The move by PSC to place a travel ban on students and their guarantors who have not paid back student loans, is an inhumane, knee jerk reaction and a violation of their human rights.
We refer to the front page report in today’s Fiji Times on the announcement by the Public Service Commission that students and their guarantors who owe money to the Commission, will be placed on the Immigration watch list.
It should be appreciated that students who take out loans for tertiary education are generally from very poor families whose parents cannot meet the high costs of university education.
In Fiji’s present highly depressed economic climate, it is even more difficult for the majority of our school leavers to get jobs. How does the government expect these poor families to repay their student loans in such circumstances?
Mindful of such constraints, no past government has ever resorted to such despicable tactics to recover student loans. Just who are being targeted in this latest bid to deny our people their basic human rights?
Why can’t the Commission be content with taking legal action against the defaulters and let the Courts decide the matter. After all, that is the proper thing to do.
The move is also discriminatory. One may ask, what about those students who are given scholarships but fail. Does the government require them to repay the funds expanded on them?
At least if these young people are allowed to migrate or find jobs overseas, they may be in a better position to repay their loans.
Instead of reacting in such an unreasonable manner, PSC would do better to come to some understanding with those who wish to move overseas in search of a secure future.