Forty eight Solomon Islanders will study at Australian or regional universities next year under Australian scholarships.Twenty-four students will study a wide range of courses including engineering, environmental sciences, economics, education, community development and disability studies at Australian universities, with 24 students studying at regional institutions.
Acting Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Dr Dave Peebles said the scholarships represent an important investment in the long term development needs of Solomon Islands.
"The scholarships are an important part of Australia's partnership with the Solomon Islands Government to reduce poverty and they provide a great opportunity for Solomon Islanders to get a quality education, both at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, to builds skills, leadership, knowledge and expertise," Dr Peebles said.
"When the scholars return home to Solomon Islands, they are able to use these skills to drive change and contribute to development in Solomon Islands. Many former Australian scholars now hold senior positions in both the public and private sectors."
Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Denton Rarawa, who studied in Canberra under a development scholarship, addressed the 2012 scholars.
"Congratulations to next year's scholarship winners. They are highly competitive and you must make full use of this privilege and opportunity," Mr Rarawa said.
"The scholarship will open windows and doors for you with lots of opportunities for you, your family, community and your country."
Dr Peebles said the new scholarship recipients and the recently announced Australian Leadership Awards scholars bring the total number of Solomon Islanders supported by Australian scholarships to around 180 students.
"Australia allocates A$3 million (SBD$21 million) every year to scholarships for Solomon Islanders, reinforcing a major investment in both education and the future of Solomon Islands."
"This investment in the scholarship program and education more generally, is helping the Solomon Islands Government to meet the future training, and human resource development needs of the country."
In addition to the ADS, Australia also supports Solomon Islanders to undertake Australian standard technical qualifications through the Australian Pacific Technical College.