The Solomon Islands Mission (SIM) education department — which employs more than 800 teachers and educates approximately 15,000 students across the archipelago — has recently made a number of improvements to education quality and outreach.
“This is the biggest department in our mission, and I have seen so [many] creative changes lately,” said SIM president Silent Tovosia.
The education department provided a summary of the most significant developments.
Hovi Adventist Community High School
Located on Isabel Island, Hovi school is at the center of a “modern frontier” of the Adventist Church in the Solomon Islands and has been labeled by SIM administration as a focus area for mission.
“It has a very low Adventist membership compared to the population of the island…. [The gospel] has spread very slowly until recently,” Tovosia said.
Due to the government phasing out Grade 6 national examinations in 2019, Hovi Adventist Primary School took the opportunity to begin building high-school classrooms to house Grade 7 students. Many new students now attend the new high school, 65 percent of whom are not from Adventist families.
“Hovi high school is a school where students love and treat the Bible [as much] as a mobile phone. Why? They did not have this opportunity back at home,” Tovosia said.
Mondo Adventist Primary School
Mondo school is located on Ranogga Island in the western part of the Solomon Islands and operates as a boarding school. Dozens of children who are not Adventist travel from their village to live with Adventist families as boarding students during the academic year, only returning home during the holidays. The school regards this as an opportunity to introduce these students to Christ and share biblical values in their formative years.
“Coronavirus and emergency laws to suspend classes have created an opportunity for some schools and the education department to collaborate and visit [local] communities,” Tovosia explained.
New lockdowns have given administration and staff time to pray and identify past students, poorer families, and struggling young people and visit them. Families and individuals visited have invited teachers from SIM schools to give them Bible studies. This has given teachers a new passion for mission and given them spiritual revival.
In addition, the 10,000 Toes Campaign and “Health Impact Strategy” received strong support from teachers when officers of the education and health departments in the Western Region of the Solomon Islands collaborated to check the health status of teachers. The results show that around 90 percent of teachers are at risk of developing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
To address this issue, school leaders and teachers said they are now working to improve their health status and, at the same time, are working to make their schools junk free. In addition, many teachers are receiving training to do community health assessments, thus helping to promote the Adventist health message.