Thursday, 16 August 2007 9:33 AM

Solomon Students in USP Still Without Allowance

Government sponsored students of Solomon Islands studying at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji face yet again financial dilemma due to delay of allowance payment.

Students say the "embarrassing situation" has forced them to face eviction orders from their landlords and having to borrow from students sponsored by other donor agencies.

A Bachelor of Education student, Seth Tamoa, was quoted as telling the Fiji Times Online that his Fijian neighbors fed him yesterday when they learnt of his situation. Pressure on the students mounts to meet rental payments, food, bus fare and course materials as some go into the fourth week without receiving allowance.

Several calls made by the Solomon Times to students in USP have confirmed that the situation is worse then in previous years. "This is in fact my third year, and I must say it is worse then the past two years I was here," said the student. "At least previously we used to get our book allowance first, now it's not the case."

The students urge the government to step in as the situation gets serious with some students contemplating to withdraw from some units as they go to lectures without text books.

The situation is affecting some 530 Solomon Islands students, who have been relying on friends and neighbors for the past months for survival.

Meanwhile, Director of the National Training Unit, Selu Maezama, told the Fiji Times that his office is dealing with the matter. Maezama has assured the students that the "under-staffed unit" would process the allowance by the weekend.

Calls made by Solomon Times to the NTU have been unsuccessful with staff wishing not to comment on the matter.