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Minister clarifies changes to TELS and Toppers scheme

August 11, 2020 4:45 pm
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has had to cut back expenses in many areas including scholarships and students loans.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has had to cut back expenses in many areas including scholarships and student loans.

Sayed-Khaiyum had an open forum with students from Natabua High School where Year 13 student Vereimi Wara raised concerns about paying fees for tertiary education.

“During the budget you announced that TELS scholarships would be reduced and so with this announcement, I think so many students particularly in Year 13 were placed in a dilemma over the implication that this action would have on their future. What does the government have in place in trying to address this?”

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The Economy Minister said while there have been reductions, this should not stop students from working hard to reach their goals.

“So yes we have reduced the number of scholarships and we have reduced the number of TELS positions available and we have also said that the passing mark from memory 240 or 250. It’s 250. Because we had a lot of people who were simply just getting 200 and were getting TELS. So if you are going to get your fees paid whether by way of Toppers or TELS you actually should work hard for it that’s one of the rationale behind it.”

Sayed-Khaiyum then went on to explain that government revenue has taken a hit due to COVID-19 affecting the TELS and Toppers initiatives.

“There are a lot of things that we have stopped just so we can control our expenditure so in the same way, for example, if tourism opens up tomorrow, we can go back to what we had because we have the revenue for it. So we have reduced that as a result of it.”

Sayed-Khaiyum also encouraged the final year high school students to enter professions they are passionate about rather than one where they are being coerced into or simply following the crowd.

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