It is still uncertain whether government sponsored students repatriated back to the country will continue with their education in various regional institutions in 2021.

Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resources (MEHRD), Franco Rodie (Phd) says there will only be certainty once COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

Rodie says at the moment there is still uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

“If we keep those students abroad, we have to sustain them and that is one of our difficulties. Everything is all about money. If we have enough funds, then that might be an alternative”, Rodie says.

He says if COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to people’s lives in 2021, “students will definitely remain in the country.”

He says the government will need to look at the situation in host countries before making a decision - when the time comes.

Currently the government's oversight committee is working on its plans to repatriate Solomon Islands government sponsored students as well as nationals living abroad.

It is understood that repatriation flights for government sponsored students in the Philippines will start on the 15th of September 2020.

Currently the Philippines and Indonesia are in the high risk category for COVID-19.

ABC reports that Indonesia, with an estimated population of 260 million, and the Philippines, with 110 million people, have both surpassed 130,000 COVID-19 cases.

Indonesia's health ministry reported on Sunday that cases had risen 2,081 to reach 139,549, while in the Philippines, authorities said 3,420 new cases had brought its total to 161,253.

But Indonesia has reported a total of 6,150 deaths, more than double the Philippines' 2,665.

Both countries have done poorly when it comes to testing.