Repatriation flights for students in Fiji confirmed

Chairman of NSTB, Natonga. Photo: Kizzy Kalsakau

Two flights scheduled on November 24 and December 4 this year, have been confirmed to bring back around 117 scholarship students from Fiji.

These are the flight dates as notified by the National COVID-19 Taskforce, said Chairman of the National Scholarship and Training Board (NSTB), Collin Natonga. These returning students are government sponsored students.

It includes the 26 students who were supposed to return after competing studies at the end of this year’s first semester. VT26 million was spent on their allowance and accommodation while waiting for repatriation, said Natonga.

He said the NSTB will be deliberating whether the students’ quarantine costs will be waived or not, relating to the Council of Minister’s decision that anyone entering Vanuatu is required to pay his/her own quarantine costs.

Regarding students in other countries who have also completed studies, Natonga said arrangements will also be made for their repatriation.

The demand for scholarship continues to grow every year. The government spends around VT800 million on scholarships annually.

Natonga said the NSTB is considering the approach of offering more scholarships locally, instead of sending students abroad.

“Instead of investing in foreign universities, we can use the money to upgrade tertiary institutions locally to be able to deliver demand courses,” he said.

“Also, in this era, anyone applying for scholarship should adapt to online learning mode. Sending students abroad is very costly.”

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