Payroll Charges Increase, Scholarship Budget Decreases
The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MERHD) has allocated 565.1 million dollars for its Payroll Charges for this year, which is an increase of 9.4 million dollars or 1.7% from last year.
Minister for Education and Human Resources Development, Hon. Lanelle Tanagada announced this during the debate on the second reading of the 2022 Appropriation Bill 2022 in parliament last week.
She stated that the increase is due to the recruitment of new teachers, teaching and developing resources.
Mrs. Tangada explains that one of the key spending under the Ministry’s recurrent budget is the payroll charges.
“This year’s MEHRD recurrent budget is 1.07 billion dollars, an increase of 13 million dollars compared to the 2021 budget. Apart from the education reform that my Ministry will be implementing, our key spending of our recurrent budget is NTU Scholarships & operating costs of the SITESA, grants that are paid to schools and education authorities, as well as payroll charges.
Payroll charges are the wages for teachers, and other charges which include operational activities that support our reform program, monitoring and evaluation of activities and projects and payments of utilities, staff travel, workshops and conferences organized by my Ministry that target teachers and education authorities,” she explains.
Meanwhile, Minister Tanagada also announced that there has been a decrease on the annual budget allocation for government scholarships from 293.6 million to 293.4 million for this year.
She clarified that the reduction is due to the streamlining of activities between the Solomon Islands Training and Skills Authority (SITESA) and the National Training Unit (NTU) to be cost effective.
She adds it also reflects an increase in number of students who are offered scholarships to study in the country versus students who are sent overseas to study.
Honorable Tanagada also confirmed that scholarship recipients for 2021 and 2022 will be undertaking their studies in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, it has been decided that new scholarship holders from 2021 and this year will only register for courses at SINU, USP Solomon Islands campus and other locally based post-secondary learning institutions.
The decrease in the scholarship budget also reflects my Ministry’s initiative to reduce cost of students who would be sent to overseas to study, by allowing more students to study at our local institutions,” Minister Tanagada said.
By Eliza Kukutu