Kumar slams Gavoka over education promises

November 30, 2021 4:50 pm

Education Minister, Premila Kumar and SODELPA Leader, Viliame Gavoka.

Minister, Premila Kumar says on average 20 percent of total government expenditure is on education, and this equates to over six percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Responding to a statement by SODELPA Leader, Viliame Gavoka in parliament, Kumar claims their policies are a sign of political desperation.

Gavoka yesterday highlighted a number of programmes his party will implement if they win the General Election.

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“Our free tertiary education policy will make this possible. Educating our people to execute better.”

Kumar says despite the fiscal challenges, the government has ensured that education sector spending is not affected.

She adds they’ve been paying teachers despite the call to cut their salaries.

“On average we have been spending approx $700m annually on education. This includes payment of teachers wages and salary (approx $340m), free education (approx $60m), transport assistance (over $20m), operating grant for tertiary institutions (over $70m) and funding through TELS and Toppers (approx $130m).”

Kumar highlights that the Tertiary Education Loans Scholarship debt currently stands at around $600m.

“Funding every school leaver to go to University will cost approx $200m annually. So SODELPA is proposing to write off $600m in TELS debt and pay $200m annually on funding tertiary students. This is UNSUSTAINABLE Mr Speaker Sir.”

The Minister says SODELPA lacks creativity, only talking about changes to current policies without any cost analysis.