By ANTHONY KAYBING AND TAPO TOVILU
MANY scholarship students in Bougainville have yet to leave their homes to report to their national high schools or tertiary institutions because they are still waiting for their transport tickets from the Office of Higher Education (OHE).
They are all students under the Higher Education Contribution Assistance Scheme (HECAS) who are frustrated by OHE’s new system of issuing their transport tickets via post offices nationwide.
A fourth year University of Goroka female student said the new system was inconveniencing to the scholarship students.
“If OHE had sent the tickets directly to Air Niugini, the process of getting our tickets would not be so slow,” she said.
She said the new system was time consuming and that their schools were expecting them to register this week.
“I hope the OHE realises the unreliability of this new arrangement and will try to do something better
for students next year,” she said.
The very same sentiment was shared amongst senior students of the University of Technology who said living in Buka was very expensive.
“Some of us live away from Buka town and cannot afford to travel to and from the town just to check our tickets, with hefty school fees already in place it is just another burden to our parents,” they said.
“We just hope to receive our tickets early so we can return to school on time,” they said.
The OHE said they had already given the tickets to Travel Express, the travel agent responsible for issuing the tickets nationwide.
Travel express said: “We have the tickets but we are waiting for available seats on Air Niugini’s student concession fare.
“Due to the closure of the Madang Highway, all students who normally travelled by road are now travelling by air, making the arrangements for seats very difficult.”