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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Provincial Solomons Literacy Rates Reflect National Deficiency
Government called to pay more attention to public education

By Daniel Namosuia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 30, 2012) – Only 20.2 percent of 1,503 people surveyed in the Solomon Islands’ Central Province can read and write, a latest assessment reveals.

Coalition for Education Solomon Islands (COESI) carried out the assessment.

Its report showed out of the 1,503 people surveyed, 13.6 percent had never attended school and only 52.6 percent had completed primary school.

The report further showed that only 7.6 percent of the total interviewed completed secondary school.

National coordinator of COESI Paul Junior Kakai said this reflected on the very high illiteracy rate in the country and sends a signal to relevant authorities to seriously address this problem.

Mr. Kakaki said addressing inclusive and community based education is vital for policy makers to consider the significance of these key areas that need more attention and support from the government and key stakeholders.

The report was produced based on a simple assessment of reading, writing, arithmetic and comprehension.

It said almost half (49.0%) of those assessed are non-literate and almost a third (30.9%) as semi-literate.

Interesting findings in the Central islands also points to males to be more literate than females with only 16 percent of females assessed to be literate compared to males with 24.9 percent.

Over 56.3 percent of females were assessed to be non-literate compared to 40.7 percent males.

However, despite the poor literacy finding in Central Province, it does points to the positive correlation of schooling with literacy.

Findings of the report also showed that ongoing poor quality of primary and secondary education in that province is one noticeable factor to higher rate of non-literate population.

While the report highlighted the importance of the right of all Solomon Islanders to basic education, it is unfortunate that many in the province continue to miss out on quality education opportunities.

It therefore calls on policy makers and action to be taken by the government, donors, civil society organization, stakeholders and the communities to consider how best to address this issue of high illiteracy in the country and especially in Central Province.

Solomon Star
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