People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka says he totally rejects the malicious propaganda by the FijiFirst Party that a new student plan of the People’s Alliance will be based on race.
Rabuka stresses that this comprehensive scheme by the People’s Alliance will apply to all students equally, and is not based on race.
He says it is contained in their manifesto with no reference to race on this issue.
Rabuka says he has also given details of their intention in a video that has been widely circulated.
The People’s Alliance initiative will remove the Tertiary Loan Scheme (TELS) and National Toppers scholarships.
Rabuka says these will be replaced with full scholarships containing bond conditions.
He says students will serve a bond equivalent to the number of years they studied in higher education institutions.
The former Prime Minister says they will work in Fiji for an average of three to four years in the private or public sectors, or with non-government organisations.
The People’s Alliance Leader says they will fund this initiative from an existing budget allocation of $162.6 million.
Rabuka says in forming their new approach, they saw no merit or justice in a policy that forces students to start their adult lives with crippling bills.
He says that would compound the financial crisis already caused by the Minister for the Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Rabuka says Sayed-Khaiyum has saddled us with approximately $10 billion of national debt.
He says that will have to be paid for over the years by all the families of Fiji, and one calculation is that every person would pay about $11,000.
It is also confirmed that a People’s Alliance government will cancel debts of over half a billion dollars in student loans to pay for their higher education.
Rabuka says unlike the FijiFirst government, they have no intention of imposing on our young people massive financial burdens.
Meanwhile FijiFirst Party General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has claimed at FijiFirst rallies in Lautoka and Labasa that the policies of other political parties will bring division to the people of Fiji.
Sayed-Khaiyum used Rabuka as an example, claiming he will bring back the scholarship system based on race.
Rabuka stresses that there is no intention at all to bring back the race based scholarships.
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