N.U.S. V.C. urges scholars to enrol locally
The Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), Professor Alec Ekeroma has urged students who cannot attend overseas universities due to border closures, to enrol at N.U.S.
In response to queries from the Samoa Observer, Prof. Ekeroma said the number of students receiving overseas scholarships from last year has dropped significantly.
The impact of Covid-19 on travel and overseas educational institutions is one of the reasons for the drop.
He urged for funders such as the Australian Government to have a rethink of where they should focus their assistance.
Prof. Ekeroma said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T.) and Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) will have the exact numbers but the understanding is that Australia has reduced their scholarship opportunities as they shift focus to postgraduate students.
“They are sending a few to [the] U.S.P. (University of the South Pacific).
“New Zealand has maintained the number of scholarships at 25 plus another 6 to U.S.P..”
Earlier this week Australia's top diplomat in Samoa, High Commissioner Sara Moriarty told Samoa Observer the reduction in scholarship awards was due to COVID-19 challenges.
She also confirmed the scholarship cuts were done in consultation with the Government of Samoa and stressed that although Australia continues to work towards opening its borders, it is clear that it will take some time until international students will be able to return and the safety and welfare of scholars is their top priority.
Back at the National University, Prof. Ekeroma said a total of 14 students were unable to travel last year and most students cannot travel until the second semester.
“I have gone on record requesting students who cannot attend overseas universities due to border closures, to enrol at NUS in the meantime."
Prof. Ekeroma said there are at least 700 scholarship opportunities funded by Government, private enterprise, churches and individuals to attend N.U.S. These opportunities include 220 spots for TVET, 50 in nursing, and 10 for medical studies.