The National Disaster Education Coordinator under the Ministry of Education, Virana Lini, wishes to assure all parents from Ambae who are affected by the Manaro volcanic ash fall, not to hesitate to send their children to school, as they are exempted of school fees and a decision by the Council of Ministers will made soon.
A submission for school fee exemption for the evacuees of Ambae has already been sent to the Council of Ministers and the Office responsible for the Manaro victims, makes it clear that exemption will be allowed to those who live on Ambae and have no means of earning an income due to the devastation caused by the volcanic ash fall.
The National Coordinator makes the confirmation to answer concerns by the victims of the volcanic eruption which has wiped out the gardens from which parents earned money to pay for their children’s school fees.
She explains, “This exemption paper is restricted to those from Ambae who have no other means of making money but it does not include those who live on Efate and Santo and work to earn an income”.
While in the past the exemption applied to specific academic institutions, Virana Lini explains that in the current paper, it also applies to all other institutions which comply with the requirements of the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority (VQA).
The exemption also covers all mission schools which also receive grants from the Government.
Meanwhile the explanation has cleared the air for the Special Envoy of Labour Mobility and Trade and Ambae MP, Alickson Vira, who says his voters calling him to clarify their very dilemma as their gardens which are their sole means of income, have been wiped out by marauding animals in the five months that they have been evacuated from their island.
The MP says some of his people have already returned to Ambae while the rest are still in evacuation centres on Maewo and Santo and with their families on Efate, awaiting return home arrangements to be made by the Government.
“Please clear the air for my people through the media to ease their pain as to whether the Government is going to pay for their children’s school fees from now on until they become self-sufficient economically again,” MP Vira says.
He is concerned that traditionally as far as students’ academic success goes, Ambaean children have always been up front as far examination results go, to excel to higher institutions of learning nationally as well as achieving the most number of scholarships to study abroad.
MP Vira who used to be in the Opposition crossed over to join the Government on the wishes of his voters at the end of last year.