The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) will be implementing its cost sharing scholarship arrangement with students receiving in-country awards at the SICHE School of Education and the USP (SI Campus) starting this year 2010.

This cost sharing arrangement is now implemented at SICHE School of Education and will be further implemented at the USP SI Campus and the UPNG Open Learning in 2011.

The cost sharing arrangement is introduced to control the growing expenses in the tertiary sector and to balance with expenses in basic education. Despite the financial difficulties, government has always met the full cost of scholarships in overseas institutions, at SICHE School of Education and USP SI Campus.

"We are becoming so dependent on the government and we expect too much that when it is not provided, we get frustrated and we complain. It is about time that we support the government by sharing the cost of our training. Cost sharing also means that more students can be subsidized for their tertiary studies," said Mylyn Kuve, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education.

In the cost sharing arrangement students are required to pay 25% of the total cost of their training as clearly specified in a new Tertiary Education policy, soon to be submitted to Cabinet.

On this note, the Permanent Secretary wishes to correct the misinformation that appeared on the front page of the Solomon Star (issue No: 4162) regarding this new arrangement.

"To put the record straight, relevant information on this new sponsorship arrangement was conveyed to both continuing students through the Permanent Secretary's letter of 9th April 2009 to all SOE students and new students through the scholarship advertisement for the 2010 in-country awards. Students were given prior warning to be prepared to meet part of the cost of their studies in 2010. Therefore to say that students were not given enough notice about this new arrangement is misleading," Mrs Kuve further explained.

In the past years up to 2009, SIG sponsored students at the School of Education have been more fortunate because all their tuition fees, meals, accommodation/boarding and basic and travelling allowances were being paid for by the Ministry of Education with support from NZAID compared to students of other schools within SICHE who had to meet all these costs from their own/parents' pockets.

In view of the above, the new cost-sharing arrangement is aimed to making students and parents share the cost and not to rely solely on the government and donor partners to meet everything.

"I hope this clarifies this issue. Otherwise, students are free to withdraw from this sponsorship arrangement if they do not agree and their place can be given to other students that are willing to accept this cost sharing arrangement," Mrs Kuve said.

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