June 28, 2024

The Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Service (TSLS) Board welcomes the budget announcement made by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Professional Biman Prasad. The TSLS Board acknowledges the commitment made by the Coalition Government in empowering Fiji’s Future.

The Schemes allocation for 2024-2025 financial year being increased from $148.2 million to $150.5 million is a resonance from the Coalition Government of its unwavering, escalating and innovative investments in tertiary education.

The global labour market trend is seeing developing countries loosing skilled workers to developed ones. As a developing country, Fiji needs to continuously and at a time, aggressively invest in talent development to keep the skills set supply in the workforce.

The 2024-2025 Scholarships Schemes budget is focused on allowing greater access for human capital development, to commensurately mitigate loss of labour through migration and have demand driven skills sets. The budget is aligned to the findings and recommendations based on the Review of Scholarship Priority Areas Report, Human Capital Development Plan and trend analysis of historical investment data at TSLS.

The big and bold step will be taken as the record, in the Fijian history to award in total of 10,830 scholarships, study loans and grants for the 2024-2025 financial year. This includes both the introduction of new schemes and value adding to the existing schemes. In addition, 9,940 continuing students will be funded.

Introduction of new schemes of Cost Sharing Overseas Ph.D and Masters Scheme, Merit Based In-Service Overseas Scholarship for Postgraduate Diploma/ Specialization Scheme, Industry/Employer Based Skills Qualification Scheme and Graduate Business Start Up Grant Scheme is another milestone in Government’s strong push for innovation, research led planning and development and creation of new knowledge for a knowledge based society.

Value Adding to Micro Qualification Grant with introduction of two new categories of White Goods Repair and Existing Small Business, Merit Based Undergraduate Overseas Scheme, Higher Education (Level 7- Degree) with Minimum Cut Off Mark Scheme, Hardship Assistance Scheme, Students with Special Needs Scheme and Apprenticeship Scheme is aimed at mitigating the labour shortage experienced through surge in migration.

The Board also welcomes stringent measures for bonding. The increase of bonding period for overseas students to 2.5 times the duration of study will ensure equitable return on Investment. The penalty of 50% on the unserved bond period will ensure that maximum return on the investment is obtained by ensuring graduates serve the country.

Further, by granting only two probations instead of 3 for failing to maintain the required GPA and pass rate for respective schemes after which they will be suspended for one academic term will ensure students take their study with more seriousness and improve the pass and completion rate.
The Coalition Government has made significant strides in addressing inequities and inequalities by increasing access to tertiary education through creative solutions.

The Board and management look forward to working with all key stakeholders at all levels to continue to build Fiji’s human capital.

By Board Chairlady
Ms. Ro Teimumu Kepa

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