By Gary Hatigeva
WHILE members of Parliament are asking for the government through the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) to maintain the number of scholarship awards for constituencies, institutes are also asking them to pay their dues.
A report from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has yesterday revealed that a total of 34 constituencies still owe the local university some millions of dollars in total for outstanding fees and related costs.
Collectively, the 34 constituencies owe over $8.5million to SINU, with the West Makira constituency revealed to have recorded the highest of over $700,000 in arrears, followed by the East Are’are constituency, with over $600,000, and the lowest being at just over $5,000.
In total over $19million is currently owed to SINU by the 36 constituencies, which makes up half of full amount, while the Guadalcanal Provincial Government is revealed to have made up just almost half of the total.
Solomon Islands government ministries collectively, owe the local institute over $3million in arrears from the total $19.85million amount.
The others were cleared following a first notice of dues, which was issued by the institute early last month.
There is however, a strong suggestion that the government’s reduction measure in the number of scholarships to constituencies under MPs is timely, as there are grave concerns that the outstanding bills if not settled sooner, might somehow affect the operation of the institute.
Critics added that it is even more crucial, as this trend of unpaid arrears might also affect chances of future scholars under this scheme.
The current notice also comes as a worrying matter for a good number of students that are taken under the MPs scholarship scheme, as the institute has warned that failure by those responsible for the fees will detrimental effects on the students concerned.
The institute in a statement released yesterday, however acknowledged the other fee payers, which include 16 constituencies, who are revealed to have settled their dues with the national university, are assured that those being cleared will not face any cause of action from the institute.