Solomons Law Students In Vanuatu May Not Graduate

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Government allegedly owes for tuition at USP Emalus campus

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 31, 2013) – Government-sponsored law students studying at University of the South Pacific (USP) Emalus campus, Port Vila, Vanuatu may not graduate this year.

This is due to outstanding tuitions owed by the government with the regional university.

A spokesperson for the students John Omani said about five Solomon Islands students are expected to graduate from the USP law school in Vanuatu in December.

However, none of them will be able to do so if the government fail to settle its arrears with the law school within few days, he said.

"Solomon Islands government (SIG) is yet to settle the fees for a winter course undertaken by the graduating students in June 2013."

He explained the students have enrolled for the course following an understanding between SIG and the law school.

"However, seeing that SIG does not pay its dues within an expected time, the law school had taken furthers steps and put a halt ("on hold") on the students as a consequence.

"This means that USP cannot process their applications for both graduation and PDLP unless the arrears are settled."

Applications for graduation will close today - 31st October, 2013.

Despite numerous reminders and correspondence from the students, the government still does not make attempts to settle the dues, Mr. Omani said.

He added the graduating students are also awaiting entitlements for excess of baggage. In the previous year, the allocated package was Vt3,000 (SBD$4,410.00, or US$31.79).

Furthermore, the Solomon Islands Law Students body is also waiting eagerly to receive the remaining part of their allowance which is Vt16,000 (SBD$1,120.00, or US$169.53).

"Although numerous contacts and requests were made, there is still no positive outcome from the government," the spokesperson said.

About 103 students are studying at Emalus. Of the total, 94 are SIG sponsored and around 9 are AusAID sponsored.

Attempts to get comments from the education ministry officials last night were unsuccessful.

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