“Let them complete studies”

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Minister for Infrastructure Development Manasseh Maelanga.
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Opposition leader calls for return of extension students to respective institutions

THE Parliamentary Opposition calls on the Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) to ensure the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) sends all Solomon Islands Government-funded tertiary extension students back to their respective institutions of study to continue and complete their studies.

Opposition Leader Manasseh Maelanga made the call yesterday after a group of Solomon Islands Government-funded students of the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University and Fiji School of Medicine arrived at his office yesterday, expressing their frustration about the National Training Unit’s poor handling of the government scholarship programme.

Approximately 149 extension students have been left out of the NTU list and are now stranded without scholarships.

This includes those studying at regional institutions as well as in-country at the USP SI Campus.

The students’ spokesperson Lenorah Kyere said when they went to the National Training Unit and asked to talk to the Director on one-on-one basis about their scholarships, he avoided them.

She said the reason for them wanting to speak to the Director on a one-on-one basis is because some are ‘deferral students’ and others ‘reinstatement’ and ‘campus transfer’.

Ms Kyere said all that the Director did was put out a list of student names and stated that the list was for ‘extension’ students, adding that it appeared that the NTU officials cannot differentiate the different categories of students that they have to deal with.

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The Opposition Leader is reiterating his call on the SIDCCG to increase the number of scholarships for this year to 2,000.

He said the government must commit funding for tertiary scholarships to ensure that no eligible Solomon Islands student is denied the opportunity to pursue their education.

Maelanga said it’s time SIDCCG seriously considers exploring bilateral scholarship arrangements that is available to Solomon Islands yet remain unexplored.

He said some of the extension students have only one semester left and it would be a total waste of government resources if they are not sent back to complete their courses.

The Opposition Leader said the government must always bear in mind that students are the next generation of leaders and it is critical for them to be given top priority to undertake study and professional development.

“Those who have passed their exams the previous year must return to their respective institutions of studies quickly as the 2018 academic year has already started and the same treatment must be accorded to extension students.”

Maelanga said NTU officials like all other government officials ought to be reminded that they are employed by the government to serve the people and they must carry out their duty with utmost diligence and responsibility.

–OPPOSITION PRESS

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