As our students head back to various universities around the region, Australia, New Zealand and some as far as to Asia and our very own Solomon Islands National University (SINU) – those engineering our education strategy for the future must not rest on their laurels. They must go back to the master plan and re-assess it – to see if it’s achieving its objectives or not. Such appraisals must conclude with recommendations visibly mapping out a way forward for our country on what has worked and what has not. It should also include looking beyond the Asia and Pacific regions as new destination for our students. One suggestion is to start sending our brightest students in the next academic year to undertake undergraduate studies and a handful of post-graduate students to the United Kingdom’s best universities. Since we separated from the UK there’s been little connection with London and we are witnessing the deteriorating pillars on which our nation was founded. The principle on which our country was created was based on UK values. Arguably we have seen the deterioration of our state because of our detachment from our old masters. We need to rekindle our traditional connection with London and education is the most strategic genre to re-connect with the UK. This has already been proved as a winning blueprint in certain Commonwealth countries. For instance, when Singapore got their independence from Great Britain they refused to take the Independence Grant instead demanded the UK Government used that money to sponsor their best students at top universities across Great Britain in areas determined by the newborn state of Singapore. On the completion of their studies they returned to Singapore and helped built the tiny nation to its global status today. Whilst this approach may come too late for us – we can still pursue that today with the intention to reap the benefits years down the path. For a start, we need to reduce the number of students going to regional universities and send the best to the UK based on merit not politics. The difference for our students will be immeasurable, including exposure to international development, best education culture, shift of mindset and of course change of attitude. I believe with more graduates seeping into our system of governance from the UK we will be able to change the way this country is run just like Singapore. Meanwhile in an effort to gauge public opinion on the issue of sending our best students to the UK, it went viral as soon as I posted it on Facebook. It has generated wide support from home and abroad. Educated Solomon Islanders some of whom had studied in the UK have offered to drive this agenda forward. I am confident that with our government pursuing this with the British High Commissioner in Solomon Islands, we can successfully get this programme up and running soon. Supporting the initiative, Dr Judson Leafasia who was a former permanent secretary and a chief executive officer of the National Referral Hospital said: “I studied in other countries but my one year at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London was the best.” Adding that a student was asked why he chose a UK university instead of other universities in other countries, he replied, “In other countries the professors use textbooks. In the UK the professors write those textbooks.” Also contributing his views on the issue, Peter Kenilorea Junior who has worked at the United Nations since 1997 and recently been appointed as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade said: “This is an easy one for those of us who have had the privilege and opportunity to study in the UK to agree to. But all bias aside, I can honestly say that I owe my career with the UN (United Nations) to the LLM (Masters of Law) I obtained in the UK. Particularly given that my recruitment to the legal office in the UN was done through exams and is purely merit based. So yes, I’m partial to the notion that a UK education is best.” These testimonies are important facts why our government needs to support this initiative.