PROVINCIAL TENSION AFFECTS SOLOMON ISLANDS STUDENTS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 13, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The government of Malaita province has decided that students from the province will not attend four secondary schools on Guadalcanal for safety reasons.

The Malaita Provincial Executive made the decision at a meeting Monday. It said the measure is being taken for the safety of the students.

The decision follows growing tensions between the people of Malaita and Guadalcanal residents on the island of Guadalcanal, after the Guadalcanal provincial government made compensation demands from the national government for hosting the capital, Honiara, and said outsiders should not own land in Guadalcanal province.

The Malaita executive wants the Ministry of Education to allocate spaces in Malaita-based schools and other provinces for Malaita students. The Executive has also asked the national government to consider establishing another secondary school on Malaita to meet the province's secondary education needs.

It has also requested that the resumption of secondary classes on Malaita be delayed until mid- February to allow time for the Ministry of Education and the Malaita Education Board to deal with the situation.

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