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Consideration should be given to make secondary and tertiary education affordable: GG

Consideration should also be given to make secondary and tertiary education basically affordable to assist self-employed fee-payers. 

Governor General His Excellency, Sir David Vunagi made this statement during his New Year’s address to the nation.

Governor General His Excellency, Sir David Vunagi during his 2022 New Year’s Address at the National Broadcaster – SIBC.

Sir Vunagi said it is good that primary schools are given the Fee-Free Basic Education Program.

“We need to explore the possibility of charging concessional fees or providing soft loan schemes to assist students who are determined to pursue studies with predictable positive results. 

“To be silent about the principle of – ‘no fee no school’ only supports marginalization, social exclusion and poverty that will further increase the gap between the ‘haves and the have nots’,” he said. 

Sir Vunagi said the nation needs to move away from the deficit mindset that focuses on negative and practical problems the parents and students are facing.

“We should pay more attention on the potential and opportunity they have as human resource assets for our nation,” the Governor General said. 

The head of state adds,  while education is not the panacea to every human challenge, it does have a positive bearing in creating a sustainable society, responsible communities and stable economies. 

“We cannot deny the importance of funding to allow schools and educational institutions to operate efficiently. But we must realize that about 80% of parents whose children are in secondary and tertiary institutions live in the rural areas and rely heavily on subsistence means. 

“For such parents, the cliché ‘no fee no school’ is a major obstacle because the level of fees charged is just beyond their means,” he said. 

Sir Vunagi furthers, if data has been compiled about the number of students who withdrew from formal education during the last two or three decades because of difficulties in payment of fees, it would be surprising to see how the country has continued to operate a very unfair system of education.

by Jared Koli

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