Over 1,000 schools in Solomon Islands provided with thermometers for safe school re-opening

14 June 2022

Honiara, Solomon Islands, 10 June 2022 - Today, UNICEF and the Government of New Zealand, handed over more than 4,000 infrared thermometers to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) in Solomon Islands. Funded through a Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant, the thermometers will support the safe re-opening of all schools in the country.

“MEHRD is very pleased to receive these thermometers today. On behalf of our Minister for Education, Hon. Mrs. Lanelle Tanangada, the Senior Management Team, staff of MEHRD, and all our Education Authorities, I would like to sincerely thank UNICEF and MFAT in mobilization and coordinating support through the GPE to make delivery of these thermometers to my Ministry possible,” said MEHRD’s Deputy Secretary – Education, Christopher Sakiri.

“Our secondary schools have started classes as of May 30. Primary classes will begin on the 13 of June and early childhood will begin on July 4. This support is really timely. It will certainly contribute towards enhancing our school’s prevention efforts against COVID-19 as well as in early detection. MEHRD will continue to strive to achieve its overriding NEAP 2022-2026 goals of managing its education system - improving access, with inclusion and quality, with relevance within these challenging times. But this will be done within the lens of safety against the impacts of COVID-19,” he added.

The thermometers will support schools to ensure that children who enter the premises are not suffering from high body temperature and fever, one of the common symptoms of COVID-19. School management teams will record each staff and child’s temperature as they enter the premises to ensure that schools remain safe, protected learning environments for all children.

“UNICEF highly encourages children to get back to face-to-face learning, while also continuously working with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development to strengthen efforts to ensure the highest level of safety measures in schools,” said UNICEF Pacific’s Chief of Solomon Islands Field Office, Dr. Zelalem Taffesse. “The thermometers we are handing over today will reach every school in the country, even the most remote areas. We look forward to seeing all children back in classrooms and learning safely as soon as possible.”

The thermometers received today by the Ministry will support in accelerating school efforts to ensure to keep COVID-19 at bay, along with other prevention measures including wearing a mask correctly and social distancing amongst children.

“The Government of Aotearoa New Zealand is proud to support the purchase of these infrared thermometers in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, UNICEF, and the Global Partnership for Education,” said New Zealand High Commission’s Second Secretary to Solomon Islands, Olivia Benton-Guy. “We will continue to work alongside the Ministry and other education partners in Solomon Islands to support children to return to school safely and continue their education.”

The thermometers were procured by UNICEF as the grant agent, and the Government of New Zealand as the coordinating agency, with funding support from GPE.

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Notes to Editors:

About the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD):

MEHRD operates with a vision to deliver quality education for everyone in Solomon Islands so all Solomon Islanders will develop as individuals and possess knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to earn a living and to live in harmony with others and their environment and have access to equitable opportunities for a better life. MEHRD envisions an education and training system responsive to its clients and efficiently managed by its stakeholders and clients. http://www.mehrd.gov.sb/

About the Global Partnership for Education (GPE):

GPE is a large global fund solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries, and a unique, multi-stakeholder partnership. As a partnership, GPE brings together donors, multilateral institutions, civil society, teacher representatives, philanthropic foundations and the private sector behind partner country governments' plans to deliver quality education. As a fund, GPE provides financing to catalyze reforms and support national action and commitment. https://www.globalpartnership.org

About Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT):

Aotearoa New Zealand’s long-standing partnership with Solomon Islands is based on our shared Pacific history, our people-to-people connections and our common interests. We work together to support a stable, resilient and socially cohesive Solomon Islands that delivers for all its citizens.

For more information, please contact:

Judith Pule, Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development in Solomon Islands, jpule@mehrd.gov.sb  

Olivia Benton-Guy, New Zealand High Commission, olivia.benton-guy@mfat.govt.nz

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 9988137

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

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