THE National Training Unit (NTU) stepped in the last minute to settle tuition fees of 17 Solomon Island students studying at the University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae, PNG.
The national government has not paid the students’ 2014 tuition fees, resulting in threats not to readmit them this year.
Reports from those students said this forced the school administration closing all its doors to Solomon Islands Government (SIG) sponsored students for registration, enrollment, mess and other student services.
An email by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Dr Franco Rodie this week stated that they have sorted out the enrolment issue.
“I received confirmation from the NTU Director that he had settled the outstanding fees of the students,” Dr Rodie said in the email.
“Payments have been raised to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT). It is now being processed and should be paid to UNITECH.”
Dr Rodie admitted the delay of payments was caused by UNITECH admin, which did not provide details of students as required by the MoFT.
A student rep Eric Sogote’e welcomed the news and looked forward for enrolment in due time.
“The school put a deadline for our registration which is Friday this week, Mr Sogote’e said.
“Let’s hope that the payments are done urgently,” he added.
He said their worry now is catching up with tutorial lessons and toppling assignments.
“By now, we are four weeks late for classes and proved crucial since most of us are in the third and final year.”
Mr Sogote’e said there are 12 of them currently on campus.
The rest, who are continuing and new in-take students are still in Honiara, waiting in vain for their visas to be processed.
A final year engineering student John Basikona claimed the non-school fee payments delayed their allowance.
“We are living on a slice of bread per day. Our hope of receiving government allowance upon arrival turned cold due to these impasses,” Mr Basikona said.
Meanwhile, most Solomon Islands students attending institutions like Divine Word and Goroka University, Maritime College, Taurama School of Medicine are now four weeks into schooling.
UPNG and Pacific Adventist University started classes this month.
This year, the PNG Government provided over 200 scholarships for Solomon Islands students to study in various universities in PNG.
By TEDDY KAFO
in Madang, PNG