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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Allan and the Rev Dr. Caroline Currer with the University Project Project Coordinator
Photo No. : P080812-1
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University site at Kosu land on Guadalcanal Plains being surveyed
Lands and Property Department
Photo No. : P080812-2
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August 12, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Church of Melanesia has now completed the proposal for the establishment of its university in the Solomon Islands.

Two consultants from the United Kingdom; Mr. Alan Currer and the Rev. Dr. Caroline Currer whose background included expertise and experience with projects related to management of tertiary education recently volunteered and freely assisted the Church in putting together the document.

In undertaking their consultancy work they visited Solomon Islands twice and made a visit to Vanuatu to speak with the relevant authorities as well as visited the Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea, a private university. In these visits they were accompanied by the Project Coordinator, Mr. Philip Kapini.

The proposal was completed following their consideration and discussions with the COM University TaskForce about various aspects of the project including demand and needs, faculties and programmes, staffing, partnership, government and quality aspects, construction and equipment and finance and project implementation.

The consultants were able to accompany a COM Taskforce Committee member, the General Secretary, Mr. George Kiriau, along with the Project Coordinator to present and discuss the proposal with the honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua who expressed strong support for the Project.

Before they left Solomon Islands Allan and Caroline made proposals for strong management and leadership for the project as well as for fundraising considerations seeing that the project is a very big one.

They also undertook to prepare a paper on the implementation of the project.
Under the proposal it is envisaged that Foundation studies would be pursued. Other faculties of Education and Social Studies; Business Management and Administration; Nursing and Health Sciences; Theology and Humanities; Faculty of Science and Technology will be part of the establishment.

The proposal is quite a big one estimated to be over SBD$140million therefore the Church intends to work closely with the Solomon Islands Government as well as the Government of Vanuatu. Funds will need to be raised to supplement the Church’s own funds and the governments’ and funding agency support in terms of scholarships would be critical.

Mr. Currer said the university will not be restricted to Anglicans only if it is to attract Government and funding from the Church's and it partners from abroad.
However, according to the General Secretary of the Church of Melanesia Mr. George Kiriau the proposal will be implemented in phases as they will depend on funding.

He said the Task Force is aiming towards selected programmes starting in 2011 and is driving the work ahead to ensure this happens. Of importance to sustain the institution is the development of a farm to be run on a commercial basis.

During the next few months the Church he said will be trying to sort out site plans, certain infrastructure including building and equipment, focusing on the areas that will be developed initially.

He added the Committee is of the view that real needs are being focused on and is confident of support to ensure that the university becomes a reality.