The second group of sponsored students from the Tina River Hydropower Development Project catchment has commenced various courses at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) as a part of the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP) partnership.
A total of 34 students, 12 males, and 22 females, are enrolled in various courses such as Electrical Trades, Heavy Plant Mechanic), Hospitality courses, and Tropical Agriculture and Environmental studies. Additional courses have also been added to cater to those unable to finish Form 6 or 7 and can now complete these studies via Distance Flexible Learning upgrade classes.
The CBSP program was formed last year in a first-of-its-kind extension activity to build local capacity in the catchment communities and offer eligible residents training to be skilled and ready for future potential employment. The first intake in 2021 consisted of 15 students sponsored to undertake various courses at SINU, some of whom are now doing their practical work.
In a similar recruitment process to the first intake, the second group of sponsored students was selected after fulfilling CBSP and SINU criteria and requirements.
According to Clinton Zinihite, CBSP Project Officer coordinating Component 3 for Human Resource Development, this year's sponsored student intake has doubled compared to last year’s. “We are pleased that a large number of young people have expressed a strong desire to continue their education this year and be a part of this unique program. With the number of students now registered in various courses at SINU, we believe we are helping to build the community capacity for people residing in the Project area." Mr. Zinihite said.
He emphasized that the majority of students in the second intake are taking fundamental courses that are critical for future employment with Hydro development. Gina Tabea, a 19-year-old student from Vuramali in the Bahomea region is one of the students blessed to be assisted by CBSP and is forward to finishing her bachelor's degree in accounting.
"I'm ecstatic to be sponsored and to continue my education at SINU. I'm now pursuing a Bachelor of Accounting which will take me four years to complete. It's a challenging course but I am determined to do my best as I recognize that opportunities like these don't come around often." she said.
A total of 49 students are now enrolled at SINU under the program with the Tina River Hydropower Development Project Office of the Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Rural Electrification oversees the Community Benefit Sharing Project.