Parliament

Opposition petition for free tertiary education defeated

A petition to have tuition fee free at all tertiary institutions was defeated in parliament this morning. While tabling the petition, Opposition MP Hon. Gavoka said $110 million will be needed for this initiative, which could be done if the roads and water budget were reduced. GAVOKA : “Madam Speaker the loan scheme is a […]

Salote Qalubau

June 1, 2016 11:19 am

A petition to have tuition fee free at all tertiary institutions was defeated in parliament this morning.

Minister for Education Hon. Mahendra Reddy and Opposition MP Hon. Viliame Gavoka. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
Minister for Education Hon. Mahendra Reddy and Opposition MP Hon. Viliame Gavoka. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

While tabling the petition, Opposition MP Hon. Gavoka said $110 million will be needed for this initiative, which could be done if the roads and water budget were reduced.

GAVOKA : “Madam Speaker the loan scheme is a disaster, it will pitch communities against each other because some communties will take it as a burden. Madam Speaker lets not be naive. Madam Speaker in Sri Lanka there are twenty-million people and fifteen universities and university tuition is free.”

The Attorney-General and Minister of Finance Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the budget for the roads and water cannot be reduced and that more students are going to universities after the introduction of the ‘Tertiary Education Loans and Scholarship Scheme’.

Opposition MP Hon. Mosese Bulitavu reiterated the Minister for Agriculture Hon. Inia Seruiratu’s statement yesterday regarding the cultivation of people to secure Fiji’s development growth.

BULITAVU: “This is a motion that is going to cultivate the people and our human resoure to lift up the intellectual capability of our people so our people can be qualified so we don’t need to get expatriates from overseas, we can have our local people to fill up the jobs here.”

“This is why this motion Madam Speaker must be taken to the community to be deliberated because this is the opinion of the people who voted us into parliament. One of the problems with the FijiFirst government is that they think they have all the answers.”

In response to Hon Bulitavu’s comments, Minister for Education Hon. Mahendra Reddy said the opposition was full of political stances.

REDDY : “Madam Speaker where were they when our little kids who wanted to got to kindergarten could not pay their fees and had to stay home, where were they when our children wanted to go to primary school. Madam Speaker our children could not go to school because they could not pay the fees. This governement made that possible.”

Opposition leader Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa said not more than ten percent of young people are allocated with scholarships or loan schemes which means over 90 percent of young people fall through the cracks.

KEPA: “If we don’t look after them we are looking at  the literacy rates, Madam Speaker in the Pacific which used to be amongst the highest, Fiji used to be the highest but because of the education system, Madam Speaker in terms of literacy and numeracy that is fast falling and we are not amongst the top countries in the pacific, so we really need to look at our education system.”

The motion was defeated after a total of twenty-eight members voted against the motion, fifteen members agreed while the remaining seven did not vote.

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