4 January 2023
In his recent New Year address to the nation, the Governor General, Sir David Vunagi, GCMG, once again highlighted the need to address the growing unemployment in the Solomon Islands
His speech was reported in today’s edition of the Island Sun newspaper, which I quote.
“Growing unemployment must be urgently addressed, says Governor General
.This comes after university graduates and school drop outs could not find any jobs in both public and private sectors.
Delivering his New Year’s message on the 1st of January 2023, Sir David said it is obvious there are no quick solutions to this problem.
He said the seasonal mobility schemes in Australia and New Zealand may assist to alleviate the situations, but not the panacea.
Sir David said maybe the graduates and schools should try to create job opportunities and not merely waiting around to be employed.
Furthermore, he said Solomon Islands is abundantly rich in resources, which are divine gifts for us to use and enjoy.
“In view of that, universities, schools and training centres need to review the curriculum they offer to the students.
“The status quo for schools and university to prepare their students for white collar jobs or even blue-collar jobs is no longer true,” he said.
Sir David said very often students graduated with theory and academia, something very abstract but lacking economic strategy.
“I believe economic strategy is a missing link that needs to be incorporated into the schools’ curriculum.
“The economic strategy should instill in students what is available to them after graduations, including what financial facility is available to help them create jobs,” he said.
Further to that, Sir David said students must be encouraged to exercise resilience and the freedom of taking risks to pursue tasks to create jobs.
He said it is the moral responsibility of the nation to see these things available for newly graduating students from our universities, schools and training centres.
Moreover, he said it’s been a practice that school levers drift to urban centres in search for job opportunities.
However, he said constituencies that make up the nine provinces are resource owners.
“That said, provincial governments are indirectly resource owners, so they should engage in economic activities to provide job opportunities for their working age populations in their provinces.
“Let us not put all the eggs in the national basket,” he said.
Sir David said after 44 years of Independence, we should now be able to define the manpower needs of this country.
He said in the pre-independence era, scholarships were offered to successful candidates who would occupy jobs that are available to them when they graduated from universities.
However, he said that is not happening now because we are offering scholarships to students that do not have jobs to come back to.
“In view of that, we must establish a general conscious plan for training where our human resources development can take us to.
“It is only those who do not know where they are going can afford to travel without a map,” he said.”
End of quote.