THE Ministry of Education’s National Training Unit is facilitating the repatriation of Solomon Islands students studying Papua New Guinea universities.
The government after closely monitoring the political situation in PNG agreed to bring home students studying at UPNG, University of Technology (UNITECH) and University of Goroka (UOG).
The planned repatriation of SI students is a direct result of their continuous class boycott for the past months, calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step down for corruption allegations.
It escalated and turned into a violent bloodshed where police intervened and opened fire on protesting students.
Ministry of Education and Human Resources permanent secretary, Dr Franco Rhodie said cabinet agreed to repatriate the students based a number of reasons.
“We want them to come home to stay away from the problem.
“But if normal classes resume when everything settles down, we will send the students back to school,” he said.
Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG, Barnabas Anga said in an interview with Loop PNG, “Our students are safe here and we must look beyond the situation we are encountering, meaning if there is a need for repatriation then there should be proper withdrawal and pre-enrollment so we do not have these challenges when we want to enroll our students”.
“It is also for universities to have this understanding with sponsor students so we will not encounter similar challenges as we did in the past.
“Otherwise we are happy with the arrangement, some of the students are happy, especially those who are finishing, we want to be very careful with the status of the graduating students and first year students because in our view this will be the most affected,” Mr Anga said.
Solomon Islands education embassy attaché Claire Damutalau said they are in constant communication with university administrations.
Ms Damatulau said students attending UPNG are currently accommodated off campus, and on campus at UNITECH and UOG.
From the 125 students; 61 attend UPNG, Unitech 35 and 29 are at UOG.
By EDDIE OSIFELO