Shifting policy perspectives and practices: From access to basic education to prioritizing revenue collection


  • Grace Rohoana Solomon Islands National University


School leaders in Solomon Islands have shifted away from the basic education policy that promotes equitable access to quality basic education to practices that target high enrolment to generate revenue. This research highlights the implications of this shift and its impact on quality education. It aims at finding the balance between the school’s financial viability and the imperative to provide equitable and quality education for all children. The following questions are examined: 1) What are the different types of fees charged for educating a child in Solomon Islands; 2) Are schools enrolling students in numbers that match the infrastructure and human resources available locally? 3) Are the grants provided by the government adequate to administer schools? The significance of the study lies in its potential to inform education policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders about the consequences of this changing agenda. Parent experiences on fees charged, school children and teacher’s experiences on the impacts of high enrolments are explored. School Leaders rationale for charging different types of fees were sought. A total of 12 participants were involved in this research. Data collected via tok stori were recorded and subsequently transcribed, qualitatively analyzed and thematically organized. Data showed that schools in the capital, Honiara, experienced high school enrolment, putting pressure on the limited infrastructures available and overloading teachers. Apart from normal fees, schools charged various fees for registration, school development, church program, parent contributions and student transfer. The study provides important insights into the challenges posed by the shifting perspective and practices towards prioritizing revenue collection over access through increased student enrollment.