30 Sep 2016

Water shortage could close Solomons school before exams

1:16 pm on 30 September 2016

Chronic water shortages could see students at the Aligegeo secondary school in Solomon Islands' Malaita Province going home just weeks before their final exams.

Last month, parents of students attending the provincial boarding school appealed to the national government to step in and resolve its water problems.

This prompted the Malaita provincial administration to fund the drilling of two bore holes at the Aligegeo compound earlier this month.

But the school's principal Javen Rukia said the bores will not be operational for several weeks as a pump test needs to be conducted and piping installed to connect them to the school storage tanks.

Mr Rukia said the school has been spending up to $US1,500 per week getting water trucked in but he says this practice cannot continue for long.

"We are just quite fortunate to get the rain from the last few days so it fills our tanks. But we cannot just go on depending on that because we are experiencing dry season and it will take a little bit longer so probably within another two weeks if nothing happens then we should be thinking of closing the school again."

He said the school also faces other problems such as inadequate staff and student accommodation and rundown classrooms and facilities.

Many provincial schools in Solomon Islands also face multiple challenges like those of Aligegeo secondary school which affect the delivery of quality education.

In 2015, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reported that parents withdrew their children from Aligegeo because of the continuous water and sanitation problems.