Solomon Islands: Senior Secondary Education Improvement Project

Sovereign Project | 55050-002

The proposed project will support the Government of Solomon Islands to improve senior secondary education and prepare students to contribute to shift to a more climate-resilient economy. For the first time in the Pacific, the project will improve education as an adaptation and resilience-building measure. It will do this by strengthening academic and non-academic pathways to prepare students for future work and learning, with particular emphasis on climate-resilient livelihoods. The proposed project will also reduce the vulnerability of education facilities to the impacts of climate change and disasters.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Borjegren, Per A.S.
    Pacific Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
    Solomon Islands
  • Sector
    • Education
Project Name Senior Secondary Education Improvement Project
Project Number 55050-002
Country / Economy Solomon Islands
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant: Senior Secondary Education Improvement Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 5.00 million
Asian Development Fund US$ 20.00 million
Loan: Senior Secondary Education Improvement Project
Concessional ordinary capital resources lending US$ 5.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Partnerships
Sector / Subsector

Education / Secondary

Public sector management / Public administration

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The proposed project will support the Government of Solomon Islands to improve senior secondary education and prepare students to contribute to shift to a more climate-resilient economy. For the first time in the Pacific, the project will improve education as an adaptation and resilience-building measure. It will do this by strengthening academic and non-academic pathways to prepare students for future work and learning, with particular emphasis on climate-resilient livelihoods. The proposed project will also reduce the vulnerability of education facilities to the impacts of climate change and disasters.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

High susceptibility to climate and disaster risk. Solomon Islands is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of disasters and climate change and was ranked second highest in the world in relation to disaster risk in 2021. It is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area that has active volcanoes (many underwater) and frequent earthquakes. It is also susceptible to tropical cyclones, floods, and droughts. A large majority of the population live in low-lying coastal areas, affected by rising sea levels. Solomon Islands is expected to incur average annual losses of $20 million due to earthquakes and tropical cyclones. In the next 50 years, Solomon Islands is estimated to have a 50% chance of experiencing a single event loss from a tropical cyclone or earthquake exceeding $240 million (15% of gross domestic product) (footnote 4). The National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) emphasizes that Solomon Islands has a low adaptive capacity to overcome the adverse effects of climate change and disasters, highlighting the need to strengthen human capacity (footnote 3).

Livelihoods at risk. Climate events and disasters disproportionately affect smallholder farming, particularly impacting women's earning capacities. Approximately 84% of Solomon Island's population is engaged in subsistence farming, and 24.3% live in extreme poverty (below $1.90 per day) (2018). The International Labour Organization (ILO) has found that most workers are self-employed or work within families with low income security, resulting in approximately 80% of the population facing vulnerable employment conditions (2018). Labor force participation rate is 61% female to 74% male and more women are in vulnerable work. Climate events and disasters have disrupted key economic sectors (mining and agriculture), cutting formal employment (footnote 6). Climate events and disasters place an increased burden on women and girls in rural areas of Solomon Islands with more women involved in subsistence agriculture work compared to men in rural areas. About 7 out of 10 Solomon Islanders are under 30 years. Unemployed and under-employed youth have increasingly moved to Honiara looking for work, and have contributed to rising tensions in the capital (footnote 7).

Moving towards greater resilience. Given high poverty rates, gender inequality, vulnerable employment, ethnic tensions, and the growing risks from climate change and disasters, the National Development Strategy 2016 2035 highlights the need for sustainable and inclusive economic growth (footnote 7). This includes reinvigorating productive and resource sectors to increase domestic and export earnings, as well as developing economic growth centers, particularly in rural areas. Expanding the economic base, with due consideration for climate and disaster risk, would help Solomon Islands become more resilient to shocks.

Improving education to create a strong enabling environment. Solomon Islands' economic growth is constrained by a long-term shortage of skilled workers, which is contributed to by low quality and limited accessibility of secondary education. Approximately, 90% of children attend early childhood and primary education in Solomon Islands, with 68% continuing their studies at junior secondary levels (grades 7 9) with 47% to 50% female students across grade levels. However, only 27% (28% female and 26% male) of the age-appropriate student population (i.e., net enrollment rate') enroll in senior secondary education (grades 10 12). Students continue to drop out during this stage and just 12% of girls and 14% of boys graduate at the end of grade 12. This leads to low participation in tertiary education, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET), with only 3% of the population having attended any post-secondary studies.

Addressing challenges in education and incorporating climate and disaster resilience. There is a lack of school places in senior secondary levels (there are 269 secondary schools nationally, but only 41 offers up to year 12). Teaching quality is a concern that results in poor learning outcomes, and there are gender disparities in enrollment and graduation rates. School fees and associated costs can also be a constraint for some families (there are fee-free policies implemented in primary and junior secondary levels, but fees for senior secondary education is at the discretion of school management). The curriculum taught in senior secondary education was developed by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) more than 20 years ago, with a focus on academic subjects required for university entrance, with little practical application for those students not going to university. In 2020, MEHRD developed a new framework for senior secondary education, which seeks to make learning more practical with a stronger focus on preparing students for future work and further learning. The framework identifies the need for new collaboration mechanisms with private sector employers, universities, and TVET providers, particularly to move toward climate-resilient jobs in targeted sectors. NAPA highlights the importance of developing curricula and supporting teacher training to incorporate climate change and disaster risk reduction but underlines that school infrastructure assets are also increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate events and disasters (footnote 3). Improvements to senior secondary education will contribute to the enabling environment that supports a shift towards a climate-resilient economic base.

Impact All Solomon Islanders will develop as individuals and possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to earn a living and to live in harmony with others and their environment
Outcome More senior secondary students are equipped to be climate-smart, employable, and adaptable lifelong learners
Outputs

Quality of learning in senior secondary education improved

Climate and disaster-resilient facilities and quality learning equipment for senior secondary education expanded

National and secondary school management strengthened

Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Borjegren, Per A.S.
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division PASP
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance and Treasury
P.O. Box 26
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Timetable
Concept Clearance 23 May 2022
Fact Finding 20 Mar 2023 to 24 Mar 2023
MRM 21 Jun 2023
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 23 May 2022

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