NEWS

Students Fret Over TELS Scheme Ahead Of Poll

  ‘What will happen to us if another Government gets elected in? My parents and husband won’t be able to pay our school fees…’ Students in the Northern Divi­sion who
17 Oct 2018 11:58
Students Fret Over TELS Scheme Ahead Of Poll

 

‘What will happen to us if another Government gets elected in? My parents and husband won’t be able to pay our school fees…’

Students in the Northern Divi­sion who are studying under the Tertiary Education Loan Schemes are worried if there is a change in Government they won’t be able to continue with their stud­ies.

This comes as two prominent par­ties the National Federation Party and Social Democratic Liberal Party, who both have a full line-up of candidates for the 51 parliamen­tary seats, have announced plans to change the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) if they get elected into Government on No­vember 14.

Neelam Prasad of Korowiri, who is currently studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood Education at the University of the South Pacific under TELS, said she did not know how she would continue with her studies if another Government gets elected.

“What will happen to us if an­other Government gets elected in? My parents and husband won’t be able to pay our school fees and then my dreams will be shattered. I have a family to look after,” Ms Prasad said.

Jale Baleilevuka of Wailevu who is currently studying Bachelor of Education at the Fiji National Uni­versity said: “I have to go back to being a burden to my parents and family,” Mr Baleilevuka said.

Zulfiya Bi, who is also studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood Edu­cation at USP under the scheme, said she had seen the benefits of TELS.

“We receive allowances, our fares and accommodation, so why should we elect a party that will take us back to 1999 and 2006,” Ms Bi said.

Olivia Bogi of Dogotuki, who is studying for a Diploma in Account­ing at FNU, said: “I am satisfied with what the current Government has to offer, why elect another par­ty, no need to.”

SODELPA party leader Sitiveni Rabuka said if it took power af­ter the election the party would convert all existing TELS loans to scholarships, meaning it will not have to be repaid.

He says, however, that students will serve a bond, which is a re­quirement to work in Fiji for the duration of their term of sponsor­ship

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad said the TELS loan scheme was a huge burden on chil­dren from low-income families.

“We will provide a well devised strategy to ensure that students not only get access to university educa­tion, but provide opportunities for all those students in low income families,” he said.

“What this government is doing is putting huge burdens on these kids who are coming from poor families anyway and then they graduate with a debt on them and on their families, which will take several years to pay back,” he said.

“If National Federation Party comes into government we will introduce a new merit scholarship for students who have a family income of less than $30,000. This is only for students who score 250 marks and above will be eligible for this scholarship.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

 

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