degree of reaching the adequate state whereby they will be sustained and maintained in long terms. Definitely there will be an influx due to the anticipated increase number of student enrollment when there is free education.
After all, some of the main constraints in our education system are lack of space, facilities, resources and qualified teachers, not so much on school fees except that some schools are very expensive. I hope this government has put more effort to ensure the achievement of some of the benchmarks outlined in 2007-2015 Education framework such that free education will be facilitated adequately in providing quality education to all. Not only for future employment but for individuals to possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to earn a living and to live
in harmony with others and their environment.
Finally, as expressed by some parents and stakeholders of schools in some developed countries that have free basic education, there will be more school fundraisings and donations which at times can be unfair and frustrating.
Thank you editor.
Free Education in S.I
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Lionel Kakai and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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