Biographical entry: Toloikwai, Gabriel (1951 - 2016)
- 20 April 2016
Gabriel Toloikwai was born in 1951 at the Hospital of the Epiphany, Fauaabu, west Kwara'ae, Malaita, to parents from Baegu, Malaita. He was the first born of six children. Known as Gabbi by his friends, he was educated at St. John's Catholic Primary School at Dala, Malaita, and St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School at Tenaru, Guadalcanal. He received his secondary education at St. Joseph's Secondary School, Aruligo, Guadalcanal. He received a Graduate Certificate in Education at Aruligo in 1970 and went on to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji where he graduated with a Diploma in Education in 1973. He later attended the University of Papua New Guinea where he graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1981. In 1989 he was awarded a Master in Education from the University of Ottawa in Canada. He also attended short courses in basic computing, strategic planning, tertiary and higher education project planning, administration and implementation. He began his teaching career at the Honiara Government Primary School in 1974-75 before becoming a secondary school teacher at St. Joseph's Tenaru in1976-77. He then moved to the Ministry of Education in 1978 to become the Chief Education Officer (Secondary), a position he held until 1982. He became the Director of Project Planning and Implementation Unit in the Ministry (1983-85), before serving as Under Secretary (Education) in 1986-87 and 1991-92. Next he served as Director of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education from 1993 to 1999, and completed a second term, 2001 to 2007. From 2008 until 2011 he was chairman of the National Education Board, and chairman of the Education Act Review Taskforce between 2010 and 2013. He was also engaged by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Planning in 2012 to investigate how the Ministry was handling teacher issues relating to their terms and conditions and re-levelling of teachers' salaries.
Toloikwai was active in sports as a participant and manager for several decades. He represented Solomon Islands in basketball at the 1969 South Pacific Games and was manager of the basketball team at the 1983 South Pacific Games. He was also the first Solomon Islander to hold international qualifications as a basketball referee, and was president of the Honiara Basketball Association 1974-75. Also an ardent golfer, he was a member of the Honiara Gold Club and manager of the Solomon Islands golf team at the 1996 South Pacific Games in Tahiti. He was an active organiser of the sporting and cultural youth association for over 20 years. He was a member of the Solomon Islands National Olympic Committee from 1980 to 1984, and a member of the International Olympic Movement. In 1984 he attended an Olympic Movement Course at the Australian Institute of Sports in Canberra. He also continued his interests in education through his positions on the board of management of Honiara High School and Chung Wah Primary School.
Gabriel Toloikwai died on 20 April 2016, survived by his wife and three children. (Solomon Star, 26 Apr 2016)