Today, the Solomon Islands Government and Government of New Zealand signed a new three year funding arrangement of SBD165, 000,000 to improve the quality of basic education and to ensure all Solomon Islands children can go to school.

The signing of this arrangement builds upon the strong partnership that already exists between the two countries to improve education in Solomon Islands.

Over the past six years that the Solomon Islands and New Zealand Governments have worked together on basic education, the partnership has achieved good progress.

Some examples are: The number of children enrolled in primary school has increased by 30% from 2003; 289 classroom blocks have been built under the partnership between 2004 and 2009; 96% of schools received school grants in 2009 for material and minor maintenance; 1850 teachers have been trained at the School of Education since 2004; Textbooks and teachers' guides for English and Mathematics have been developed, printed and delivered to every primary school in the country.

Over the next three years, these achievements will be further built upon. Solomon Islands Government will use New Zealand's funds to achieve MEHRD's National and Provincial Education Action Plans towards the two main goals of achieving equitable access to education for all people in Solomon Islands, and improving the quality of education in Solomon Islands.

Minister of Education Matthew Wale expressed his appreciation to the New Zealand government and noted that "carrying out the education plans across the whole country requires both strong and effective Solomon Islands' leadership, and a partnership with donors based on mutual respect and accountability. The Government of the Solomon Islands is committed to devote a significant proportion of its annual budget to education, but also needs the support of donors to succeed with the National and Provincial Education Action Plans, 2010 - 2012. Our attention now must be to ensure delivery of financial resources and support at the classroom level."

New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden highlighted that "improving access to education and the quality of that education is crucial to supporting sustainable economic development in Solomon Islands. We are glad to be able to support the Solomon Islands' Government in pursuing this aim. By providing support directly to the Ministry of Education, we hope to ensure that as much of this aid as possible reaches the places where it is most needed."

Source: Press Release (Government Communications Unit)