27 September 2020

A FIRST-year student at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has made a passionate appeal to the Government to help sort out the issue of outstanding tuition fees for largely self-sponsored students.

“This is the last week for student registration and out there are students who simply cannot meet the deadline imposed by SINU in meeting their outstanding tuition fees on time,” Kemuel Mauta, who is taking a two-year Secondary School Teaching program, told Solomon Star on the weekend.

“I am one of them. Because of the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am actually thinking of putting off my course until next year,” he said.

“For me, that would be a tragedy, because I have put in a lot in my studies up to this point. And there are so many other students like me out there who at this point in time simply do not know what to do unless the government steps in,” Mr. Mauta said.

“We are in a dilemma,” he said.

Mr. Mauta who hails from Fo’ondo in North Malaita said the Government should intervene by either writing off all outstanding tuition fees for privately-sponsored students and students sponsored by their Constituencies or come up with with an alternative arrangement which would allow us to continue our studies despite outstanding tuition fees.

“I know there are students sponsored by their Constituencies that have outstanding tuition fees because their MPs have not paid up. They are in the same situation as self-sponsored students.

“In this regard, I appeal to the government to please take up our case immediately.  One way of addressing this is through an order under the State of Public Emergency that allows all students to continue their studies irrespective of outstanding fees.

“The government has done this for primary and secondary school students nationwide. I am simply asking the government to extend this assistance to privately-sponsored students at SINU. An arrangement could be entered into whereby students with outstanding tuition fees could pay on installments,” Mr. Mauta said.

He said the other alternative was that students are not allowed to graduate until their outstanding fees are cleared.

“To force us out through no fault of our own is a bit unfair because we simply want to continue our education,” Mr. Mauta said.

By Alfred Sasako
Honiara Newsroom