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Solomons students hit by funds shortage

Solomons students hit by funds shortage

5 February 2001
USP Pacific Journalism Online:
USP Pasifik Nius:

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Students May Not Return Quickly To Their Studies

By Priestley Habru
Pacific Journalism Online (USP)

HONIARA (Pasifik Nius): Local government sponsored Solomon Islands
students attending tertiary institutions in the country and overseas are
still uncertain whether their air fares and tuition fees will be paid in
order to resume studies this year.

Those studying at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji are still
awaiting confirmation from the Department of Education for airfares to
be paid before lectures start on February 19.

As for tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea, they want the
students's fee to be paid before they allow them to do their studies.

The Solomon Star understands UPNG's Waigani Campus has already started
lectures in some courses and a few Solomon Islands students have
returned, while the majority remain.

As from Friday last week, air tickets for Solomon Islands Government
sponsored students who should have travelled to Suva was not forthcoming
and UPNG students are still not assured payment of their tuition fees.

Students for the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice in the Institute
of Justice and Applied Legal Studies in Fiji plus USP first year intakes
who should have travelled over the week-end are still in doubt after air
tickets were not available at the end of last week.

According to the Education Minister, William Gigini, a memorandum of
understanding was
presented to the cabinet last Thursday and the final decision was to
come from them.

"If the government cannot secure funds then there will be about 900
scholarships that will be affected for both the Solomon Islands College
of Higher Education
and overseas' institutions," Gigini said.

Until today, students have been anxious to find out if that decision has
already been approved by the cabinet and whether the government has
secured funds from local and oveaseas sources to help finance the
students' air fares and tuition fees.

As for continuing local students funded under overseas' aid donors their
scholarship will not be
affected, but they will not offer new scholarships this year.

Meanwhile, students who have completed their form seven arts and science
foundation courses last year have just been given forms to apply for
institutions they will go to next year.

"With the current poor economy of the country, the government cannot
afford to send us to overseas' institutions this year, so we will have
to wait until next year before we could be accepted to continue our
studies," said James Billy, a science foundation student at the
state-owned King George Sixth High school in Honiara.



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