The financial burden of having to pay for tuition fees, stationery supplies and other essential study items have been eased for sixty students attending Fiji National University (FNU) after receiving assistance from the university’s Student Association (FNUSA). 

This was possible through the FNUSA Scholarship and COVID-19 Assistance scheme, whereby five students received scholarships and the remaining students received food and stationery vouchers. 

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Honourable Rosy Akbar who was Chief Guest at the event at FNU’s Nasinu Campus commended the Association for the initiative. 

“I must thank the FNUSA for initiating this to ensure that you are there to look after those members of yours that really needs your assistance. This is what we call partnership and education,” Honorable Akbar said.

 “What you have done today, I must say hats off to you for thinking of your fellow students. No assistance is too big or too small and it must be appreciated.” 

The Minister also reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Fijian families and their welfare, livelihood and learning. “Not a moment passes by that we don’t think about what COVID has done.

What that tells us is that things are very unpredictable. You never know what happens the next moment in life,” she said. “We should not forget that COVID is affecting all of us, even though we have not lost our jobs or have reduced hours.

The emotional impact that this pandemic has on each one of us is something that cannot be explained.” 

“The lessons learnt from this pandemic is that it has brought about more compassion for the people that we live with, more compassion for the people that we are mandated to serve, more compassion for our neighbours.

That is exactly what this function is all about this afternoon.” FNUSA President, Ketan Lal, said the Association has remained proactive in prioritising the needs of its students. 

“FNUSA has been active in representing students in multiple meetings over the past few months to ensure all students were given equal and the best academic services during the pandemic,” Lal said. 

“Moreover, we have been active in hostels since during the lockdown, liaising with relevant authorities to ensure academic issues were resolved.” “Continuing our efforts, we are giving out more than 50 vouchers to selected students and some will receive a scholarship to cover their tuition.” 

“These initiatives are a testament to the commitment of FNUSA to its students and that our student body is at the forefront of its word.” Lal said FNUSA had other initiatives and activities planned for the rest of the semester. Student, Sahil Shivnesh Prasad, said he does not have to worry about paying for his programme fees and was thankful to be one of the scholarship recipients.

 Prasad is currently pursuing a Trade Diploma in Customs at FNU’s College of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies (CBHTS). “When I got the call from FNUSA, I thought it was a joke at first but when I checked my email regarding the scholarship I was over the moon,” he said. “It’s great to see our student association implementing these kinds of schemes to help the students.” “

I’m excited to hear that they will have more initiatives that will help more students.” Fellow scholarship recipient Zakiya Nikaat Nisha said receiving the scholarship meant she would be able to complete her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at the College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (CAFF). Nisha said she was the youngest and only daughter in her family and faced difficulties growing up. “My dad and a brother have both passed on, so now it is just my mum and elder brother at home in Rakiraki,” she said. “I don’t want my mum to worry about paying my studies and now that is possible through this scholarship.” “I plan to pursue further studies after my degree and when I graduate and work, I will also help other students achieve their academic dreams.”

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