Gov’t must address students’ issue in Taiwan, says Raramo
By IAN M.KAUKUI
A senior national advocator, Redley Solomon Raramo has joined the local students studying in Taiwan by calling on the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, his Cabinet and the Ministry of Education to help sort out the issue faced by students in Taiwan.
Raramo made the call mainly in support for those final year students as transferring them when they are about to complete their courses will really affect them.
He said he is obliged on behalf of the SI Taiwan Students to call on the PM and Cabinet to address the concern raised by students studying in Taiwan universities immediately.
“It is a worrying situation having to transfer the final year students to start all over again from Universities of Taiwan to China.
“Should this issue still not addressed than this call is significant for the Cabinet to immediately intervene through the Ministry of Education before the 2020 academic year begins,” he said.
Raramo said the MERHD must swiftly find alternatives to address these students.
He suggested one of the options the government would take is to give loans to concern students, and repay them later when they acquire formal employment.
This paper understands the call was also made earlier by the students themselves and also their parents but was not considered by the National Government.
Instead, a recent responds from the government as in responds to those calls outlined the 12 best China universities that will accommodate the 91 students from Taiwan.
A statement from the ministry said the 91 students have completed the China Scholarship Council (CSC) online application process last month.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have confirmed that the selection process and placement are currently underway for the 91 students who have applied,” the statement said.
“Admission offer would be notified to students by the end of January 2020, followed by visa application and pre-departure briefing in Honiara on the first week of February,” it added.
“Students are expected to travel by mid-February to their institution of study.
“Our Chinese counterparts have informed MEHRD that students transferring from Taiwan to China would be accommodated in the 12 best English-speaking institutions in the country.
“The 91 students studying in Taiwan are expected to return to Solomon Islands before taking up the offer and placement in commencing university study under a Chinese government funded scholarship.”
The statement said the ministry will continue to facilitate the smooth transition of students to China by corresponding with the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in PNG.
President of the Solomon Islands Students in Taiwan (SISAT), Desmond Tige on behalf of the students said despite the switch, the Taiwanese government had agreed to continue the sponsorship of scholarships to students till this month, January 2020.
Tige said they have been asking the government for SIG sponsorship in order to complete the remaining semester and years as transferring to China is not in their best interest.
He said their request was based on the collective concerns from the student body regarding the issue as it will affect each student, if they are to be transferred to China.
“Regardless Solomon Islands has severe ties with Taiwan, the Taiwanese government has given all of us options to continue pursuing our studies in Taiwan if we have the means of financial support.
“Due to the goodwill gesture from Taiwan government, all the students have collectively agreed that they would like to remain in Taiwan to complete their studies and request sponsorship from the SIG,” he added.
Tige said the collective decision was made based on the facts where most final year students agree that it is highly inconvenient to leave when their program is close to completion.
Not only that, he said the issue of academic cross-crediting will extremely difficult if not impossible altogether for most programs, should the students have to change universities.