MORE than 100 students and parents went to Suvavou House in Suva yesterday morning to address their concerns regarding the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme, commonly known as TELS, with Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama.
The consultations-style meeting was in response to concerns raised by students and parents on the various processes involved in disbursing funds for students to begin or continue studies under the loan scheme.
Concerns included the disbursement of funds for book allowances, the guarantors for students who qualify for student loans and the changing of courses that may affect students' eligibility for loans.
Rear Admiral Bainimarama was joined by other senior government officials and members of the TELS board to meet directly with students and their parents.
The permanent secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, said the Prime Minister shared the concerns of the students.
"The Prime Minister has expressed concern that the issues faced by students needed to be addressed to ensure that their education is not disrupted," Col Tikoduadua said in a Ministry of Information statement.
"Education assistance in this year's national budget is significantly higher than previous years because government wants to make sure that no child is left behind."
TELS board chairman Dixon Seeto said it was a good experience for all.
"The PM was there, so was the Attorney-General. We want a smarter future and population with a better literacy rate," he said.
The Tertiary Education Loans Scheme provides low-interest government loans to any Fijian student who is accepted at one of the tertiary institutions in Fiji and covers full tuition costs.
Meanwhile, students around the country who require assistance or clarifications regarding the loan scheme are urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.