PORT Moresby General Hospital nursing officer Esther Peter says Help is a good initiative by the Government for Papua New Guineans because it will help parents who are struggling to pay their children’s school fees.
“What most parents are earning, especially in a city like Port Moresby, is not enough to provide for all their children’s education needs,” the mother of six lamented.
Esther … Help is a good initiative Esther’s firstborn daughter would be doing her first year in University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) this year.
“I also have project fees to pay for my other five children who are in secondary and primary schools. Therefore, paying for university fees is going to be really challenging for,” she said.
However, Esther said the deadline for registrations was fast approaching and “I am unsure whether the Help arrangement is going to work on time”.
She also admitted that she knew very little about Help and would like to know more about it.
“I want to know more about accessing Help and how best to go about applying for its loans. The school (UPNG) has given us a deadline to pay fees for our children and we need to know how we can access Help soon,” she added.
Theresa … rejects Help because children’s future unknown
Theresa Henry, a single and unemployed mother, said she did not want her children to get Help because her children’s future was unknown. With the help of Theresa’s brother, her daughter would be doing her first year of studies in UPNG this year.
“I am not sure if my daughter is going to gain employment soon after graduation. I do not know what will happen to her. How can I pay the loan if she leaves school under an uncontrollable situation?
“My brother is helping me out with my daughter’s fees at the moment. I think it is best that we leave it at that even if it is hard.”
Yegiora …Help is good but implementation and timing are concerns
Divine Word University (DWU)’s PNG Studies & International Relations lecturer Bernard Yegiora says the intention of the programme (Help) is good but his concern is the implementation and timing.
“For example, DWU has the 70% policy. In order to register you have to pay 70% of school fees which is K7,000. The latest directive from DHERST secretary and DHERST minister to institutions is to let students register regardless of how much they pay.
“The question is, will the funds be released on time compared to previous years? What about set university procedures, process and policies in regards to enrolment and registration?” he asked.
Yegiora said the implementation of Help would have an effect on the procedures, processes and policies of various institutions.
“That means each institution will need to review and change. That takes time and raising financial-related issues,” he added.
“On the issue of timing, one important documentation that is needed for the loan is a NID card. Many of us applied for one last April and we are still waiting to get our card. To expect students to get NID cards in just a few weeks in order to prepare their application is a bit unrealistic.
“Does that mean that students will be given a priority in comparison to other tax payers like us?” he asked.
He said the Government should have given this year for all students to register and get a NID before implementing Help.
“The implementation or roll out the HELP programme should be done in 2021 before the National General Election in 2022.”
“There is no detail structured documentation outlining the intention of the programme, how it will be implemented, the duration of the programme and the key performance indicators,” Yegiora said.
Gibbs … Help’s rollout still unclear
Divine Word University vice president Fr Phillip Gibbs says he thinks Help will be beneficial to the students, parents, and the country in general.
“I think Help will be beneficial because it is designed to assist students with financial support to complete their studies,” he said.
“ The human resources of our country is what we are trying to build. Let us not kill the dreams of the unfortunate but rather embrace them with the opportunity to rise to the top as well.”
However, he said he was concerned about how Help was going to be rolled out and administered.
“It is still very unclear,” he said.
“My advice to students and their parents is to try to and find the required school fees as they have done in the past, and when Help is functional, they can apply if they wish.
“Students in other countries utilise student loan schemes, but some feel that it constrains them once they graduate because part of their earnings go to servicing loans,” Gibbs said.
Koloa … urges Government to create more employment opportunities
UPNG 3rd year political science student Vanua Koloa says Help is the way forward for most Papua New Guinean students who come from families struggling to pay school fees or to finance education.
He said Help would help students be responsible for their education and taking charge of their lives at an early age.
“The human resources of our country is what we are trying to build.
“Let us not kill the dreams of the unfortunate but rather embrace them with the opportunity to rise to the top as well,” he said.
Koloa accepted the idea of obtaining Help and repaying the loan but said: “The Government should also create more employment opportunities as well.”
Mary … does not want to be in Help’s debt
UPNG 3rd year Literature and English Communications student Mary Terriette Aseari is not applying for Help because she does not want to be in debt.
She said she was planning to help her parents in the future, therefore being in debt because of Help would limit her chances of helping her parents out financially.
“I have to help my parents out by providing for my younger siblings who will be attending tertiary institutions soon, so I have to be debt-free in order to help them the way I want to,” she added.