Solomons Students Protest Outside Education Ministry

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Over 2,000 want ministry to release school allowances

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 15, 2013) – Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students on Thursday stepped up the pressure on the government to pay up their allowances.

More than 2000 student gathered around the premises of the Ministry of Education to demand payment – attracting huge public attention, and the police to the scene.

The ministry was able to release the allowances for 300 students, while up to 3,000 students were told to wait.

This prompted disagreement and anger amongst those who were told to wait, and kept them waiting outside the ministry’s office for the most part of Thursday.

The ministry said pay outs will continue today and next week.

More students will receive their allowance on Friday and next week.

Addressing the students, National Training Unit (NTU) director Selu Maezama assured them pay outs will continue in the coming days.

On Thursday, boarding students at Panatina campus received their allowances.

President of the student association Wilson Mae said the students are unhappy because of the delay, but now felt a sense of relief now that the government is paying up.

"Actually, the students are unhappy about the delay of allowance, but it’s good that payments have now started," Mr Mae said.

He said the ministry should learn from what happened this year.

The boarding Panatina campus students received SBD$1,500 [US$203] each, whilst the Kukum campus day students will each get SBD$4,500 [US$611].

Most of the students have gone on holiday since last Friday.

Mr Mae said the students were unhappy with the delay because they need their allowances to travel home and also to settle their 25 per cent tuition fee in order to get their results or graduate next month.

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