Solomons College Students Plan Boycott Over Government Stipends

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Government unresponsive to demand for increased allowances

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 17, 2012) – Students of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE)’s School of Education (SOE) are threatening to boycott classes as of Monday next week.

The proposed move follows lack of response from the government towards their claims and grievances.

The students recently submitted their claims to the National Training Unit (NTU) at the ministry of education after it was endorsed by the student body following a general student meeting held on 27th of April.

The claim and grievances mainly calls for an increase in allowances the students receive from their sponsors, the Solomon Islands Government.

The issues listed by the students are as follows:

Along with the letter submitted on April 30, 2012, NTU was also given a 14-day notice to respond to the student’s claims and grievances.

"The fourteen day notice has lapsed at the start of this week and still we have not had any response from either the NTU or the SICHE Administration.

"This has caused much frustration and doubts on us the concerned students, no response give us the picture that both education authorities do not take our grievances seriously.

"However both NTU and SICHE will be given an additional four-day notice and if we still have no response from them then we will boycott classes as of Monday next week," SICHE Student Association President, Timothy Amasia said.

Mr. Amasia hinted that boycotting classes is just one of their three proposed plan of action.

"Our second proposed plan of action if respective education authorities to not respond is to boycott the upcoming Teachers Experience (T.E) program.

"Also students plan on continuing to occupy the Hostels in the lead-up to the upcoming Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) until these demands are addressed accordingly," Mr. Amasia said.

Director of the National Training Unit (NTU), Selu Maezama yesterday confirmed to this paper having receiving the two letters from the students; one of which was the log of their claims and grievances and the other their proposed plan of action.

Mr. Maezama said that he had a brief meeting with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) concerning the matter.

However, adding that the Permanent Secretary of the MEHRD must first be made aware of the issue before any respond will be given.

"This matter will be presented to the PS of Education tomorrow in our meeting, then and only then can we respond to these claims and grievances," Mr. Maezama said.

Meanwhile the SICHE’s director office yesterday said they are not aware of the proposed boycott plan.

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