NEWS

Investment In Educations Leaves TELS Debt Standing At Around $600 Million

“Despite the fiscal challenges we have ensured the education sector spending is not affected. We have been paying teachers despite many calling for a pay cut for our teachers.”
01 Dec 2021 12:46
Investment In Educations Leaves TELS Debt Standing At Around $600 Million
Minister for Education Premila Kumar in Parliament on November 30, 2021. Photo: Parliament of Fiji

The Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) debt stands at around $600 million, Minister for Education Premila Kumar revealed yesterday.

“Fiji on average spends almost 20 per cent of total Government expenditure on Education. This equates to over 6 per cent of GDP,” Ms Kumar said.

“On average we have been spending approximately $700m annually on education. This includes payment of teachers wages and salary (approximately $340m), free education (approximately $60m), transport assistance (over $20m), operating grant for tertiary institutions (over $70m) and funding through TELS and Toppers (approximately $130m).

“Despite the fiscal challenges we have ensured the education sector spending is not affected. We have been paying teachers despite many calling for a pay cut for our teachers.”

Actual TELS spending on tuition and accommodation are as follows:

  • 2018/19 – $101m
  • 2019/20 – $ 109m
  • 2020/21 – $67m
  • 2021/22 – $114m (budget)

“Funding every school leaver to go to university will cost approx. $200m annually,” she said.

“So, SODELPA is proposing to write off $600m in TELS debt and pay $200m annually on funding tertiary students.

“This is unsustainable.”

On one hand, Ms Kumar said SODELPA insisted  Government debt was high and then they propose unsustainable/populist policies that would cost Government hundreds of millions of dollars.

“SODELPA lacks creativity. We only hear what changes they will make to the current policies without any cost analysis. Please tell us about your new initiatives rather than the removal of current policies introduced by the FijiFirst Government.”

Feedback:  fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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