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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, Oct. 14) – The Solomon Islands government is planning for the introduction of free basic education in the country.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the government had requested Taiwan to fund the free basic education program at an annual rate of three-million dollars until such time when the government was financially capable to take on that responsibility.

Mr. Sogavare says the Taiwan had taken aboard the request for consideration and the responsible Solomon Islands officials will follow up that proposal with Taipei through the Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara.

He says the volunteer service scheme would see the deployment of Taiwanese volunteer service personnel in Solomon Islands hopefully next year.

Mr. Sogavare says the agreement on the labor scheme would be signed before the end of this year.

He says once the agreement was signed, the government would proceed into negotiating for employment for Solomon Islanders in skilled jobs with potential Taiwanese employers.

The Prime Minister says it was important that the labor agreement cover health insurance for the welfare of Solomon Islanders employed under the scheme.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sogavare and his delegation departed for Taipei today with the Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for a two day visit before returning to Solomon Islands.

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