DOM plans new secondary school for Malaita

The delegation from DOM and ACOM meeting with prominent landowners of the Ilikata land in West Kwara’ae. At the background is part of the proposed site for the new secondary school.

The Diocese of Malaita (DOM) of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) as part of its DOM Vision 2020 plans to build a modern Secondary School in Malaita by the year 2020.

ACOM in a statement today says, the decision to go ahead with the acquisition of land and planning of the project was approved and endorsed by the ACOM Executive Council in 2015.

“This is in conjunction with the diocese’s priority area to improve, develop and strengthen education and training needs of young people in Malaita.

“Initially a land at Fauabu was earmarked for the school. However, it was later disputed and the diocese had to abandon the area.

“The new site for the school was later identified at Ilikata land, in West Kwara’ae and so far there had already been several consultations held between the diocese and the landowners,” the statement adds.

It says that as part of the on-going work of the taskforce committee, a high level delegation from ACOM Headquarters was invited to visit the diocese from Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th March 2017.

The Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Malaita, Mr. Anthony Maelasi said that the aim of the visit was to further consult and dialogue with local landowners and to attend the taskforce committee’s meeting at the diocesan headquarters in Auki.

The delegation consists of the ACOM Lands Officer-Simon Naotoro, the ACOM Property Manager-Philip Luiramo, ACOM Education Secretary-Desmond Waita, and a private architect from Chief Structures and Logistix-Cogan Kuare.

Speaking from Singapore, the Diocesan Bishop of Malaita, Bishop Sam Sahu said that; ‘As Christian leaders in education, our work must always be guided by Jesus’ Kingdom theology…that salvation must begin with Spiritual aspect of human life’.

However, it is never merely spiritual, he adds. It has social, economic and political overtones. On a similar note, the bishop reiterates why as Christians, ACOM and other Christian Churches must wrestle with issues affecting every department of human life, including education and health issues.

Speaking during the taskforce committee meeting, the ACOM Education Secretary, Mr. Desmond Waita pointed out that currently, there is a very high demand for Church schools.

‘At the moment, the demand from parents wanting their children to attend Church schools is very high. Therefore, as a Church, we must continue to build more secondary schools to meet those demands’, he said.

Statistically, ACOM does not have as many schools compared to other Churches, even though it is one of the largest Churches in Solomon Islands.

This is definitely a huge undertaking by ACOM and the diocese and it needs a lot of planning, commitment and cooperation between the Church, Government, (both National and Provincial), Landowners, Church Mission partners, Donor partners in education and other stakeholders.

Bishop Sam highlights that, like all other ACOM-run schools, the new Secondary School will be led, managed and firmly grounded upon Bishop Selwyn’s philosophy for mission, including education, which is; True Religion (Christian Doctrine- the training of the human heart), Sound Learning (Academic Excellence- the training of the human mind) and Useful Industry (Practical Skills- the training of the human hands).

In the meantime, the taskforce committee will hold a community-wide consultation and awareness at Tiuni community on April 23rd. This provides an opportunity for community members to express their views and opinions regarding this new development within the region.

A formal request will also be sent to the Provincial Secretary of Malaita Province to appoint an Acquisition Officer to commence the land acquisition process.

A prominent member of the tribe during their consultation with the delegation spoke highly of the seriousness and commitment of the Anglican Church and said that they are looking forward to working together with the diocese and ACOM to see this project come to fruition.

The Provincial Secretary of the Malaita Province also expressed similar sentiments and said Malaita Province is fully supportive of this project.

The diocese envisages a greater partnership between the Church, Government (National and Provincial) and Donor partners in this project for the benefit of our future generation in Malaita and Solomon Islands.