By EDDIE OSIFELO
Scholarships for in-country students has been hit hard this year following a half reduction in its budgetary allocation.
Minister of Education and Human Resources, Lannelle Tanangada said a reduction from the 2020 revised budget of $105,250,466 to $50,000,000 in 2021, sees 52.5 percent cut.
She said the actual expenditure in 2020 was $98,387,932.
“It needs to be highlighted that this will have significant impact on the new 1,000 in-country scholarships allocated for this year.
“There is reduction in the budget by $108,053,581 which is 26.96%,” she said.
“I need to state that SITESA is likely to experience challenges to fund for both ongoing scholarships and new 1,000 scholarship in 2021.
“It is estimated that a budget of $107 million would be adequate to fund the in-country scholarship – an increase of $57 million is needed,” she said.
“Again my Ministry will need to come up with cost-cutting measures and to respond to the short-falls in the scholarship budget,” she said.
Minister Tanangada said the primary education grant has been sliced from $94 million in 2020 to $69 million this year.
This is a drop by $25 million, while the actual expenditure for 2020 was $101,730,347, which was over the estimated budget by $5,483,745.
She said this is the largest sector in education, accounting for approximately 65 % of students annually.
“It is important to restore this budget cut for this critical sector and as such a bid is proposed to be done,” she said.
Further to that, she said her Ministry has also asked DFAT to top-up the school grant budget by $24 million and they have agreed.
“I would like to thank the continued generosity of the Australian Government in its support of our education sector,” she said.