PNG TO PAY SOLOMON STUDENTS’ SCHOOL FEES

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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 30) – Solomon Islands government sponsored students studying at the various Papua New Guinea tertiary institutions can now breath with a sigh of relief following the Papua New Guinea government’s offer to aid the financially strapped students.

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will make a hand over ceremony of the check payment tomorrow to the country’s High Commissioner in Port Moresby, it was confirmed.

About 144 students currently studying at the various institutions have been financially affected since the beginning of this year due to unpaid living and book allowances.

Following the students’ plight in the delay of allowance payment, the Papua New Guinea government has announced to assist the students using the bilateral funds to help the Solomon Islands government.

Solomon Star understands that the Solomon Islands government has agreed to use the funds given by the Papua New Guinea government under its bilateral agreement to pay for the school fees and allowances of its sponsored students studying in the various institutions.

Speaking to Solomon Star yesterday, Director of National Training Selu Maezama confirmed that he had received word from the High Commission office in Port Moresby about the handing over ceremony.

Maezama said that the official ceremony will take place in Port Moresby on Friday and Sir Michael will officially hand over the check of gesture to the representative of the government in Papua New Guinea.

The Director could not determine the exact amount to be handed over tomorrow.

However the fund is part of the PGK$3.3 million [US$1,140,203] allocated by the Papua New Guinea government to assist Solomon Islands government in tertiary education, he revealed.

With the Papua New Guinea government now coming to the rescue of the students, the National Training Director expressed gratitude over the kind gesture because it would assist the students studying in Papua New Guinea this year.

Once the payment is done tomorrow the Solomon Islands high commission office in Port Moresby will facilitate the due tuition and allowances to the various institutions and students respectively, Maezama revealed.

Last week local students from Divine Word University in Goroka and University of Papua New Guinea have expressed concern over the delay in payments, which dramatically affected their studies since classes resumed a month ago.

Divine Word based students have also threatened to cease classes and return home due to the delay.

With the payments now ready to be handed over, the government – through its National Training office – had advised the students to continue with their studies.

March 31, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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