Dear Editor – In the Solomon Islands local media on the 29 October, 2021, it was reported that H.E. Robert Sisilo, Solomon Islands High Commissioner in Canberra was calling on Australia to permit Solomon Islands and Pacific Islands students to “pay local tuition fees [only] instead of the prohibitively expensive international fees”.
As a Pacific Islands university educator, I agree with H.E. Sisilo’s call. As well, I think that this is a call to Aotearoa New Zealand as well.
I support this call primarily because I want to encourage Australian and New Zealand to embrace the Pacific Islands region and nation states as family. Such re-naming is essential for its dignity-enhancing value, and for all family members.
I would further offer the following: That, in the first instance, domestic fees are offered to Pacific Islands masters and doctoral students and not undergraduate students.
That appropriate and improved student services be made in places including at universities and across universities.
That given the covid pandemic international travel restrictions, Australia and New Zealand universities be encouraged immediately to experiment with innovative ways of working collaboratively with Pacific Islands national universities (and where appropriate USP), in supporting the “family framing” of university level people-development in our home region.
Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand