By Alfred Sasako
SOME 60 Solomon Islands students, sponsored by the government have had their University of the South Pacific (USP) scholarships terminated or suspended because funding for their awards has run out.
But the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) kept the students in the dark about this until the USP Honiara Campus had terminated students’ accounts, denying them access to facilities such as the internet, one student told Island Sun on the weekend.
“Each time we asked about what was going on, the usual excuse was the National Training Committee (NTC) was yet to meet on our awards. This went on for more than a month, before the National Training Unit (NTU) Director gave us the bombshell, the student said.
“All this time MEHRD has been told by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury to cut back on the scholarship awards because funds have run out,” the student said.
The student said the Ministry only told them about the problem when they inquired about why the USP Solomon Islands Campus had de-registered their school accounts.
“They told us that half the 60 students have had their scholarships terminated on account of failing their courses. The other half were given suspension letters but were told to appeal.
“The majority of us have succeeded in our appeals but instead of reinstating all of us, only one student was reinstated. We don’t know why. It is quite possible this was due to the wantok system,” the student.
“In fact the Director of the National Training Unit (NTU) told us we had a choice to remain in Honiara or to go home. There is no money to continue your award. There will be money in next year’s Budget for your awards,” the students were told.
The student said she was one of those who had chosen to return home as there was nothing to do in Honiara.
“Sometimes one wonders whether the Ministry has done its sums before making scholarship awards,” the student said.