Lighting a Fire VSA’s role in promoting education leadership in the Solomon Islands

This study examines Volunteer Service Abroad’s (VSA) contribution to in-service teacher training in the Solomon Islands, and the role of New Zealand volunteers in strengthening educational leadership.

VSA has been involved in education in the Pacific for nearly 50 years and for most of that time it has been providing New Zealand volunteers to schools as teachers and educationalists. However there has been a shift in development thinking which has seen this approach questioned, and more emphasis placed on in-service teacher training and promoting professional leadership of schools.

This case study, based on VSA’s recent experience in the Solomon Islands, discusses a new approach to strengthening school leadership in the many remote, isolated and underresourced schools of the Solomon Islands.

There has been considerable discussion, effort, time and resources put into teacher training in the Solomon Island over the last forty years. So why is it that so many children are still taught by untrained teachers? Is it just the result of a large population increase? Have teachers left the profession? Was the recent ‘civil war’ a factor? What has been done to improve the situation? How can better outcomes for these children be achieved? These, and other, questions have been exercising local education officials, and other agencies (including VSA) currently working in the education sector in the Solomon Islands.

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