29 May 2007

New universities planned for Solomons

4:02 pm on 29 May 2007

New universities are being set up in Solomon Islands to meet the growing demand for higher education.

The Church of Melanesia is planning to set up its own university on Guadalcanal, the second new tertiary education institution announced this year.

The University of Papua New Guinea is also setting up a campus in Honiara, which aims to offer degree and diploma level courses from next year.

Its executive director, Dr Abdul Mannan, says the number of school leavers in the Solomons is rising fast, and those who want to go to university have to travel overseas, where they pay high international fees.

He says the university will offer a variety of subjects from accounting and public policy to nursing, as well as basic reading and writing.

"So they can do our courses which will give strength in literacy and numeracy. At the same time, we offer skill-based courses. So they will acquire more skills and they can get employment in business houses and professional areas, or they can go back to their community and contribute."

Dr Mannan says they're aiming to fund the university through student fees, but would like government help to meet initial set-up costs.