October 3, 2005
From NZEI Te Riu Roa
For Immediate Use
NZEI Assists Solomon Island Teachers for World Teachers' Day
NZEI Te Riu Roa members are marking World Teachers Day on Wednesday, (October 5) by helping teachers in the Solomon Islands rebuild their education system that has been shattered by four years of violent ethnic conflict.
World Teachers Day is observed in more than 100 countries. It's promoted by Education International, which represents 26 million education workers throughout the world, including the 44,800 that belong to New Zealand's largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.
"This year NZEI members are marking World Teachers' Day by helping to fund a building in the Solomons capital, Honiara, that will be used by both teachers and children," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr. "We are responding to a request for assistance from the members of the teachers' union in the Solomons."
In a letter to NZEI the general secretary of the Solomon Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) Father Maaka Francis stated that there is an "urgent need" for the union to have a building with enough space to implement its plans to increase the number of quality teachers in the Solomons and to provide for the academic development of youth and students in Honiara.
"NZEI members have no hesitation in helping members of a sister union who ask for our support," says Colin Tarr.
NZEI has established a Solomons Islands Fund and members have already begun contributing to the SINTA building project in the Solomons.
Ethnic conflict flared between militant factions in the Solomons in 1999. The violence lasted for four years decimating the economy and infrastructure. More than a hundred people were killed, including an Australian peacekeeper, and tens of thousands of Solomon Islanders were forced to leave their homes.
In July 2003 an international peacekeeping force, that included soldiers and police from New Zealand, was sent to the Solomons and law and order has been restored. New Zealand peacekeepers remain in the Solomons and are scheduled to stay until next year.