Scholarship Office to reconsider allowance decision
Students are pressuring the scholarship office to take all scholarship students awardees out of the Member Education Support Scheme.
They are claiming that they were not given the opportunity to make a decision on joining the scheme and it was not a voluntary decision.
This frustration came about after the Vanuatu Scholarship board decided to cease all allowance payment for scheme students who were awarded with the Vanuatu government scholarship.
A student representative from Fiji, Steven Kalo states that Scholarship forms never mentioned about the Vanuatu National Provident Fund(VNPF) scheme (MESS).
“Originally we applied for a VANGOV Scholarship,” he said.
“We had never applied for a VNPF (MESS) program.
“Without our prior knowledge, the National Scholarship and training Board allegedly entered into a Partnership Agreement which was allegedly investigated by the Ombudsman and allegedly declared illegal.”
“Such a declaration was never challenged by the scholarship board and VNPF in a Court of Law.
“There for we believe that the decision the board has taken to cease all allowance payment to all scholarship students is not the right direction.”
Mr Kalo said scholarship students have agreed to a full government scholarship but later found that some of them had to be partially funded by the VNPF student loaning scheme.
The scheme pays for air fares, accommodation and tuition fees; hundreds of vatu that the student will have to pay back after they finish their studies.
The agreement between VNPF and the Ministry of education is that the government will pay for the student’s allowances.
But recently the Chairman of the Vanuatu Scholarship appeared on national television stating that as of next month the government will no longer be responsible for any allowances for those who are part of the scheme.
“I provided a letter to the board to allow for this month August to be the last allowances provided to the student, while the scholarship office and the Vanuatu National Provident Fund to work together to allow for a smother transition next month” said Mr Collin Natonga.
The decision to cease government allowances follows a recent report by the ombudsman, revealing that the agreement between the Vanuatu government and VNPF on Member Education Support Scheme is illegal.
In a meeting recently held at Laukala campass in Fiji students called on the members of the scholarship board to seriously reconsider their decision because their welfare also depends on it.
According to information collected only recently high school graduates are on full Vanuatu government scholarship.