The Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Act establishes a new statutory Authority, the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Authority (SITESA) under the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development.
The SITESA Bill was passed by the Solomon Islands Parliament in … 2017 and the Act commenced by Government Gazette on 23 September 2019. The objective of the Authority is to ensure that tertiary education and skills development drives the Solomon Islands future needs for a highly skilled and productive workforce which will make a strong contribution to the country’s economic and social development.
The strategic role of the Authority is providing the leadership and governance to set national tertiary skills strategy; national policy development and implementation; engaging and partnering with the private sector; promoting tertiary and vocational skills development; national tertiary and skills planning, regulating and funding and grants; capacity development of the sector for all facets of tertiary and vocational skills development including higher education in the Solomon Islands.
SITESA’s governance Board will have strong representation from the private sector who are the employers of graduates from tertiary providers.
All funding for the tertiary sector, including the Government’s Scholarship Program, operational and grants funding for SINU and USP and funding for Rural Training Centres is now managed by SITESA. It should be noted that the SITESA legislation does not in any way impact on the legislation covering the Solomon Islands National University or other closely related stakeholders unless specifically mentioned in the Act.
SITESA’s Strategic Role
Under the Act, the strategic aim of the new Authority is to provide leadership and to facilitate higher quality tertiary education and vocational skills delivery designed to meet the future needs of Solomon Islands for a highly skilled and productive workforce. SITESA will have responsibility for implementing the Government’s new Tertiary Education and Skills Policy, Scholarships Policy and National Tertiary Education and Skills Plan. These Policies provide the legal mandate and governing instruments for the management of the tertiary education and skills sector.
SITESA will be responsible for the promotion, planning, capacity development and coordination of the tertiary education and skills sector and ensuring our country has a high quality and internationally respected tertiary system. SITESA manages the implementation of the new national qualifications framework and quality assurance system; regulates and quality assures all tertiary providers and national level course accreditation processes; promotes professional standards across the tertiary skills sector including teaching, capacity building, research and data collection; manages the overall budget for the tertiary education and skills sector, including scholarships, infrastructure grants and funding allocations, incentives and/or purchasing arrangements with national and international education and training providers; ensures budget and performance compliance and is accountable to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the Office of the Auditor General.
SITESA’s Value Proposition to the People of the Solomon Islands:
The SITESA Act mandates a systematic and ongoing approach to national human resource and workforce development; continuous quality improvement and relevance of tertiary level education and training, including through scholarships which meet labour market demand; more equitable access to education and training for women, people with a disability and those from remote communities; improved accountability, quality and performance of all training providers; funding of training provision aligned to labour market demand and jobs; the improved human and physical capacity and capability of tertiary institutions; more efficient, transparent, accountable and demand driven public expenditure on scholarships and a greater investment and support from the private sector for tertiary and skills education and training in our country.
A copy of the SITESA Act can be downloaded from the following link: (To Be Linked)
SITESA’s Structure and Governance
The Objects, Role and Function of SITESA provide the rationale for the creation of the Authority’s governance and organisational structures.
The Objects of the SITESA Act 2017, through the establishment and operation of the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Authority, are to:
- Recognise the importance of planning for tertiary education and skills development as part of national planning for the benefit of the economy and community of Solomon Islands.
- Improve the contribution made by tertiary education and skills development to meeting the needs of local, regional and international labour markets.
- Encourage investment in tertiary education and skills development by both the public and private sectors.
- Improve the provision of tertiary education and skills development.
- Improve the employment prospects of persons with tertiary qualifications obtained in Solomon Islands through recognition of those qualifications outside Solomon Islands
- Improve participation in, and promote fair and equitable access to, tertiary education and skills development.
- Improve accountability for funding for scholarships for tertiary courses and for providing or improving tertiary education and skills development.
The Organisational Functions of SITESA are:
- To identify priorities and plan for the role of tertiary education and skills development:
- meeting current and future needs of local, regional and international labour markets in both the public and private sectors;
- Contributing to national planning for the benefit of the economy and community of Solomon Islands;
- To monitor and evaluate the contribution made by tertiary education and skills development to the economy and community of Solomon Islands;
- To develop and implement strategies:
- to improve the resources available for tertiary education and skills development and the efficient use of those resources;
- to increase participation in, and promote fair and equitable access to, tertiary education and skills development;
- To provide for quality assurance of tertiary education and skills development and the relationships between tertiary courses and tertiary qualifications by performing the functions assigned to it under Part 3 of the SITESA Act for:
- preparation and adoption of the Solomon Islands Qualifications Framework, Quality Standards and supporting policies;
- accreditation of tertiary courses;
- registration of providers of accredited tertiary courses;
- To promote recognition of tertiary qualifications obtained in Solomon Islands in the region and internationally;
- To perform the functions assigned to it under Part 4 of the SITESA Act for:
- preparation and annual review of the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Plan;
- assessment of applications and proposals in accordance with that plan;
- monitoring the use of funding provided in accordance with that plan;
- To conduct research, and publish statistical or other information, about:
- the public and private enterprises involved in providing tertiary courses;
- the levels of participation in, and access to, tertiary courses;
- the achievements of participants in tertiary courses;
- the relationships between different tertiary courses and the extent to which prior learning is or should be recognised;
- any other matter relating to tertiary education and skills development;
- To participate, at the request of the Minister, in the formulation of policy about apprenticeships;
- To provide advice to the Minister, at the request of the Minister or on the Authority’s own initiative, on any matter relating to tertiary education and skills development; and
- Any other functions assigned to the Authority under the SITESA Act or the regulations or under any other Act.
The legal authority for SITESA to perform these functions on behalf of the Solomon Islands’ public and private sectors dictates the functional and operations structures described and proposed through this submission.