Government sponsored students in Fiji are well covered till December. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Mr. McKinnie Dentana says the government has advanced the students' scholarship funds to ensure they are supported until December.

Mr. Dentana says because of the usual financial constraints faced by the government, they have decided to advance the students' allowances, which will be deposited into the High Commissions account in Suva, and will be readily available to support students during this period of uncertainty.

He says the government sponsored students' allowances will be paid out from the High Commission’s education fund on a monthly basis.

“We also prioritise our students' at USP, especially those affected by COVID. We are also considering additional support for our students so that they can manage their welfare during this pandemic”, Dentana says.

He says this decision was made so that the Finance Ministry need not worry about the students' allowances while they focus on other pressing issues in the country.

Currently in Fiji there are more than 850 Solomon Islands students. Half of that number are government sponsored students.

Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) Dr. Jimmie Rodgers says the situation for the students in Fiji now is very difficult.

“And so, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance are looking at topping up their allowance. So that’s something that is being looked at to assist the students. These are additional costs brought on by the pandemic that were not part of the normal costs”, Dr. Rodgers said.

He said a paper is hoped to be presented to cabinet soon, for the government to consider not just supporting SIG sponsored students but all other Solomon Islands students currently in Fiji for education purposes.

Fiji has overtaken Australia to become the Pacific Island Forum member country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

There have been 38,812 cases recorded in Fiji since the outbreak. 345 have died from the virus, while 14,301 have recovered.

Just yesterday, 398 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for the 24-hour period that ended at 8am, on the 12th of August 2021. 254 cases are from the Western Division and 144 cases are from the Central Division.