9 Jan 2003

Solomon Islands Education Minister says funding problem is sorted

12:04 pm on 9 January 2003

The Solomon Islands Minister of Education, Mathias Taro, is confident that a resolution in the standoff between his government and the University of the South Pacific has been found in the form of funding from the European Union.

The USP stopped dozens of Solomon students from graduating at the end of last year because fees of several million US dollars had not been paid.

The university had also threatened to ban Solomon students from attending the institution this year if it did not receive money owed by January the 31st.

However Mr Taro says he has received assurances from the European Union that it will provide over 5 million US dollars towards the student fees and also the Solomon Government's contribution to the running of the university.

He says the situation should be resolved in the near future.

"I have instructed the permanent secretary to contact USP so that they can lift the ban. Also for the USP administration to come over to Solomon Islands to organise a ceremony here for the graduation of our students."

Mr Taro says the EU money will also cover payments due in Papua New Guinea.