Facts about Education in the Solomon Islands

With a population of just over 600,000 people, the Solomon Islands are comprised of six major islands and more than 900 smaller islands. The sovereign state’s unique geography and relatively low population make for a unique education system that continues to work toward solving issues such as extreme poverty, remote populations and a serious lack of budget allocation and funding. Below are eight facts about education in the Solomon Islands that dive deeper into what makes the education system so unique, what it is working to improve and how those improvements are being brought about.

8 Facts about Education in the Solomon Islands

  1. There are limited options for higher education.
    Education in the Solomon Islands consists of six years of primary education and seven years of secondary education. Afterward, students who wish to complete a higher education within the Solomon Islands must attend one of three colleges in the country. The colleges are the Solomon Islands Teachers College, the Honiara Technical Institute and a branch of the University of the South Pacific. Apart from these three institutions, limited opportunities for higher education are available.
  2. The country has low completion and attendance rates.
    Less than 50 percent of children residing in the Solomon Islands complete the full six years of primary education. There is no minimum amount of education mandated by law for children. Furthermore, many children are unable to attend to due to an environment of extreme poverty and dedication to a subsistence-based living. Attendance for secondary school is much lower than that of primary and presents a substantial gender skew. For example, 32 percent of the young male population is attending versus 27 percent of young females.
  3. All campuses are in the capital.
    The location of campuses for higher education in the Solomon Islands is problematic for much of the population. All campuses are in the capital city. Therefore, citizens from a poor background or distant location have limited access to achieve success in the higher education center. To counteract this, the Solomon government has established the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education in partnership with the University of the South Pacific. This college offers a diverse set of first-year university courses, complete training for teachers. The school offers education in finances, nursing and secretarial work. Additionally, it teaches technical education for careers uniquely relevant to the Solomon Islands such as fishing, forestry and agriculture.
  4. It has poor government funding.
    Another tidbit among these facts about education in the Solomon Islands is regarding government financial assistance. Public education in the Solomon Islands struggles to receive funding from the Solomon government. This funding can give educators and leaders more ability to reach out to a large population of potential students who are unable to attend otherwise. Government spending on education in the Solomon Islands has decreased to 17 percent.
  5. It has a low literacy rate.
    The average literacy rate for citizens 15 years and older is around 76 percent. This ranks the Solomon Islands 142nd in comparison with other countries in the context of the population’s literacy rate. This low percentage is likely due to a number of factors. Some examples include the lack of compulsory education, low enrollment rates and the prevalence of extreme poverty.
  6. There are improvements to its quality of education.
    The Solomon Island government is currently putting an effort forth in improving the quality of both primary and secondary education within the country. For example, one effort is emphasizing examinations within the education system. These exams focus on approving literacy among students. There are also programs to extend the reach of educational facilities toward communities isolated from urban centers.
  7. Education wasn’t always government-ran.
    Until the 1970s, mission schools provided all education in the Solomon Islands. Afterward, local government authorities took responsibility for education. In 1981, a government act created nine government with the responsibility of local education.
  8. There is an emphasis on vocational training.
    Vocational education is very important in the Solomon Islands. Many who practice subsistence farming and fishing will be able to begin practicing for-profit practices that will bring development to their region.

With a set of unique challenges, these eight facts about education in the Solomon Islands reflect the progress necessary to improve the population’s access to quality education.

– Jordan AbuAljazer
Photo: Flickr

The Economic Benefits of Education
The notion that education and economic growth hold a relationship with each other is not a new idea. However, what is the extent of this relationship? What role does education play in development? And finally, what are the exact economic benefits of education both in the U.S. and abroad?

The Economic Effects of Education

According to the World Bank, one of the pivotal benefits of education is labor market earnings. Workers with more education earn higher wages than employees with no post-secondary education. Those with only a high school degree are twice as susceptible to unemployment than workers with a bachelor’s degree. Median college-educated workers earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school education. Additionally, workers with some college education but no completed degree earn 16 percent more than only high school trained employees.

Education’s value in the economy is also evident in the notorious fall of manufacturing jobs. The loss of 9.3 million manufacturing jobs among non-college educated workers has been strenuous. However, workers with some college education have gained 2.5 million manufacturing jobs.

There is significant data reflecting the education of the majority of technologically-oriented job holders. In fact, 92 percent of patent inventors have a bachelor’s degree and 92 percent of high-tech companies behind the growth of GDP are college educated as well.

The economic benefits of education are undeniably important to the U.S. In the country alone, GDP has potential to increase by $32 trillion, or 14.6 percent if all students are brought up to basic mastery by the National Assessment of Educational Progress standards. Intensive efforts at test score maximization for students in a handful of states with highest economic performance in the U.S. can increase GDP by $76 trillion over approaching decades. Furthermore, improvements in education according to spending on K-12 schooling is said to reap more improvements from investment than the burden of the cost.

The Return on Investment (ROI) of Education

Above the economic benefits of education is an ROI that investors cannot overlook. The global rate of ROI in schooling is approximately 10 percent for primary education, five percent for secondary education and 16 percent for university education. Social ROI of education for the world is 18.9 percent for primary education, 13.1 percent for secondary education and 10.8 for higher education. Finally, private ROI of education for the world is 26.6 percent for primary education, 17 percent for secondary education and 19.0 for higher education.

It is worth noting that girls have higher ROI for secondary education at 18 percent while boys have 14 percent. However, boys have higher ROI for primary education than girls, 20 percent versus 13 percent. Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa have the highest ROI on both social and private education. Overall, another year of education raises earnings by 10 percent a year. The 10 percent ROI for education investments is higher than alternatives: 1.4 percent for treasury bills, 5.3 percent for treasury bonds, 4.7 percent for savings accounts, 3.8 percent for housing and 7.4 percent for physical assets.

Next Steps Forward

The economic benefits of education are clear for the entire globe. Nevertheless, there are further steps to maximizing productivity and reaping even more economic benefits of education.

  1. Increase investment in the quality of primary schooling, given that primary education has expanded exponentially already
  2. Promote educational efficiency in policy through policymakers and government
  3. Reform school management systems and implement more effective performance metrics
  4. Implement more effective and fair approaches to school funding
  5. Report more data on school performance

Education has the power to uplift a country and establish a healthy, efficient economy. It has also played a pivotal role in the increase of productivity and wages amongst workers and proved to be a successful endeavor for investors. Fortunately, there is much more potential within education to help the world to flourish.

– Roberto Carlos Ventura
Photo: Flickr