NEWS

Education Loans Now Affordable, Says A-G

People from lower income families are not charged any interest on student loans taken through the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS), says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Speaking at the Shree Gopal
01 Feb 2018 11:01
Education Loans Now Affordable, Says A-G
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum speaking at a public forum/talanoa session on desecration of temples in Fiji at the Shree Gopal Sadhu Hanumaan Gadhi Mandir, Nakasi on January 30, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

People from lower income families are not charged any interest on student loans taken through the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS), says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking at the Shree Gopal Sadhu Hanumaan Gadhi Mandir in Nakasi on Tuesday night, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, who is also Minister for Education, said more people were now able to get a tertiary education.

He said 630 scholarships were given every year but the scholarships are given in areas where expertise is lacking in Fiji, such as land surveying.

For TELS, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said anyone who has been accepted in a local university or a vocational college can fund their education through TELS.

While those from lower income families are not charged any interest on the loan, others who are from middle income families are charged a 1.5 per cent interest on the loans.

No financial institution in Fiji gives a personal loan with such low interest rates, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Previously scholarships had been categorised according to race. There were Fijian Affairs Board scholarships for the iTaukei community, the multi-ethnic scholarships and the Public Service Commission scholarships.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said women were worst affected when families could not afford to educate all their children. He said the girls of the family were often kept back from being educated if it came down to educating one or two children in a family.

“People came up to me in Ba and even in Labasa telling us that if something similar to TELS existed back then, people would have got tertiary education decades ago,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in the next four years, Fiji would have more better qualified people than ever before.

He said the political party which was promising to do away with loans accumulated under TELS was short-sighted in its approach.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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