Student Performance and Sponsor

Dear editor, I would like to respond to few things that were raised by Pamela in the Solomon times on Thursday 31st July 2008. By just glancing at the first line of paragraph one of Pamela's letter, I could rule out that she was on the other side of river.

Firstly, Pamela shouts with the top of her lovely voice loud and clear in the media by emphasizing that factors that lead to student poor academic performance were beyond the control of the NTU. Could Pamela highlights and listed what are the factors she was referring to.

Secondly, Pamela stress that I quote, "It is true that the payment of allowance for SIG sponsored students is always late, but I think it is a bit unfair to use that as an excuse for students' low performance. If it is really true that there is a direct relationship between the timing of the payment of our allowance and our level of performance, then the case should be that majority of SIG sponsored students would perform poorly". End of quote.

Pamela, where were you last year? If you were here, you should by now easily figured out what was the contributing factor to the students' poor performance as far as the delay of allowance is concern. For your good understanding, last years allowance was very late than this year. As a result, 20+ students or so were sent home in the first semester after the results was released because of poor academic performance. They had failed most of the courses they had enrolled in.

This years allowance was bit earlier than last year. That leads to lots of SIG students according to your statement had performed fairly enough last semester regardless of the very late payment of our allowance. Could you see the direct relationship between the timing of payment of students allowance and their level of performance which you based your understanding on?

From my understanding Pamela, delay of allowance and poor academic performance are correlates to each other. Correlates here Pamela means have or bring into a relationship in which one thing affects or depends on the other.

Thirdly, Pamela believes according to her understanding that only two things were contributed significantly to student poor academic performance. I quote, "First, is the ability of the student himself/herself, and second is the performance of lecturers and the quality of course materials." End of quote.

For your good understanding Pamela as a scholar, if a student was well equipped with the prescribed text books, stationery, money and so forth in the first week when the semester begins, nothing will affect him/her with his/her learning capacity. Its money that make things moving. If you have the ability, talent and are capable of doing things but without resources you can't do anything with your own strength and ability.

Pamela also mentioned something about lecturers and quality of course materials. What do you mean by highlighting the performance of the lecturers? As far as I know as my lecturers are concerned, I could say that they are very qualified people who are knowledgeable in the subjects they were lecturing and tutoring. I did not find any thing bad with my lecturers that will contribute negatively to my learning capacity.

Regarding quality course materials, everything were stated out clearly in the enrolment guide and the course guide such as the author/ writer, title of the prescribed textbook, which edition, city of publication, the publisher and date of publication which students have to purchase from the USP Book Centre. All these things will again highlighted clearly in the first day of lectures. I don't know why Pamela mentioned something about the quality of the course materials.

After reading Pamela's letter, I could say that she must be residing on Campus. However, if she lives off Campus, she must just live close to USP. For some students Pamela, they have to travel by bus to attend lectures and tutorials. If allowance does not forth coming in the first, second, third week and so forth, students' attendance will definitely affected.

For your good information Pamela, if you were a daily reader of the Solomon times which I believe you do, on Thursday 29th May 2008, the Solomon times carry this head line "Ministry says Tertiary Students in Good-Hands." This is what appeared under that headline I quote, "About 936 local students who are studying in at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and at the University of Papua New Guinea can now expect their outstanding allowances and other expenses to be settled on time.

Students' allowances had been delayed towards the end of last year and were only paid early this year, causing many complaints from Solomon Islands students in Fiji and PNG. Hardson Kupenga of the National Training Unit (NTU) Department has revealed that, the delay in the payment was due to the fact that there was a delay in the passage of the Government's 2008 Budget. Kupenga said that since everything has now settled down the Department is working on any early payment of the second semester allowances and payments of their campus expenses." End of quote.

Pamela could you please define the word 'early' and 'on time' for me please. From my little understanding of those words, it simply means before the usual or expected time.
The first week in the first semester had gone, the second week had begun. What about the line of sentences, which stresses, "allowances will be settled on time, and the department is working on an early payment of the second semester allowance?" There is a saying that goes, "action speak louder than words." In the case of NTU it was reversed in our situation Pamela, "words speak louder than action."

Pamela continues to say "As students we should be grateful to have a sponsor to help us achieve our goals in life by obtaining a qualification, which we ourselves cannot personally afford. Thus, instead of blaming NTU for nonperformance, we should appreciate what our government is doing for us."

In responding to your above comment Pamela, thats the policy of the government which was executed by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources. Their policy was for the training of the human resources for Solomon Islanders. As far as we are concern, we already done our part by securing the GPA of 3 and above before we were awarded Scholarships, passing the courses we had enrolled in and so forth. The term free rider does not apply here. Each individual student were assess on his/her own academic performance before he/she was awarded a scholarship. Thats their side by not performing their part.

There is a saying that goes; whatever you say will be used against you. And so, this was what happened in your case and NTU. I just respond to what you have voicing in your letter and to what NTU had said few months back (May) in this same paper (Solomon times).

All in all, On the one hand, NTU was very quick in terminating student scholarships while on the other hand, so slow in addressing student issues of concern.

Offer to you Pamela H. Naesol.