Solomons’ Students In Fiji Also Facing Allowance Issues

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Solomons’ Students In Fiji Also Facing Allowance Issues Student body president: ‘students have no money to survive on’

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 7, 2013) – Solomon Islands Government-sponsored students studying at the Laucala’s University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji are threatening to boycott classes if their allowances are not settled immediately.

The students in a resolution passed early this week agreed to take the course of action if nothing is done by this week.

Samson Korai, the USP-based Solomon Islands students association (SISA) president confirmed the proposed move to the paper yesterday.

This comes a day after UPNG students issued a seven days ultimatum to the government.

In an interview with Mr. Korai, he described the situation as getting out of control.

"As a person responsible for the students here at Laucala campus I can rightfully say that the situation is beyond our control.

"We are without money to survive on; no food, no text books and some students are being forced out of their flats by landlords due to non-payment of their rental.

"These things really affected us both physically and academically. We want the government to take this seriously and step up to solve it as soon as possible.

"We cannot continue with this any longer, we want this to be resolve so that we can focus on our studies. We have met and came up with some resolutions to take if the government fails to pay up our allowances by this week."

The president said the situation is getting worst each day.

On Monday the students have to share the little food they have as some of the students have gone without food.

"The only thing is to share the little foods we have, to keep us alive.

"Instead of struggling for our education, our situation here was different; we have to struggle for foods, what should be readily available."

One of the students Whitlam Saeni acknowledged the wantok system helped the students to depend on each other and survive.

"Currently we are only depending on each other for survival."

Reports from Suva yesterday said the students are in desperate situation.

A second year BSC student Nicholas Suava said, it is really difficult to attend class without any text book, especially science courses which required text and lab books for tutorial purposes.

Ronn Hobbes an arts student revealed that, attending of classes without or less balance food is so academically challenging.

He added that many students are currently skipping normal meals because of this financial constrained being faced.

"It is a really sad thing to attend class with an empty stomach," Hobbes said.

About half of the Solomon Islands students who rent of campus are chased or demanded by their land lords to pay their overdue rental cost.

A third year student Jerad Ritoa said, some of us who are renting off campus are being treated shamefully from our land lords to pay our rental dues on time.

Explaining the situation yesterday permanent secretary (PS) of the ministry of education Dr. Fred Rohorua said the ministry has nothing to do with the issue and its delay.

He said the ministry has done its part by raising the payments already.

"Up to now, I have no updates on that as we have already raised the payments. Whatever comments from NTU is final.

"We are only waiting for the ministry of finance to inform us whether the payments were released or not."

PS Rohorua also stated that one issue the country is facing is financial problems.

Permanent secretary of the ministry of finance Shadrach Fanega when contacted referred the Solomon Star to the Deputy Accountant General Marilyn Kodoleke.

But when contacted, Mrs. Kodoleke refused to comment, referring the Solomon Star back to Mr. Fanega.

When contacted again late yesterday reports from the ministry of finance said the PS was in a meeting with NTU officials to discuss the issue.

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