14 Nov 2002

University of South Pacific pressures Solomon islands for payment of student dues

12:15 pm on 14 November 2002

The University of the South Pacific has given an ultimatum to the Solomon islands government to pay 3 point 5 million US dollars in outstanding debts or find its doors closed to Solomon Islands students.

Radi Fiji reports that the warning has been given by the vice chancellor of the USP, Savenaca Siwatibau, in a letter to the Honiara government.

Mr She has asked the Solomon Islands government to pay up to 2 point 3 million dollars by the end of this year or face severe action next year.

This will include the barring of Solomon Islands students from the university, the inability of current students to graduate and the closure of the USP centre in Honiara.

The vice chancellor says the university cannot afford to subsidise governments

He says this can only be done by other governments or international banks.

The USP's financial problems have come to trhe forefront after its hourly paid staff have gone on strike for a 20 per cent pay rise.

Mr Siwatibau says they are already paid far more than people in similar jobs in the government and the USP just does not have the money to pay more.