In 2003 an off-shore consultancy firm, Hassell and Associates, carried out a study of the issues, needs and priorities of Solomon Islands youths. The findings of the study were later released in a comprehensive final report.
The research work was provided by AusAID.
I read the report over the weekend with a view to judging whether the then (2003) assessment of the issues, needs and priorities of Solomon Islands youths had improved in 2020.
I was mindful that in 2003, the then population of the Solomon Islands had been identified as being 446,769 whereas today in 2020, the population has increased by another 240, 115 and stands at 686, 884 people.
I came to the conclusion after finishing reading the study that many of the identified points mentioned in 2003 remain in respect of the collective aspirations of today’s youth.
Commonplace being the lack of jobs and work opportunities, especially for rural based young people, both boys and girls.
The Solomon Islands government realizes that good quality jobs matter for development and is working to ensure infrastructure takes place to provide better roads and communications that could facilitate employment prospects.
In the short term, however, given the many identified issues raised in the 2003 report on youth needs and aspirations, coupled with the increased population figures I have quoted, I cannot see the youth’s expectations being satisfied.
In some small way, I contributed to aid youth interests and activities with help in having the UK based Dionysus Ensemble visit the Solomons where the talented music professionals gave music education and instrument instruction to the young members of the Piano Association.
Participation in music was one of the matters mentioned as a need in the youth report I have cited.
I feel sure the Solomon Islands government has very much in mind the many youth concerns that hinder their individual aspirations and attainments. Given the increased attention to national development it would seem imperative; however, that the consultancy report’s findings and conclusions be looked at afresh to see what more can be done to stem the burgeoning employment gap.