23 Nov 2005

Solomon Islands concerned over sponsorship changes

8:24 am on 23 November 2005

The Solomon Islands Education minister, Snyder Rini, says Australia and New Zealand will stop sponsoring Solomon Islanders to attend regional universities by 2007.

And, he told the Solomon Star newspaper that this would put a further burden on the government to pay for its students to go on to tertiary studies.

Mr Rini says the two countries will still sponsor students to Australia and New Zealand but the number of scholarships will be further reduced.

The education minister says the government will still maintain its sponsorship for next year for a total of 130 students but would not say how many would be sponsored when Australia and New Zealand withdraw that part of their scholarship support.

Mr Rini says to reduce costs, the governemnt is encouraging students to undertake their studies at the University of the South Pacific centre in Honiara.

And, he says when they're when they're close to completing their studies, they may be able to be sent overseas for probably one or two years.