I AM shocked by the high fees charged by state universities and colleges in our nation.
Why is this happening?
Thirty years ago, citizens paid a few hundreds of kina to gain tertiary qualifications.
Why is the Government not offering the same privileges to students these days?
I am sure the majority of the MPs enjoyed those privileges that we enjoyed back in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Shouldn’t they push for the same privileges to be offered to our young people today?
The high fees charged by tertiary institutions will marginalise our people in the sense that children of those who have top jobs in the government or private sector will be the ones accessing tertiary education while the children of the less-privileged will be turned away.
In doing so, some of the best students in the country will never enter university for top degree programmes and opt instead to do certificate and diploma programmes in private institutions and seek employment to support their family.
There is a student loan programme that is being administered by the Department of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology but I do not know how effective it is in providing financial support for students who are struggling to meet the different fees charged by the universities and colleges. I am of the view that the provincial governments and MPs in charge of their district funds should step in and assist students with loans.
Do not give out free subsidies.
Get students to sign up for loans.
Among the requirements of the loan programme, students and guardians should provide a plan on how they would repay the loans offered by the MPs and their offices.
Loans are better than free subsidies because they help people develop the mentality that “nothing is free in this world”, one should work and sweat to earn a living.
In running a loan programme, the provinces and districts are not digging deep into their budget to facilitate something that may not bring back good returns.
The students and their guardians will eventually recoup the money that was offered to help them pay for the fees.
Free subsidies are bad.
We should remember that often students who are assisted on free subsidies complete their studies and go and live in another province to serve.
Their districts and provinces which supported them never get to see the worth of the money they provided for such people.
This proposed initiative will be a great way to support struggling students and at the same time not take away funds that otherwise should be used to develop and maintain essential services back in the students’ home provinces.
Provinces and districts should take on this concept to help their students and guardians who are struggling.