THE claim by OHE that more than K6 million has been stolen (The National, Oct 12) by tertiary students cannot go unchallenged.
On the contrary, the money is well spent and for a good cause.
PNG desperately needs an educated population to participate in nation building.
Equally, the beneficiaries have an obligation to repay the loan.
I cannot imagine a future for these beneficiaries if there were no such assistance.
The OHE should not paint the picture as an act of fraud by past students and victimise the potential beneficiaries of tomorrow as this would only trigger more problems.
To this end, I believe the OHE lacks the capacity to implement a scheme of such magnitude.
Here are some suggestions to address the issue and implement the scheme effectively:
* OHE has to take a by-partisan approach. This will involve the participation of the IRC, tertiary institutions, banks, legal institutions, Royal PNG Constabulary, IT companies and the potential and current employers of graduates;
* All the institutions named should keep an updated data bank for all students coming through the scheme in order to provide feedbacks to OHE;
* The OHE should then utilise the information and seek the expertise of IT companies to help construct an effective system to monitor and keep in touch with students wherever they may be. In essence, the information network would link up all parties;
* For students who may not be employed after graduating, the OHE should liaise with them and provide necessary support to potential employers so that graduands can be employed to repay their loans. This should be possible through an effective IT system;
* Banks can periodically inform the fraud squad if a student’s repayment is fraudulent in nature;
* The OHE should also seek legal advice and establish a legal system in the event a student/graduand dies before the loan is fully recovered. What actions can be taken? Should the student’s next of kin takes over the responsibility?; and
* In the event students employed are sacked or terminated, the employers would advice the OHE and a holding period of repayment can be calculated until the student is reemployed.
These are some suggestions the OHE can mull over since it is not fully equipped to take on the challenge on its own.
Keep the Tesas scheme, OHE.