In December, Solomon Islands was among the first in the Pacific to sign on to an exciting new initiative when it confirmed its participation in Australia’s Pacific Secondary School Scholarships Program (PSSSP).
The prestigious scholarship program will offer young Pacific Island students the opportunity to complete senior secondary school in Australia, develop necessary skills for economic and social leadership in their countries, and form lifelong connections with the Australian community. The first group of students are expected to start school in Australia in July 2020.
Applications for study commencing July 2020 are now open and will close on Sunday 1 March. For more information, and to apply online, please visit www.pacificsecondaryscholarships.com.au. Hard copy application forms are also available from the PSSSP office on the top floor of the Y.Sato Building on Commonwealth Street in Point Cruz, Honiara.
The PSSSP team will release details soon about the timing and location of information sessions that will begin next week. The PSSSP will consist of a two and a half year course of study covering the second half of Year 10 followed by Years 11 and 12. Students will obtain a senior secondary certificate of education and possibly an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank if desired. PSSSP will assist students to prepare for transition to further education, training or work on return home following completion of year 12 in Australia.
The scholarship will be structured initially as an experience where recipients live with an Australian family (through accredited homestay arrangements) and undertake extra-curricular activities such as part-time work, sport, church and other community engagement.
Schooling will be delivered by New South Wales and Queensland state governments’ existing international education programs, which a rigorous Australian regulatory framework for quality assurance, child protection and welfare supports. Scholarship recipients will return home regularly to maintain a connection with families and their home countries.
Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Fiji and Tonga will also participate in the PSSSP. In line with the Australian Government’s step up in the Pacific region, the program has been allocated AU$66 million over four years.
PSSSP complements Australia’s focus on education in Solomon Islands. Australia supports education in Solomon Islands through the Education Sector Support Program (a joint program with New Zealand), Australia Awards tertiary scholarships, the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, the Australian Volunteer Program, the BRIDGE School Partnerships Program and through support to the University of the South Pacific and SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme.
PSSSP is a new and separate program to the long running Australia Awards Scholarships for tertiary education.