- 1 Overview
- 2 Education in Solomon Islands
- 3 Internet in Solomon Islands
- 4 Copyright law in Solomon Islands
- 5 OER Initiatives in Solomon Islands
- 6 References
The Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. Together they cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (10,965 sq mi). The population is 523,000. The capital is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal. The North Solomon Islands are divided between the independent Solomon Islands and Bougainville Province in Papua New Guinea. The Solomon Islands are believed to have been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred in the Solomon Islands campaign of 1942–45, including the Battle of Guadalcanal. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. The Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. Since 1998 ethnic violence, government misconduct and crime have undermined stability and society. In June 2003 an Australian-led multinational force, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace, disarm ethnic militias and improve civil governance.
For further general information see Wikipedia:Solomon Islands.
Education in Solomon Islands
For a general description of education in Solomon Islands see Education:Solomon Islands.
For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Solomon Islands.
Until recently, USP and SICHE were the major distance education providers in the Solomons. The USP has been in the country since the early 1970s. The USP’s Campus on Guadalcanal provides local USP students with access to video broadcast courses, online learning materials and teleconferencing facilities (both video and audio). This access has been greatly enhanced since the USPNet upgrade in 2006. SICHE has offered distance education courses since the mid 1990s. SICHE offers a number of distance education-based bridging courses targeting students pushed out of the secondary system due to the shortage of places. NZAid is working with SICHE to convert a number of existing mainstream vocational courses to distance education mode. UPNG is a recent entrant to the distance education marketplace. The UPNG Open Campus in Honiara was only established in 2009. The UPNG opened its Open Campus in the Solomon Islands in order to tap into unmet demand for distance programs in the country. Although the recent progress of the UPNG initiative in the Solomons is unclear, media reports indicate that the opening of the UPNG Campus in Honiara has adversely affected the demand for courses offered through USP Solomon Islands. (3)
The future provision of distance education appears to rest on the capability of the technology infrastructure and on the transition to a more orderly political and social environment. (1)
The Education Management Information System (EMIS) has developed an e-learning strategy. The E-learning and distance education strategy encompasses Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, University of the South Pacific Honiara Extension Centre and all formal and informal learning networks using appropriate cost effective technology. (2)
The Solomon Islands is part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Oceania initiative. In 2008, a trial deployment of XO laptops occurred in three schools in Western Province. This was followed up by a full deployment in 2009. The project was evaluated by the Australian Council of Education Research (ACER) in a report published in 2010. The project was considered a success, yielding important lessons for future OLPC initiatives. (3)
Internet in Solomon Islands
Broadband Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants - Fixed 0.38
Internet hosts (2010) - 4,065
Internet users (2008) - 10,000
Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 1.91 (3)
Telecommunications in the Solomon Islands lag behind most other Pacific states and are among the most expensive in the world. Internet access is poor and expensive. These deficiencies are largely the result of the monopoly exercised by Solomons Telekom—the local telecommunications provider. At the end of 2009, the first step towards deregulation occurred when PNG Telikom’s beMOBILE was granted a license to provide mobile phone services. Since then, mobile phone coverage in the Solomon Islands has expanded dramatically. In 2011, the Solomons Island Government announced that it would issue licences allowing local businesses to provide Internet access. The Government’s goal is to encourage local entrepreneurs to offer small-scale Internet services based on a satellite earth stations. The feasibility of such an approach is uncertain. Until better Internet access is available, the prospects for successful ICT-based distance education are poor. (3)
Internet in Education
The People First Network (PFnet) project, itself also a project of RDVA in partnership with the Department of Provincial Government and Constituency Development, has been pioneering the use of ICT in education. With its growing rural network, PFnet was ideally positioned to pioneer local solutions in distance education. This fact was recognised by the University of the South Pacific Centre of Honiara (USP Centre). Consequently, a project proposal was successfully submitted to the Pan Asia Networking R&D Grants scheme for 2002, administered by the Asia Media Information Centre. This project is implemented by RDVA in partnership with the USP Centre, with PFnet facilitating the networking and providing technical assistance. The project aims to utilise an existing rural Internet connection provided by PFnet to pilot a distance learning facility in one of Solomon Islands’ rural community high schools. The site chosen for the project was the country’s first rural community email facility, opened at Sasamungga, Choiseul, in October 2001, with the nearby Sasamungga Community High School. The project entails the application of a distance-learning program especially designed to integrate with the PFnet facilities. It also contains a research component that measures awareness of ICT in the community and studies the impacts of the email station. (2)
Since 2004, the Education Sector Investment and Reform Programme (ESIRP) has had several initiatives involcing ICT in education. The Distance Learning Centres Project (DLCP) makes use of a satelite terminal (VSAT) providing at each location broadband of at least 33kbps CIR bursting upwards (this is expected to increase over time) and a local area network with laptop computers. (2)
Copyright law in Solomon Islands
Copyright law in Education
OER Initiatives in Solomon Islands
The ICDE report on regulatory frameworks for distance education (1) notes political, social, technological and infrastructural barriers to distance education in the Solomon Islands which would likely also hinder the use of many OERs, particularly internet based ones. However, OERs such as educational community radio broadcasts similar to those found in Nauru might be suggested as possibilities.
The Solomon Islands is a member of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC). As a VUSSC member, the Solomon Islands Government participates in the development of open educational resources. Representatives from the Solomon Islands have attended regional workshops and meetings in relation to VUSSC and other related initiatives. The Solomon Islands Government hosted a Learning4Content (L4C) workshop in 2008. (3)
National OER initiatives
Regional OER initiatives
Institutional OER initiatives
2. ReVica/VISCED page for Solomon Islands (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Solomon_Islands)
3. ICDE Country Profile for the Solomon Islands (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/solomon_islands/)
1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/RegulatoryFrameworksforDEfinalreport2.pdf on Wednesday 11th July 2012)