The new draft policy on Government funded scholarships will shift the focus on training towards preparing Solomon Islanders for jobs that are in demand in the labour market.

The new policy which will become effective this year is a result of a review of the Tertiary Education policy, which was a 2013 National Education Action Plan activity of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development.

In the new policy, training needs of Solomon Islands to be delivered either in the country or abroad are based on the labour market demand.

The Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) will lead the assessment of demand through research and consultation with local industries.

It is also intended that there will be greater fairness in the way scholarships are allocated across provinces. Female students will receive an increasing allocation of the scholarships awarded.

The policy is necessary to ensure that scholarships are properly managed so that the country gets the expected returns from its investment on human resources.

Under the previous policy, scholarships were awarded based on students’ own areas of interest but that has now been changed to meet the local labour market demand in the long term.

The new measures are put in place so that the government does not repeat challenges that it has faced in the past.

In addition, the Ministry of Education is developing a new database to record management of scholarships.

The aim is to allow students to view information about their scholarship and apply for scholarships or requests for information on-line.

The new administration is part of improving the delivery of services to candidates and scholarship students.

The Ministry will also be giving greater emphasis on explaining the new policy during 2014 so that the new system is fully implemented in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Government has reduced the number of scholarship awards for 2014 as part of measures to control tertiary education scholarships with the need to link awards to labour market demands.

Press Release: GCU