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Aid Minister to visit the Solomons

Aid Minister to visit the Solomons

Aid Minister Marian Hobbs flies to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for a first-hand look at New Zealand's aid programme and the development challenges and constraints facing the islands.

"We are playing a key role in development assistance in the Solomon Islands with $14 million committed this year," Marian Hobbs said. "The visit will allow me to discuss our involvement and significant donor issues with politicians and officials as well as with those operating on the ground.

"The European Union's Commissioner for Development, Poul Nielson, will be in the Solomons at the same time and we will discuss the tripartite memorandum of understanding on education assistance between the EU, New Zealand and the Solomons.

"A lack of basic education is a root cause of poverty. Today less than 40 percent of Solomons children complete primary school. The Solomons government is aiming to achieve basic education (up to Form 3) for all girls and boys by 2015, with 95 per cent of primary and Forms 1 to 3 schools having textbooks and basic learning materials by the end of this year.

"As an example of what we're doing, NZAID is funding the reprinting of Class 1-4 Maths and English materials at a cost of $2.4 million. These resources are scheduled to arrive in Honiara in the next two months for delivery to all primary schools and will be supported by a programme of in-service training, backed by the EU and NZAID."

Marian Hobbs will open the Kukum Traffic Centre, which has been funded by NZAID and constructed by New Zealand Defence Force engineers. She will also visit the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, New Zealand aid projects and host a Waitangi Day function before returning home.

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