Australia recently provided 20 laptops and associated accessories to Tabaka Rural Training Centre in the Western Province to ensure access to skills training for young people in the Solomon Islands and to improve their learning experiences and outcomes.
The handover was part of Australia’s commitment to strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Solomon Islands through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC).
The laptops were presented by the Second Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands, Christina Skoumbourdis to the Education Secretary for the United Church Education Authority, Jacqueline Turanga, and the Tabaka Rural Training Centre Principal, Michael Dive.
“The Rural Training Centres (RTCs) play a vital role in the economic development of the Solomon Islands. Australia is committed through APTC to support efforts of TVET providers to build appropriately skilled workforce in the Solomon Islands and the Pacific,” Ms Skoumbourdis said.
The handover complements Australia’s earlier contribution of a student bus to Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI), and three boats and engines to Afutara Adventist Technical Institute, Tabaka Rural Training Centre and Batuna Rural Training Centre.
As Australia’s flagship TVET program in the region, APTC works closely with local industries and national training providers to ensure the training provided to students meet domestic and international training needs. APTC will continue to invest in TVET infrastructure, strengthen the capability of TVET providers, including expanding partnerships with RTCs.
Since its establishment in 2007, APTC has helped train more than 2000 Solomon Islanders with Australian skills and qualifications.
Mr Dive commended Australia for supporting them with the much-needed ICT equipment. He further said the new equipment will greatly benefit trainer delivery and student learning pathways, and assist in school administration.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our skills training delivery. These ICT assets will play a crucial role in improving knowledge dissemination, expanding access to information, improving the quality and effectiveness of learning, and enable training providers like Tabaka to provide more effective services to our staff and students,” he added.
In acknowledging Australia’s assistance, Ms Turanga said it will directly impact the training delivery and administration of the school. She further said, the use of these laptops will build the professional and personal capacities of trainers and students in using modern technologies.
On behalf of the students, Tabaka Head Girl, Nester Hitu, conveyed their appreciation for the generous support from the Australian Government.
“Thank you for recognising our educational needs. The ICT equipment will boost our ability for research and learning of the various subject areas the school is offering. We will also take good care of the equipment,” she said.
The handover ceremony on 25 August 2021 was attended by representatives from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, United Church Education Office, Tabaka RTC staff and students together with APTC staff and alumni.