26 September, 2023, 9:34 pm Central - 22°C Rain

Govt has lost $100m because students dropped out after taking TELS loan

Govt has lost $100m because students dropped out after taking TELS loan

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 07/06/2023
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad and Australian Chargé d'affaires to Fiji Stuart Watts during the signing of the budget support earlier today

The government has lost close to $100 million because students who have taken loans under the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme have dropped out of universities.

This has been confirmed by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad who says these students got into universities, got the allowance, the universities got the tuition fees and students cannot pay that back after dropping out.

Professor Prasad says this has led to a loss of funding or funding that cannot be recovered because the students cannot pay the loan.

He says that was funding wasted through a scheme that was not managed properly so that is why it is being reviewed.

The Acting Prime Minister says the new scholarship scheme that will replace the original loan scheme is going to put out certain criteria so that people at all levels and not just those going to university can be systematically trained.

Professor Prasad says under the previous scheme there was no control of what people did so they ended up with thousands of students taking loans, getting into a university and dropping out.

He further says Australia and New Zealand have a huge appetite for skilled labour at all levels because Australia during COVID increased the number of hours students can work there and Fiji has had a loss of mid-level skills.

Professor Prasad says this is something that people are choosing but the government has already considered how they can address it.

He says they are already allocating funding for technical institutes to quickly provide competency-based training in areas such as the construction industry where people can be trained in a very short time to start laying tiles and paint properly and do basic carpentry work.

The Acting Prime Minister says tourism operators and hotels are bringing in people from nearby villages and are providing them with training.

He says they want to support this type of skilled-based training so there is at least a level of training that produces the quality of people that may fill the gap in labour.

Professor Prasad says they are also reviewing immigration policies as they may need labourers from outside the country.

Australian Chargé d'affaires to Fiji Stuart Watts says their Foreign Minister is clear that the PALM Scheme needs to work for both Fiji and Australia and that is a conversation they continue to have.

He has acknowledged the contribution Fijians have made in key industries and the challenges it has in Fiji.




fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
FEATURE NEWS
Some people targeted through impersonation scams requesting money to be sent via M-PaiSA
Vodafone Fiji is making M-PAiSA users aware of scammers as some people have been targeted through impersonation scams requesting money to be sent via ...
5 hours ago
LATEST NEWS
I hope the world will find the courage and will to reform the global financial architecture – Prof. Prasad
If the world continues to muddle through as it has done for decades, it will deny small island states the opportunity and openings that we so justly ...
4 hours ago

Fully integrated Pacific region with a visa free arrangement is a crucial part of a short term fix for major skill migration – Prof.Prasad
Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Biman Prasad says Fiji is currently going through a major skill migration and this has the potential to harm our ...
5 hours ago

Urgent need for a rule-making system that safeguards common interests and minimizes risk and mistrust - Rabuka
Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka has addressed the pressing challenges faced by the Pacific region, including the consequences of the war of ...
6 hours ago

We are working with Congress to invest US$40 million in the Pacific Islands Infrastructure Initiative - Biden
The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden says he is working with Congress to invest US$40 million in the Pacific Islands ...
6 hours ago

SODELPA, NFP and FLP representatives call for participatory elections for the municipal councils
Representatives of SODELPA, National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party are calling for a participatory election for the municipal ...
7 hours ago
IN DEPTH
EBayShop Online Recruitment scam
The Consumer Council of Fiji has issued a public alert about a group of individuals running a deceptive pyramid scheme known as “EbayShop Online Recruitment.”
1 day ago

7 Grace Road Group executives declared prohibited immigrants in Fiji after decisions by the South Korean Government and a request by Interpol
7 Grace Road executives in Fiji have been declared prohibited immigrants by the Fijian Government, it has been made clear through government ...
1 day ago

Bainimarama and Qiliho’s trial
The trial of former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho begins
39 days ago

TOP