THE introduction of the new ‘cost-sharing’ policy by the Ministry of Education has irked law extension students studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Emalus campus in Vanuatu.
This was after up to 150 government0funded law students, including extension students at the campus, reportedly went without allowance for a month now.
“We will come back home because we will not survive on the cost-sharing arrangement for the whole semester,” an extension student, Junior Mae’akofia told the Solomon Star.
The new cost sharing policy was introduced by the ministry and came into effect this year.
It requires students or parents to meet half of the cost while the government meets the other half.
But students concerned said the policy was unfair.
“How can one expect our poor parents to meet the other half when life here in another country was too expensive?” Mr Mae’akofia said.
“Students come from different backgrounds and financial standings. The ministry should understand this.
“In the past a precedent has been set that one year extension is allocated for government sponsored students if they have some outstanding courses.
“To that, extension students will also receive full allowances as other students,” he said.
Mr Mae’akofia said in past years extension students received full allowances, but this was no longer the case this year.
“This is simply unfair because the reasons for the extension of the scholarship is well justified.
“But if this issue remain unsolved, we will come back home, because we will not survive here,” he added.
Mr Mae’akofia added the ministry must reconsider this new policy otherwise it will deprive students of their rights to education.
It’s understood the cost-sharing policy applies to all government funded extension students studying overseas and in-country.
Meanwhile, similar sentiments were shared by extension students at USP Laucala campus in Fiji.
The students said that the cost sharing policy has put them in a dire situation.
More than 100 extension students are studying overseas.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO