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Professor: Free Education in Fiji Commendable

Professor: Free Education in Fiji Commendable
Professor Russayani Ismail. Photo: Charles Chambers
February 22
10:39 2018

A Malaysian professor at the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference believes the provision of free education up to secondary school level in Fiji is commendable.

She also commended the Tertiary Loan Scheme saying this was a big assistance for the students coming from low income families.

Professor Russayani Ismail, from Utara University in the north of Malaysia said she thinks the system adopted in Fiji was very good in that students from poor families did not pay any interest on their children’s tertiary loans.

“We have free education in our country up to secondary school, however students pay their own transportation to school,” she said.

“We have a lot of schools in the rural areas so there is no problem for students to find their way to school.

“We have to pay tertiary education, but for public institutions including universities the fees are very minimal.”

Professor Ismail believes there should be no free education at tertiary level because whoever attends these institutions should at least pay something.

She said by providing free education for tertiary level this would benefit the rich more than the poor.

“We have done a study on Fiji on the student loan scheme (TELS) and found this benefits the poor as they only charge 1.5 per cent interest for low income earners and zero per cent for poor families,” Professor Russayani said.

“It is a good way forward, but being introduced a few years now there is no record on the repayment system.

“In our country we have the problem of repayment. We don’t have repayment measures in place like Australia.

“In our country we start paying six months after you receive it and for a lot of families it has become a burden when the economy  is not good.

“Many of the graduates find it hard to get jobs so they start worrying about the repayment.”

Edited by Percy Kean


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