The government received the first payment of 2.5-million dollars for the 2009 Fee Free Basic Education Program in Solomon Islands.

The funds were handed to the government by the Taiwanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands, George Chan, as the Government begins implementing its fee free basic education policy this year.

The fund will assist the Solomon Islands Government to subsidise school fees for school children from pre-school to Form 3 in more than 600 primary schools and 200 secondary schools throughout the country.

Ambassador Chan said the Taiwan Government has agreed to allocate a total of 10-million Solomon dollars to support this project, which will be made in four payments disbursed in January and June of 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Mr. Chan said the funds will benefit the majority of the young population of Solomon Islands through access to basic education as well as parents from the burden of paying school fees.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua thanked Ambassador Chan and Taiwan Government for the assistance.

He said the funding assistance has again justified Taiwan's firm determination to help Solomon Islands on its national education programs.

Dr. Sikua said the Taiwan Government's funding for the Fee Free Basic Education Project has added to its other commitment in the education and training sector, such as funding for overseas scholarships, vocational training courses and teaching materials.

Dr. Sikua said the provision of fee free basic education is one of the main priorities of the CNURA government.

He said apart from the subsidised school fees, the Government will continue to give other additional grants in support of its fee free basic education policy.

Dr. Sikua said NZAID and SIG are the other two parties who also contributed funds to implement the fee free basic education policy.

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