Solomon Islands has been implementing various education reforms to improve its delivery of quality learning in schools. Among the reforms is the introduction of the Community High Schools mostly in rural areas as a way to increase educational access in rural Solomon Islands. Using a case study approach, this study examines the nature of this reform in rural education with particular reference to how well rural Solomon Islands is faring in terms of quality education ideals. Based on in-depth interviews with the case study school principals and teachers and site visits, the study identifies lack of financial resources, inadequate teaching and learning resources, lack of qualified teachers, low teacher-student ratios, frequent teacher absenteeism and lack of community support as the key issues that are hindering the provision of quality learning. There are number of implications derive from the findings. The study identified that there is a pressing need for the rural day-community high schools to be upgraded to boarding school status to accommodate students recruited from distant villages. The scarcity of land and financial resources are preventing the schools to improve the quality of learning. If education is to be a tool for rural development, policies must be implemented to assess educational inputs and outcomes. The low teacher-student ratio and the on-going problem of lack of resources could be addressed by amalgamating the existing small rural community high schools into regional boarding schools. Finally, in order to regain community support schools need to embrace the concept of a community learning centre as a means of providing community education and skills training to entire the community thus contributing to rural development.
|Keywords:||Rural Education, Quality Learning, Community High School, Solomon Islands|
PhD Candidate in Peace Studies, Centre for Peace Studies , School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Senior Lecturer, School of Education,, Teaching and Learning,, Faculty of the Professions, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
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