Aid for education in post-conflict Solomon Islands
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Between 1998 and 2003, conflict, violent crime, and a severe economic downturn pushed the Solomon Islands state to the brink of failure, exacerbating the problems of an already struggling education sector. Most schools on Guadalcanal were seriously disrupted; some were burned down or vandalized, others closed as teachers and students fled violence, and those that remained open struggled to accommodate the large displaced student population. The collapse of state finances stripped any remaining funding from the education sector; teachers were paid irregularly, if at all, while many schools lacked basic teaching materials and proper sanitation. In 2003, intervention by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) quickly restored security and stabilized government finances. RAMSI provided significant budget support to the education sector and opened the door for donors to reengage. Schools re-opened, new facilities were built, and teachers were paid, allowing the government and donors to focus on longer-term issues, including school fees. Government expenditure on education is high, but financed almost entirely by donors. Solomon Islands is now one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries and remains vulnerable to external shocks and natural disasters. Weak economic forecasts suggest the need for additional external budget support to protect social spending, including on education.
KeywordsAid Conflict Education Solomon Islands RAMSI Post-conflict
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