Government is butchering Education
Friday 15th January 2021
“The Fiji First Government is hell-bent on reviewing TELS under dubious pretext and sacrificing the hope and aspirations of our students”.
This is the grim warning sounded by National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad who claimed Government is butchering education by tinkering Tertiary Education Loans and Scholarship scheme to cover up the financial mess that it has created with bad governance over the past years.
Professor Prasad said many young students coming out of secondary schools will need to study in tertiary institutions and this is not the time to review, reduce and make TELS restrictive.
He said there were many young people who have lost employment and wish to pursue technical, vocational and formal tertiary education in their field of skills and knowledge and they too should be allowed to access TELS.
His comments follow the announcement by TELS Board Chairman Rakesh Ram who said on Thursday that TELS was being reviewed to suit the nation’s needs in the coming decade up to 2031.
“This government has a habit of ruining people’s lives by through dubious review exercises in the past”.
“And now the Government is doing the same thing to TELS – reviewing it under the pretext of making it more relevant to the job market and skill sets needed in the nation”.
“This is a sick joke”.
“In the two budgets leading up to the November 2018 general elections, Government had expanded TELS. Entry marks into universities were reduced to 200; students were given the option of changing programs; allowances were increased; income threshold for qualification of allowances was raised to $50,000; numbers for Toppers scheme were increased and the need for guarantors removed as long as no students traveled overseas”.
“It is now abundantly clear that these increases and incentives were clearly a vote-buying
gimmick, similar to other measures which have now been taken away”.
“The last thing students need as they enter the final year of their secondary school or getting ready to enroll for their favoured programs at universities having decided on their future career paths, is to be told that TELS is being reviewed”.
“This is undoubtedly creating fear and uncertainty in minds of both parents and students because it means payment of thousands of dollars in fees at a time when they can least afford it”.
“This government has always boasted of leaving no one behind”.
“It should put its money where its mouth is and allow unrestricted access to the scholarship and loans scheme by students just as it had promised to do so”.