By Unumoe Esera
APIA: WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2012: The 327 late paying students of the National University of Samoa who were not allowed to sit final year exams last week have been given another chance to sit their exams starting next Wednesday.
The Vice Chancellor Fui Leapai Ilaoa Professor Lau Asofou So’o and the parents of these students, met today at the NUS Samoan fale to discuss the compromise decision that has been made by NUS.
The decision now sets the deadline for unpaid fees next Tuesday, 20th November and exams for Foundation students beginning the next day, 21 November 2012.
Students will still be allowed to sit the exams even if the fees are not paid by the November 20, but their results slips will be withheld unless fees have been paid. If a student still has not paid by the graduation day, they will not be allowed to graduate and will have to pay off their fees next year.
Students undertaking Bachelor degrees and those studying vocational courses will sit their exams 7th January 2013. This is because the majority of students with unpaid fees are Foundation programme students which is a one year programme and should be completed this year.
From the 327 students with unpaid fees, 124 students are in the Foundation programme.
The Graduation dates for both Foundation and Ocean Side Campus students formerly known as the Institute of Technology (IOT) have also changed.
In previous years, the Foundation Graduation was always held first and the IOT Graduation held later within the same month. This year the Ocean Side graduation will be held first on the 11th December and the Foundation graduation held on the 18th December.
Fui says this is because Ocean side exams are nearly finished and the majority of those who have not paid their fees and will sit exams on Wednesday are Foundation students and it will take time to mark their exams and assemble their results.
Parents raised a lot of questions during the meeting concerning the fees, exam schedules and eligibility for graduation but were satisfied with the decision and admitted that they were at fault for the predicament that had befallen their children and apologized to the Vice Chancellor for the inconvenience they had caused due to late payment of fees.
Pita Su’e, father of Foundation Arts student Repeka Pita said that the decision made to allow his daughter to sit the exam was a good decision. Pita says that $800 has already been paid of his daughter’s school fee and he would try and pay the balance by the due date.
The Vice Chancellor also told the parents that the decision made which would help relieve the burden of paying costly fees.
“A 20 per cent discount to reduce the fees is now in effect in order to help you out, so whatever amount that is left to be paid it will be deducted by 20 percent,” said Fui.
The meeting which took place today was a first for NUS and parents of students attending the University.
“This is the 28th year since NUS was established and this is the first time we have met with parents to discuss fees and courses offered here,” the VC explained.
“We have never held a meeting like this before with the parents as University students are at a matured level compared to Primary and College students. Cabinet inquired whether we had talked with the parents and I said no because it’s not part of University culture,” he said.
The decision to hold today’s meeting he said was to try and reach a compromise between the University and the parents of the students who were not allowed to sit exams.
Fui says that the NUS council will meet on the 6th December to make the final decisions concerning graduation eligibility for the students and the payment of the fees is one of the considerations to ensure a student will be able to graduate.