Staff from the Policy Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (PIMEU) at the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) recently visited the office of the Solomon Islands Tertiary Education Skills Authority (SITESA).
The meeting was an opportunity for PIMEU staff to discuss and get information on the newly introduced online application process for SIG scholarship under the authority of SITESA.
The opportunity allows for exchange of information on how the selection is facilitated towards obtaining the final 2021 recipients within the 1000 limit of scholarships and the way forward to possibly increase the number of scholarships to cater for the increasing number of applications annually.
PIMEU acknowledges the need for a secured online application process.
According to SITESA, not all applicants with high Gross Point Aggregates and admissions are necessarily eligible but are scored according to academic status such as the number of course taken by the applicant as well.
“There is a difference between a complete Form 7 and incomplete Form 7 applicant,” SITESA stated.
All Form 7 applicants applying for Bachelor program should ensure they complete 8 or 9 units respectively.
The rest of the criteria and assessment processes were explained to the OPMC team through the collective discussion regarding why an applicant may or may not be eligible to be selected.
The process is new to the public, however a good number of applications have been received during the first online scholarship application process.
The highest number of applications were received from the Pre-Service sector.
The highest number of study opportunities within Pre-Service study areas are allocated to SINU, comprising 51% of the total study areas given.
As for USP-SI, study opportunities indicated for 2021 round of scholarships amounts to 28%, while the rest of the 21% study opportunities were allocated to RTCs, Atoifi, Taurama-NHR and BPTC.
The SI Tertiary Education Training Plan approved in 2020 determines the number of scholarships to be given and to which academic institutions.
The SI Tertiary Education training plan is established according to sections 46(1) and 47(1) of the SITESA Act.
SITESA is responsible for the development of the Education Training Plan which is executed and implemented through annual scholarship selection process.
SITESA’s National Scholarship Division (NSD) is currently pursing to improve the current online process and to maintain fairness, accountability and transparency in its deliberation of scholarships.
As a mandated office by the SITESA Act 2017, NSD-SITESA develops and manages the selection processes, which administers government-funded scholarships.
It is the office that implements the SITESA Act, this compels the division to be the only legitimate body that determines who to become recipients of the SIG scholarships, according to requirements stipulated in the scholarship processes made known to the public.
SITESA has also advised that the 2020-2021 SIG Scholarship round has ended and currently NSD is facilitating scholarship awards for successful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply in the next scholarship process when it opens for 2022.
It was further acknowledged that this is the time to support change to the SIG scholarship process in terms of its facilitation and administration.
NSD is currently pursing to improve the current online process and to maintain fairness, accountability and transparency in its deliberation of scholarships.
The OPMC commended SITESA for its presentation and also acknowledged its important work in managing the scholarship process in the country, and will continue to support SITESA and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, in its important work and undertaking.