ONE of the watchdog groups in the country has condemned the backdoor approach made by politicians and some people on the formal procedure of the National Training Unit (NTU) to award scholarships.
General Secretary of Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) Charles Ashley yesterday reiterated that this country must respect the mandated body that deals with scholarship awards for students intending to pursue their studies in tertiary institutions.
“The National Training Unit (NTU) and the National Training Committee (NTC) must be respected for their work and let them carry out their work in awarding scholarships, as stipulated in their guiding policies.”
Ashley was responding to continuous grievance from parents and students who felt that the interference of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the scholarship awards has denied those with good GPA (Grade Point Average) an opportunity to further study in universities abroad.
He warned that MPs must stop interfering in the good work of the NTU, seeing that only nine of them were adhered to the Cabinet’s policy directives to have four scholarships for each constituency per year.
The MMF General Secretary reiterated that; “if we fail to respect the laws and rules governing scholarships then confusion and total mess will rip-apart the formal system that was put in place to uphold transparency and accountability.”
He said that scholarship must be best left to the rightful body to independently carry out their work without political interference.
Mr Ashley added that MMF condemned corrupt practices entertained by politicians, which denied students who deserved an opportunity to study based on merit.
“If MPs continue to submit their own list that exceeds four and some even reach 10 is a daylight corruption.”
He further stated that students with high academic performance should not be denied a scholarship and this poor action by MPs reflects a no care attitude for the striving efforts of this country to fight corruption.
Mr Ashley explained that increasing scholarship award is not a problem, but the selection process should be left with the NTC and NTU to do the job.
Unfortunately politics involved, therefore the responsible government agency that deals with scholarships was hijacked by politicians, he continued.
“If we want the cream of the nation to go overseas then we must respect the system and let the body responsible for scholarship awards to do their work independently.”
By AATAI JOHN