Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands: Education team surveys schools in earthquake-tsunami affected areas

By George Siapu in Gizo

A twenty-member team of officers from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development arrived yesterday in Gizo to carry out assessment survey on schools in areas that were affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami that had devastated the two provinces of Western and Choiseul.

The team has paid a courteous meeting with the Premier of the Western Province, Mr. Alex Lokopio, upon their arrival and was briefed on the current status of relief operations underway in the islands and what to expect in the course of their surveys of schools throughout the stricken areas.

Project Manager of Stabex99/PIU in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Harry Luahiti, who is leading the team, said that they would be divided into 7 groups covering Choiseul Province, Mono/Shortlands, Ranonga/Simbo, Vella La Vella, VonaVona/Rendova/Munda, and Kolombangara.

Mr. Luahiti explained that the assessment team would be assessing the impact this recent disaster had caused to schools and other underlying situations that schools, teachers, students and parents had been through.

Mr. Luahiti said: "In some areas school buildings have either been partly damaged or have suffered other minor structural damages.

"However, it is important to inspect the buildings to determine as to whether they are safe for classes to resume.

"Another fundamental issue at hand that requires assessment is the condition of teachers who have also been victims of the disaster."

He said that it was also important to find out the conditions of teachers as some have been affected in a big way and they might not be in a position to continue classes in a normal way.

Mr. Luahiti pointed out that the assessment of schools is an important exercise which needs to be carried out thoroughly and comprehensively.

He added that the report from this assessment will be provided to the Ministry of Education, Provincial Authorities, and the Government.

"The onus is on these authorities to determine what actions to take", Luahiti said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Luahiti said members of their team would be dispatched to their respective islands of coverage beginning this Thursday.