LEADER of the Official Opposition Matthew Wale has condemned the Ministry of Education and Human Resources over its failure to deal with the situation Solomon Islands students are currently facing abroad, and calls on those responsible to pull up their socks.
The Opposition Leader’s statement follows reports in the local media that Solomon Islands students studying in various institutions in the Philippines are experiencing a range of problems including, self-sustenance issues, unpaid rentals and amenity needs and visa concerns.
He said these problems are all directly related to the delay in the payment of the student’s allowances and it seems there is no fair treatment across the board for Solomon Islands students studying abroad.
He added that this is not the first time that our students studying in the Philippines have faced problems.
The Opposition leader goes on to say that, “the failure of the responsible Government officials to ensure that student allowances are paid in time is unacceptable and borders on negligence of duty to say the least”.
The Leader stressed that, “it is therefore incumbent on the government to quickly step in to help our students, because the last thing the country wants is for some of its citizens to suffer unnecessarily abroad, or be deported, because of the failure of those responsible.
“The responsible officers within the Ministry must know that when Solomon Island students are sent by the government on scholarships abroad, the government has a duty to ensure that their welfare is well taken care of.
“This means, making sure that their allowances and other personal needs are provided to them in good time,” the Opposition Leader adds.
The leader further added that, “if the Ministry does not already have one, it should develop a system which contains basic information on each students which if consulted, should easily give details on where and when student allowances are due for payment.
“This system should also be the basis for securing government funds from the Treasury in good time. It is not good for those responsible to say that they are not aware of delays and react only when complaints are raised by students.”
The Opposition leader then stressed that, “students are not only our investment for the future but their well-being is always a matter of great concern to their parents whom place their trust in the Ministry and so the Ministry and those responsible must not let these parents down.
“I therefore call on the Ministry to ensure that this does not happen ever again in the future.”